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News in Brain and Behavioural Sciences
The weekly edition of The Human Nature Daily Review
Volume 2: Issue 61 - 8th June, 2002
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Psychiatry - All of the latest news from the American Psychiatric Association in Psychiatric News 7 June 2002; Vol. 37, No. 11. [more]



Editor's choice Obituary - Phil Gasper looks at the radical politics of the biologist Stephen Jay Gould. [more] "Behind all the condoling voices last week mourning the death of Steven Jay Gould, you could sense a certain relief. Gould was a maverick, never content unless embroiled in a bitter quarrel, usually with fellow scientists," writes Roger Downey. [more]


Memory - Emotional events are remembered better than those that elicit no emotion, but at a cost: events that immediately precede them are likely to be forgotten. [more]


Editor's choice Science - Does it matter that we spend billions on genetically-modified food and only a fraction of that on understanding our ecology? Who cares if technology benefits the rich far more than the poor? Should ordinary people be given a serious stake in making decisions about science? These were some of the key issues at the fourth public debate organised by New Scientist and Greenpeace. [more]


Creativity - Everyone knows that creative geniuses are all mad. At least that is what the time-honored notion linking creativity and mental illness holds. [more]


Editor's choice Archaeology - New research suggests human beings have been living in Britain for up to 200,000 years longer than generally thought. Ananova, BBC News Online.


Language - Mirror neurons fire both when an action is perceived and when it is executed. Now neuroscientists in Japan and Canada have shown that the presence of such mirror neurons in speech motor areas of the brain may explain why lipreading enhances the intelligibility of what a person is saying. [more]


Mind and body - Philosopher Rene Descartes insisted that body and soul are different things. ''I think, therefore I am,'' he famously said. His ''am'' was not made of flesh and bone. Science overwhelmingly refutes Descartes. [more]


Biophilia - Intuitively, we know something in us responds to nature, even as most of us live our workaday lives further and further removed from flora and fauna. [more]


Lying - Scientists claim women are better liars than men. Researchers at Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh have made the conclusion after finding women are more fluent speakers. [more]


Memory - Scientists say they have discovered how a strong smell or a song can sometimes trigger a vivid memory. [more]


Mental illness - A child who doesn't like doing math homework may be diagnosed with the mental illness developmental-arithmetic disorder (No.315.4). A child who argues with her parents may be diagnosed as having a mental illness called oppositional-defiant disorder (No.313.8). And people critical of the legislation now snaking through Congress that purports to "end discrimination against patients seeking treatment for mental illness" may find themselves labeled as being in denial and diagnosed with the mental illness called noncompliance-with-treatment disorder (No.15.81). [more]


Eugenics - Classical eugenics, as a coercive government-sponsored programme to control reproduction for the betterment of humankind, might be dead. However, eugenic thinking survives, especially in Eastern Europe, India, China and other developing nations. [more]


Evolution - Alexander Star talks to Stephen Jay Gould about The Structure of Evolutionary Theory and I Have Landed. [more] and [more]

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Behavioural genetics - Worried about that deadline you have to meet? Fancy a beer to help you cope with stress? This reaction might seem exclusive to humans but, as a recent paper in Science shows, something similar is observed in mice that lack a receptor for corticotropin-releasing hormone. [more]


Invaluable free toolbar for scientists, clinicians, and philosophers - Increase your productivity and efficiency by searching multiple resources directly from your Internet Explorer toolbar including PubMed, Scirus, Encarta, Drugs.com, Life Sciences Dictionary, Medical Dictionary and many others. Download your toolbar from our homepage now and customize it here.
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Anxiety - Why do we worry ourselves sick? Because the brain is hardwired for fear, and sometimes it short-circuits. [more]

Eating disorders - In women with bulimia nervosa and polycystic ovaries, resolution of the eating disorder is associated with improvements in ovarian morphology, according to a report by British researchers. [more]


Invaluable free toolbar for scientists, clinicians, and philosophers - Increase your productivity and efficiency by searching multiple resources directly from your Internet Explorer toolbar including PubMed, Scirus, Encarta, Drugs.com, Life Sciences Dictionary, Medical Dictionary and many others. Download your toolbar from our homepage now and customize it here.
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Editor's choice Biochemistry - Suppressing the activity of 'heat-shock protein 90' (Hsp90) in Arabidopsis plants unleashes hidden genetic variation. Hsp90 stabilizes proteins essential to development, preventing variations in sequence and shape from affecting function. But in times of stress underlying variations surface - different leaf shape and colour, for example (see cover image). This variation might help a species adapt to changing conditions. Hsp90 has a similar effect in Drosophila, suggesting that it is widely distributed and may be key to the way that organisms evolve. [more]


Editor's choice Language - In a brief review Nowak et al. take on the task of covering 40 years of computational linguistics - the science combining the methods of linguistics and computer science to study language, particularly its evolution. Their main conclusion is that there is a logical necessity of genetically determined components of human language. [more]


Neuroscience - Analysis of the human neocortex has revealed two distinct lineages of GABAergic neurons, one of which is not observed in rodents. This could have implications for the evolution of the primate brain. Nature.


Editor's choice Language - Six-month-old hearing infants exposed to American Sign Language (ASL) for the first time prefer it to pantomime, lending new evidence that humans show a broad preference for languages over "non-languages," according to a University of Washington researcher who will present her findings here Friday at the annual convention of the American Psychological Society. [more]


Editor's choice Science - Press coverage of scientific meetings may be characterized as "too much, too soon," according to a DMS/VA team in the June 5 Journal of the
American Medical Association
, BBC News Online, EurekAlert, EurekAlert.


Editor's choice Genetics - From Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew to Yorkshire 'lowfat' pigs, people have been breeding animals and plants for desirable traits since prehistoric times. But there has been no easy way of telling which genes have been favored by the selective breeding. Until now. [more]


Browse through our archive Review of the Year and read the latest controversial and thought-provoking articles and reviews in the Human Nature Review.
Archive

Domestic abuse - A Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing study concludes female victims of physical and/or sexual abuse have a significantly higher rate of common health problems, even after the abuse ends, compared to women who have never been abused. [more]



Divorce - A new national study suggests the psychological damage from divorce fades for children within three years, but their academic performance continues to decline. [more]


Schizophrenia - An electrophysiological abnormality that is specific to schizophrenia could be the direct result of anatomical deficits in a region of the left cerebral hemisphere that has been implicated in language and auditory processing. [more]

Biography - Jon Turney reviews Annie's Box: Charles Darwin, His Daughter and Human Evolution by Randal Keynes. [more]

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Science - Margaret Werthheim reviews A New Kind of Science by Stephen Wolfram. [more] George Johnson in the New York Times. [more]

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Human evolution - Jorge Paulo Ferreira Simao reviews The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition by Michael Tomasello. [more]

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Editor's choice Language - Steven Pinker and John Searle discuss "Words and Rules". [more]

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Mathematics - Calculated Risks: How To Know When Numbers Deceive You by Gerd Gigerenzer. [more]

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Are Girls Mean? - Nina Shapiro reviews Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls by Rachel Simmons. [more]

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Human evolution - Adrian Barnett reviews What It Means to be 98% Chimpanzee: Apes, People, and Their Genes by Jonathan Marks. [more]
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Animal rights - Drawing the Line: Science and the Case for Animal Rights by Steven M. Wise. [more]

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Science and religion - Brian Jackson reviews Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life by Stephen Jay Gould. [more]

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Human evolution - Andrew J. Petto reviews What It Means to be 98% Chimpanzee: Apes, People, and Their Genes by Jonathan Marks. [more]

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Evolutionary psychology - Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair reviews Evolutionary Explanations of Human Behaviour by John H. Cartwright. [more]

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Human evolution - Herbert Gintis reviews Sense & Nonsense: Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Behaviour by Kevin N. Laland and Gillian R. Brown. [more]

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Anthropology - Bernardino De Sahagun: First Anthropologist
by Miguel Leon-Portilla. [more]

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Evolution - Carlin Romano reviews Dawkins vs. Gould: Survival of the Fittest by Kim Sterelny. [more] [more] [more] and [more]

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Networks - Albert-Laszlo Barabasi explains Linked: The New Science of Networks. [more]

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