News in Brain and Behavioural
NEWS & VIEWS
Consciousness (15 Sep) - Scientists once argued that consciousness would always remain beyond science. Most thought it was just too complicated ever to be dissected and explained. But that all changed in the 1990s. Now theories dedicated to explaining how consciousness works are common. One new one in particular shows how bold those theories have become. [more]
Autism (13 Sep) - Children with autism can make "outstanding progress" with a new form of treatment, researchers say. Almost all of those on a special programme run by Bristol University and funded by the city council are now able to attend a mainstream school. [more]
Attraction - It seems that even romance may have a scientific dimension. Who we are attracted to is governed by our quest for the best possible set of genes to pass on to our children. But what makes one person more attractive to us than another? Is it their face, their smell, or even their voice? And once we've met that special someone, is there any way of predicting just how long love will last? [more] [audio]
Obituary (13 Sep) - Professor Michael Argyle, who died last Friday aged 77, was a social psychologist noted for his studies of conscience, social skills and what makes for happiness. The Telegraph, The Times.
Mother-in-law effect (11 Sep) - Studies often find that paternal grandmothers have less of a positive influence on a child's health, but for the first time, they have now been shown to have a negative effect. [more] and [more - pdf]
Belief - "Rarely do any of us sit down before a table of facts, weigh them pro and con, and choose the most logical and rational explanation, regardless of what we previously believed," writes Michael Shermer. [more]
Human evolution (12 Sep) - Our ancestors may have been good at making stone tools but they seem to have been hopeless at putting together a tool kit. [more]
Mental health law (13 Sep) - More than one in three people would not seek medical help for depression if proposed mental health laws are introduced, campaigners warn. [more]
September 11 - A year later. More research on America's response, Psychology's archives to create 9/11 project, What have we learned since 9/11?, Psychologists working with trauma: A humanistic approach, New book explains theory behind terrorism - In the Wake of 9/11: The Psychology of Terror, by Tom Pyszczynski, Jeff Greenberg, and Sheldon Solomon.
Suicide (11 Sep) - Suicides in Britain are far more numerous than deaths caused by traffic accidents. "Not quite twice as many, but about 70% more - and that always makes people sit up," says Keith Hawton, professor of psychiatry and director of the centre for suicide research at the Warneford hospital in Oxford. [more]
Life (9 Sep) - Life colonized the land more than a billion years ago, far earlier than previously thought. [more]
Human evolution (6 Sep) - For the first time in 2-million years, the Taung child's skull is being exhibited publicly. [more]
Teenagers - New research says that teenagers' brains are different and this is thought to account for the rages that they get into. Then there's surging hormones, changing bodies, experiments in social and sexual relationships. BBC Radio Four, Audio: Hormonal changes, What teenage behaviour is normal?, Teenage relationships, Teenage identities.
Lies - (9 Sep) - People are bad at spotting liars because they look for the wrong signals, according to research presented to the British Association's annual science festival in Leicester. [more]
Eating disorders (8 Sep) - Claire first got into eating disorders when she was 14 or 15 and a bulimic friend introduced her to them. But she was already kind of on the lookout for something. [more]
An animal apart - Brian Leith explores the consequences of how we view our place in nature and argues that, far from being a damaging external force having lost touch with the natural world we now have a better understanding than ever before of the relationship between humans and the rest of nature - a reason, he believes, for great optimism. BBC Radio Four, Audio.
Race - "All of Us Are Related, Each of Us is Unique" challenges the alleged validity of the notion of human "races." [more]
PAPERS & COMMENTARY
Psychopathology (16 Sep) - Can a Side of the Brain Determine Sick or Sane? Investigators probe effects of left, right stimulation methods. [more]
Origins (16 Sep) - A proposed theory has researchers debating life's origins--again. [more]
Genetics (13 Sep) - Of all the nucleotide bases available, why did nature pick the four we know as A, T, G, and C for the genomic alphabet? One researcher believes that the choice incorporates a tactic for minimizing the occurrence of errors in the pairing of bases. Science.
Marriage (12 Sep) - The bliss of a steady marriage is a strong antidote to a life of crime, a new University of Florida study finds. In a study of paroled men, the UF research team found that the most hardened ex-cons were far less likely to return to their crooked ways if they settled down into the routines of a solid marriage, said Alex Piquero, a UF professor of criminology and law who led the study. [more]
Development (12 Sep) - Television viewing time is positively associated with social problems, delinquent behavior, aggressive behavior, externalization, and total problem scores, especially in males. [more]
Behaviour (11 Sep) - How many fed-up fans does it take to start a Mexican wave? About 25, say researchers in Europe. Their computer models of crowds' behaviour could help control rowdy hooligans. Nature Science Update, Nature.
Alcoholism (12 Sep) - Analysis of data on a large population sample has uncovered a genetic risk factor for alcoholism. [more]
Schizophrenia (12 Sep) - Areas of the brain thought to subserve face recognition are reduced in first-episode schizophrenia. [more] Lower volume of another brain structure, the hippocampus, may be a neurodevelopmental risk factor for schizophrenia. [more]
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (12 Sep) - A new study suggests that a neurochemical called GABA could be important in the pathogenesis of PMDD. [more]
Sex offenders (11 Sep) - Many incarcerated rapists and other violent offenders may have had fathers who were unresponsive to their needs during their early years, recent study findings suggest. Reuters, The Journal of Sex Research.
Social psychology (5 Sep) - For Blacks and Whites, living together in racially integrated neighborhoods helps to improve attitudes about one another and behavior toward other races. Press release, Race and Place.
Personality (11 Sep) - Introvert people have a higher risk of becoming tired than their extravert colleagues. This was revealed in the first large-scale and systematic study into the influence of personality on tiredness, which was carried out by researchers from Tilburg University. [more]
Trauma - The Sept. 11 attacks of 2001 left a lingering psychological impact on the nation according to new research published in the Sept. 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. [more]
Genetic archaeology (10 Sep) - For the first time, Stanford researchers have compared genetic patterns with archeological findings to discover that genetics can help predict with a high degree of accuracy the presence of certain artifacts. And they say the strength of this link adds credence to theories that prehistoric people migrated from the Middle East to Europe, taking both their ideas and their way of life with them. [more]
Mate choice (11 Sep) - Human females show a preference for the scent of symmetrical male bodies and appearance of masculine male faces only when conception is likely. These traits are thought to be signs of male quality. [more]
NIMH (10 Sep) - Elias Zerhouni, M.D., director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) today announced the appointment of Thomas R. Insel, M.D., as director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). [more]
Neanderthals (10 Sep) - You wait the best part of a century for a lost Neanderthal skeleton to be rediscovered, and then two come along in a week. Nature Science Update, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature, Nando Times.
Politics (9 Sep) - Politicians and pressure groups are much more likely to engage young people in politics through the Internet than more traditional methods, according to new ESRC-funded research. [more]
Development (6 Sep) - Overcoming the drawbacks of growing up with a single parent, black children do as well, both academically and socially, as blacks in two-parent homes, a study by Cornell University and University of Utah researchers indicates. Research has shown that the opposite is true for white children, who seem to fare better when they live in married-couple homes. [more]
REVIEWS & DISCUSSION
Men - Sean O'Hagan reviews Y: the Descent of Men by Steve Jones. [more]
Science - John Derbyshire reviews A New Kind of Science by Stephen Wolfram. [more]
False memories - Marcus Tye reviews False-Memory Creation in Children and Adults: Theory Research, and Implications by David F. Bjorklund. [more]
Psychology - Jürgen Klecker reviews Great Psychologists and Their Time: Scientific Insights into Psychology's History by Dean Keith Simonton. [more]
Parenting - Patricia Ferguson reviews Intrusive Parenting: How Psychological Control Affects Children and Adolescents by Brian K. Barber. [more]
Human development - Diana M. Judd reviews Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution by Francis Fukuyama. [more]
Immunology - Andrzej Górski reviews Seasonal Patterns of Stress, Immune Function and Disease by Randy J Nelson, Gregory E Demas, Sabra L Klein, and Lance J Kriegsfeld. [more]
Sexual revolution - Robert A. Nye reviews Sexual Revolution in Early America by Richard Godbeer. [more]
Evolutionary psychology - A talk with Steven Pinker about his new book The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. [more] A review by Dylan Evans. [more] A review by Matt Ridley. [more] A review by Robin McKie. [more] Questions for Steven Pinker. [more]