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News in Brain and Behavioural Sciences
The weekly edition of The Human Nature Daily Review
Volume 2: Issue 77 - 17th November, 2002 - http://human-nature.com/nibbs/

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NEWS & VIEWS

Humor - neuroscience (16 Nov) - Neuroscientists-normally a reserved group-were laughing at William M. Kelley's presentation. He wasn't upset, however. The researcher had just shown the scientists a clip from the sitcom Seinfeld to illustrate how his group investigates the brain's response to humor. [more]


  BBC News BBC News 24 BBC Newsnight Today, Newshour, The World Today, BBC World Service, NPR Hourly News, Talk of the Nation, Science in Action, Discovery, One Planet, The Material World, Thinking Allowed, Heart and Soul, Case Notes, Health Matters, Everywoman.

 Audio and Video

Psychiatry (15 Nov) - All the latest news from the American Psychiatric Association, Psychiatric News Vol. 37, No. 22. [more]



Schizophrenia (13 Nov) - Canadian researchers announced yesterday that they have discovered a gene for schizophrenia that is distributed across ethnic lines, making the tangled genetics of the disease much less confusing. [more]


Cults (12 Nov) - Panelists at a convention session on hatred asked APA to form a task force to investigate mind control among destructive cults. [more]


Madness (12 Nov) - Just about any ordinary person can slip into madness, believes APA President Philip G. Zimbardo, PhD. In fact, all it may take to trigger the process is a special kind of blow to one's self-image to push someone over the edge of sanity. [more]


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Psychology - Steven Pinker discusses his theory on why our beliefs about human nature often seem to conflict with modern science. [more] and [more]


Rage (12 Nov) - The popular notion is that rage is an undesirable but completely controllable emotion. As with drug abuse, the theory goes, one can just say no to it; take an anger management course and get a grip. [more]


Genetic archaeology (12 Nov) - Through the wizardry of modern genetics, it is possible to reconstruct the travels of the earliest humans as they moved out from their ancestral home in northeast Africa and spread around the globe. [more]


Social rejection (12 Nov) - School shootings like the one at Columbine High School in 1999 motivated educators, social workers, sociologists and psychologists to investigate the forces that had driven the shooters to violence. One such investigator was Case Western Reserve psychologist Roy Baumeister, PhD, who suspected that social rejection played an important role, perhaps by triggering negative emotions that were then expressed as aggression. [more]



Evolutionary psychology - The mind is a system of modules shaped by natural selection according to philosopher Peter Carruthers. [more]


Creationism (8 Nov) - The Ohio Board of Education recently revised its science standards to include criticisms of evolutionary theory in biology classes in the state's public schools. Although the Scopes trial took place over 75 years ago, the debate over teaching evolution in our schools is not losing any steam. [more] [audio]

PAPERS & COMMENTARY

Suicide (16 Nov) - The risk of suicide for people with a history of attempted suicide or deliberate self harm (parasuicide) persists without decline for two decades, finds a study in this week's British Medical Journal. [more]


Medicine - psychosis (16 Nov) - Doctors have trouble talking to patients about psychotic symptoms, finds a study in this week's British Medical Journal. [more]


Sexual behavior (15 Nov) - The nature of preteen friendships can play a key role in determining whether or not a child will engage in sexual activity early in adolescence, a new study suggests. [more]


Depression (14 Nov) - Numerous studies have documented abnormalities in brain electrical activity in patients diagnosed with depression. A study in the November issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research examines teen-age girls with a history of depression, rather than active depression, to see if they exhibit a subtle abnormality in brain function. [more]


Social psychology (13 Nov) - For older adults, it really is better to give than to receive, a University of Michigan study suggests. The study, to be published in a forthcoming issue of Psychological Science, finds that older people who are helpful to others reduce their risk of dying by nearly 60 percent compared to peers who provide neither practical help nor emotional support to relatives, neighbors or friends. [more]


Autism (12 Nov) - Secretin, touted as a possible cure for autism just three years ago, is not a magic bullet that relieves the symptoms of the developmental disorder, report researchers at the University of Washington and the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. [more]


Development (12 Nov) - Levels of testosterone during pregnancy appear to influence the gender-role behavior of preschool girls, according to a new study. [more]


Schizophrenia (12 Nov) - Scientists have discovered the first "risk gene" for schizophrenia found in the general population. An uncommon variation of a gene called Nogo, when inherited from both parents, increases the risk of developing schizophrenia, says a study to be published in Molecular Brain Research Nov. 15. Previous findings about other risk genes for the disease were restricted to specific ethnic groups. [more]


Development (12 Nov) - Programs that promote family literacy, reduce parental stress, improve parenting and provide affordable, high-quality child care could go a long way toward improving young children's development, suggests recent research. [more]


Brain evolution (12 Nov) - The isocortex is a distinctive feature of mammalian brains, which has no clear counterpart in the cerebral hemispheres of other amniotes. This paper speculates on the evolutionary processes giving rise to the isocortex. [more]


Development (10 Nov) -  Although individuals vary widely, on average, pre-term infants are markedly slower at processing information -- including understanding what they see -- than full-term infants. New research shows this deficit in processing speed is already present in the first year of life and the gap in performance does not narrow with age. [more]


Cognitive science (7 Nov) - Newell (1980, 1990) proposed that cognitive theories be developed trying to satisfy multiple criteria to avoid theoretical myopia.  He provided two overlapping lists of 13 criteria that the human cognitive architecture would have to satisfy to be functional.  We have distilled these into 12: flexible behavior, real-time performance, adaptive behavior, vast knowledge base, dynamic behavior, knowledge integration, natural language, learning, development, evolution, and brain realization. [more]


Language - development (7 Nov) - A Brown University study of 24 six-month-olds found infants recognized nouns and verbs when spoken in connection with their names. It is the youngest age at which the ability for word recognition has been documented. [more]

REVIEWS & DISCUSSION

History - Alan Brinkley reviews The Landscape of History: How Historians Map the Past by John Lewis Gaddis. [more] [review]

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Self - Etienne Benson reviews Synaptic Self: How Our Brains Become Who We Are by Joseph Ledoux. [more] [review] [interview] [audio]

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Biography - Joy Press reviews Love at Goon Park: Harry Harlow and the Science of Affection by Deborah Blum. [more] [review]

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Violence - development - Michelle Amaya reviews Children Who See Too Much: Lessons From the Child Witness to Violence Project by Betsy McAlister Groves. [more] [review]

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Development - Steven P. Miller reviews The Newborn Brain: Neuroscience and Clinical Applications edited by Hugo Lagercrantz, Mark Hanson, Philippe Evrard, and Charles Rodeck. [more] [review]

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Sociology - Michael Kammen reviews Star-Spangled Manners: In Which Miss Manners Defends American Etiquette (For a Change) by Judith Martin. [more] [review]

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Biography - Robin McKie reviews Charles Darwin: The Power of Place by Janet Browne. [more] [review]

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Mystical experiences - Gary Kamiya reviews Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey Into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism by Daniel Pinchbeck. [more] [first chapter] [review]

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