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News in Brain and Behavioural Sciences
The weekly edition of The Human Nature Daily Review
Volume 2: Issue 79 - 30th November, 2002 - http://human-nature.com/nibbs/

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NEWS & VIEWS

Synaesthesia - As many as one in 2000 people has an extraordinary condition in which the five senses intermingle. This major two part series reveals how synaesthesia is changing our understanding of the world of neuroscience. [more] [audio] [audio]


Archaeology - Aubrey Manning visits the Meadowcroft Rock Shelter near Pittsburgh to examine evidence that there were humans in North America 14,000 years ago, earlier than anyone thought possible. But how did they get there? Over the ice from the North-West or even across the Atlantic Ocean from the East? [more] [audio]


Imagination - Immanuel Kant said, "Imagination is a blind but indispensable function of the soul without which we should have no knowledge whatever but of which we are scarcely even conscious". Imagination has been the companion of artists, scientists, leaders and visionaries but what exactly is it? When did human beings first develop an imagination and why? How does it relate to creativity and what evolutionary function does creativity have? And is it possible to know whether our brains' capacity for imagination is still evolving? [more] [audio]


Aging (27 Nov) - New research suggests that changes in less than 1% of our genes are responsible for the ageing process. [more]


Samaritans (27 Nov) - Counselling charity The Samaritans is launching an e-mail service on Wednesday to help people suffering from emotional distress. The organisation, which runs a free 24-hour phone helpline, is trying to reach out to the younger internet generation. [more]


History - media (27 Nov) - A dramatization of the race to discover the structure of DNA has won a Europe-wide award for the best television drama on a scientific subject. Life Story won the Midas prize for the best drama based on real science made between 1950 and 1999. Broadcast by the BBC in 1986, it stars Jeff Goldblum as biologist James Watson. Its American title is The Race for the Double Helix. [more]


Obituary (26 Nov) - John Rawls, the James Bryant Conant University Professor Emeritus, whose 1971 book, "A Theory of Justice" argued persuasively for a society based on equality and individual rights, died Sunday (Nov. 24) at the age of 81. [more]


Human evolution (26 Nov) - Do humans owe their existence to an ancient relative of a virus like HIV? John McDonald, head of the University's Genetics Department, and King Jordan, of the National Institutes of Health, recently published a finding that suggests this could be possible. [more]


Schizophrenia (26 Nov) - An Australian scientific research team said on Tuesday it had identified 153 genes affected by schizophrenia in a step toward discovering the causes of the illness. [more]


Eating (26 Nov) - Given the opportunity, it seems that people just about everywhere will eat and eat, and then eat some more. Most know there is a price to pay - all those extra calories have to go somewhere - and yet they cannot resist that second piece of pumpkin pie. [more]


Freud (26 Nov) - Freud may make us feel defensive or conflicted (both are terms he coined), but we can't escape his influence, even when the couch we're on is the one facing our television. [more]


Primatology (26 Nov) - A secret population of orang-utans has been discovered in the forests of the island of Borneo. Conservationists believe about 2,000 rare apes are living out of sight in a remote lowland region of East Kalimantan. [more]


Memory (25 Nov) - Using technology that provides a glimpse at thousands of genes at once, scientists have identified more than 100 genes believed to be involved with memory. What's more, brain injections of a growth factor--identified as important in the gene analysis--increased the learning ability of rats. [more]


Archaeology (20 Nov) - The Bering Land Bridge that the first Americans crossed into the New World from Siberia had been there for thousands of years before those first immigrants arrived, most likely around 12,000 years ago. Did hyenas prevent human migration? [more]


Grandmothering - Researchers are now saying that grandmothers have played a powerful role in human evolution. But for anyone who's ever had a grandmother, you probably already knew that. Join Neal Conan for a discussion of grandmothers past, present and how to be one. [more] [audio]


Genetics (24 Nov) - Researchers have developed a technique to speed evolution by inserting human cancer-causing genes into animals and plants. [more]


Animal rights (24 Nov) - Controversial plans to build a 24 million research centre where scientists will experiment on the brains of primates are set to ignite a ferocious battle between researchers and animal rights activists this week. [more]


"Leisure sickness" (24 Nov) - People who get ill at the weekend or while on holiday may be suffering from a 'new' medical condition. Researchers in the Netherlands say a significant proportion of the population is suffering from so-called leisure sickness. [more]


Sexual behaviour (22 Nov) - The person you are most likely to end up in bed with is the person most likely to end up in your stomach, Steve Scher said on Wednesday night. Scher, a psychology professor at Eastern Illinois University, discussed the relationship between cannibalism and sex. [more]

PAPERS & COMMENTARY

Mental health (30 Nov) - Users can be involved as employees, trainers, or researchers in mental health services without detrimental effect. Involving users with severe mental disorders in the delivery and evaluation of services is feasible. British Medical Journal.


  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

Longevity - Research has shown that a low-calorie lifestyle can extend the lives of species ranging from yeast to mammals, and now scientists have evidence that two genes may be the major orchestrators of this effect. [more]


Evolutionary psychology (30 Nov) - "From biology we learn that not every species-typical trait is necessarily advantageous, and from neuroscience we learn that not every psychological ability or tendency necessarily needs to have its own specialized brain circuitry. But even if the concept of adaptation is hard to apply, psychologists would do well to start looking at human behavior in the light of evolution," writes Frans de Waal. [more]


Pareto distribution (29 Nov) - Most ancient Egyptians were on the poverty line while a handful of priest-kings held fabulous wealth. Children earned their keep from a very early age and two out of every three people in an average family had to work. Nature Science Update, Physical Review E.


Homosexuality (27 Nov) - A recent nationwide (US) survey shows that a larger proportion of men say they are having sex with other men than in the 1980s, although whether that trend stems from an increase in same-sex activity or an increased willingness to report it remains unclear. [more]


Evolution (28 Nov) - Researchers studying yeast reproductive habits have for the first time observed a rapid method for the creation of new species, shedding light on the way organisms evolve and suggesting possible ways to improve yeast biotechnology and fermentation processes used in beer and wine-making. [more]


Vision (25 Nov) - Baby's first look at the world is likely a dizzying array of shapes and motion that are meaningless to a newborn, but researchers at the University of Rochester have now shown that babies use relationships between objects to build an understanding of the world. By noting how often objects appear together, infants can efficiently take in more knowledge than if they were to simply see the same shapes individually, says the paper published in the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. [more]


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Anxiety (25 Nov) - A new finding of a link between an anxiety disorder and peptic ulcer disease lends support to the view that this gastrointestinal disease and anxiety disorder may share a common link. [more]



Physiology (25 Nov) - Researchers at the University of Washington have discovered a cellular basis for what many have long suspected: Men, as well as women, have a reproductive clock that ticks down with age. [more]



Chronic fatigue (25 Nov) - Subtle alterations of a hormonal stress response system called the HPA axis may play a role in chronic fatigue syndrome, according to a study in the November/December issue of Psychosomatic Medicine. [more]


REVIEWS & DISCUSSION (cont.)

Fragile X - Michael A. Schmidt reviews Fragile X Syndrome: Diagnosis, Treatment and Research edited by Randi Jenssen Hagerman and Paul J. Hagerman. [more] [review]

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Sexual behaviour - Stephanie Merritt reviews Lords of Creation: The Demented World of Men in Power by Margaret Cook. [review]

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REVIEWS & DISCUSSION

Jensenism - Max Hocutt reviews Intelligence, Race, and Genetics: Conversations with Arthur R. Jensen by Frank Miele. [more] [review]

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Psychology - Sue McHale reviews Liars Lovers and Heroes: What the New Brain Science Reveals About How We Become Who We Are by Steven R. Quartz and Terrence J. Sejnowski. [more] [review]

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Psychopharmacology - Donald F. Klein reviews The Creation of Psychopharmacology by David Healy. [more] [review]

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Human evolution - Maggie McDonald reviews The Speciation of Modern Homo Sapiens edited by T. J. Crow. [more] [review]

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Evolution - Tangled Trees: Phylogeny, cospeciation and coevolution edited by Roderick Page. [more] [review]

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Language - Todd Nelson reviews Predicting New Words: The Secrets of Their Success By Allan Metcalf. [more] [review]

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Hedonism - Richard Weikart reviews Moral Darwinism: How We Became Hedonists by Benjamin Wiker. [more] [review]

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Genetics - medicine - Christian Perring reviews Your Genetic Destiny: Know Your Genes, Secure Your Health, Save Your Life by Aubrey Milunsky. [more] [review]

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Psychology - human nature - Louis Menand reviews The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker. [more] [by Steven Pinker] [review]

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Moral psychology - Mark D. Rego reviews Agency and Responsibility: A Common-Sense Moral Psychology by Jeanette Kennett. [more] [review]

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