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News in Brain and Behavioural Sciences
The weekly edition of The Human Nature Daily Review
Volume 2: Issue 82 - 12th January, 2003 - http://human-nature.com/nibbs/

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NEWS & VIEWS

Psychology - APA's 2003 president Robert Sternberg brings his formidable energy and a lifetime of experience to bear on the task of unifying psychology. [more]


Discovery - Despite predictions that science will run out of things to discover, changes in direction never cease to occur. This series explores where science will lead us as we probe deeper into space, uncover more of the mystery of genetic coding and delve yet further into the atom. [more] The Universe [audio] The Brain [audio]


Memory - What processes kick into action when we're forming or recalling a memory - from the simplest of mundane incidents to one of huge emotional significance? [more] [audio]


Forensic psychology - Forensic psychologists speak out on the lessons learned from the Washington-area sniper case. [more]


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Language (12 Jan) - Teenagers grunt and adults chat about trivia, but are our unique verbal skills really in danger of disappearing? Robin McKie thinks we are unlikely to be left speechless. [more]


"Couching Tiger" (11 Jan) - The followers of Freud are making a major comeback in the land of the hidden dragon. Mao dismissed psychiatry as 'a phony science' that is '90 per cent useless,' but his edict has been lifted. [more]


Narcissism (11 Jan) - It has got so psychologist Lawrence Josephs can tell right away which patients are likely to fire him. The narcissists may be the worst. These are the ones who are there in the first place only because their spouse would not quit hectoring them to show more interest in the marriage, and the people at work just didn't seem to give them the credit or attention they deserve. Often, they stay only long enough to decide that what they really need is to leave the marriage and quit the job. After that, they sack the shrink. [more]


Suicide (10 Jan) - China's first suicide intervention center opened a website in Beijing Friday, making it possible for people with mental health problems to register online as well as find medical information. [more]


"Mozart Effect" (10 Jan) - Can the Viennese master's music really produce prize marrows, make cows happier and boost a baby's IQ? Catherine Nelson weighs up the evidence. [more] [more] [audio]


Archaeology (10 Jan) - The moment is indelibly burned into Dato Zhvania's memory. It had been a day like any other - a day of back-breaking, painstakingly meticulous work. A day of throbbing, enervating heat. But as he sifted gingerly through the baked patch of ground before him, his fingers touched something different. The archaeological site at the medieval town of Dmanisi, 80 kilometres (50 miles) south-west of the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, had already revealed some of its secrets. Perhaps, just perhaps, this was his turn. But what emerged as he brushed away the earth was to far exceed his expectations. He did not know it yet, but in his hands he held the almost perfectly preserved skull of the most ancient human being ever found in Europe - 1.8 million years old. [more]


Self and the brain (8 Jan) - "Who are you? The answer, of course, lies in your brain. But how your brain becomes and continues to be who you are is still poorly understood. Neuroscientists have been quite successful in figuring out how pieces of the brain puzzle work (perception, movement, learning, emotion) but have not made much progress in putting the pieces together to build the kind of global picture of brain function that would be necessary to understand how one's personal identity, one's self, is represented in neural tissue," writes Joseph LeDoux. [more]


Archaeology (8 Jan) - Hunting tools believed to be 9,000 years old have been uncovered during a road development in County Antrim. [more]


History (9 Jan) - In the early years of the 15th century, Chinese Admiral Zheng He and his commanders unfurled their sails and embarked in great teak junks, boats so enormous that each could "swallow 50 fishing ships." These flagships were the centerpiece of armadas manned by thousands, sometimes tens of thousands, of sailors on scores of vessels. [more]


Happiness (6 Jan) - Scientists say they have solved one of the greatest mysteries plaguing mankind - just what is the secret of happiness? [more]


Human evolution (5 Jan) - What makes our species unique? A linguist and two animal researchers band together to crack open an old chestnut. [more]


Psychiatry - All the latest news from the American Psychiatric Association - Psychiatric News, 3 January 2003; Vol. 38, No. 1. [more]


Female impotence (3 Jan) - The pharmaceutical industry has "created" a disease out of female sexual problems, it has been suggested.  An article in the British Medical Journal suggests drug manufacturers are defining the condition in order to have a new market for products. [more]


Science (3 Jan) - What were the top science stories of 2002? From cloning to neutrinos, our panel of science journalists will run down the science news of the year in review. We'll also challenge them to peek into their crystal balls and give us a look ahead at what they think might be big stories in the coming year. [more] [audio]


Smell (3 Jan) - The link between love, relationships and perfumes may have been uncovered by scientists investigating what sex does to a rodent's sense of smell. [more]


Placebo effect (2 Jan) - Dummy treatments used in clinical trials of cancer treatments can produce positive effects - but are unlikely to have a direct impact on tumours, research has found. [more]


Autism (1 Jan) - Autism is about 10 times as prevalent today as it was in the 1980's, according to the country's largest study ever on the problem. Some of the increase is the result of widened definitions of the disorder, researchers say, but the explanation for the rest of the increase is unknown. [more]


SAD (31 Dec) - Researchers say they have direct evidence that the mood changes many people experience when winter comes and the days grow shorter have a physiological basis in the brain. [more] There's a reason for winter depression, but it's not genetic, says Oliver James. [more]


Neanderthals (31 Dec) - These prehistoric people, who lived mostly in Europe and parts of central and southwestern Asia, vanished about 30,000 years ago. Since the first of their fossils were recognized in 1856, Neanderthals have been objects of mystery and endless conjecture. They are, in many respects, the dinosaurs of hominid studies. [more]


Music (28 Dec) - It takes no musical training to recognize a wrong note... but why is that so? New research shows that sensitivity to music is a natural function of the human brain. NPR's Richard Knox reports. [more] [audio]


Psychiatry - All the latest news from the American Psychiatric Association - Psychiatric News, 20 December 2002; Vol. 37, No. 24. [more]


Infidelity (28 Dec) - Rod Liddle reveals that extra-marital relations are more likely to be associated with fertility. [more]


Race (24 Dec) - Humankind falls into five continental groups - broadly equivalent to the common conception of races - when a computer is asked to sort DNA data from people from around the world into clusters. [more]


Genetics (22 Dec) - Gene science has the potential to transform the course of our lives, from 'designer babies' to slowing the ageing process. But how far advanced is it - and exactly where is it going? Mike Bygrave asked the scientists at its cutting edge to separate the hype from the reality. [more]


Therapy (21 Dec) - Argentina's national passions include soccer... the tango... and psychoanalysis. There's even a neighborhood in Buenos Aires known as Villa Freud. "Cafe Siggy" is among its attractions. [more] [audio]


Human genetics (18 Dec) - Two years after the human genome was mapped, scientists are drawing a stunning insight by comparing human genes with those of mice. Their conclusion? Researchers now agree human genes are definitely missing something; they're just not entirely sure what. Figuring it out could involve arguments about the very definition of the word 'gene.' [more]


Emotion (15 Dec) - While it is, of course, undeniable that emotions can be unruly and that they can and have had dreadful consequences, the good news is that many philosophers and psychologists have for some time been urging us not to infer from these facts any sweeping negative conclusions about the emotions. [more]


Animal rights (15 Dec) - In recent years, nonhuman animals have been at the centre of an intense philosophical debate. In particular, many authors have criticised traditional morality, maintaining that the way in which we treat members of other species is ethically indefensible. [more]


Race (13 Dec) - Tavis Smiley talks to Bernadette Park, a professor of psychology at the University of Colorado at Boulder, about a recent experiment on the role race plays when people make snap decisions about using deadly force. [more] [audio]


Sexual behaviour (15 Dec) - Men are attracted to younger women. But it may have nothing to do with our genes, argues Oliver James. [more]


Development (13 Dec) - Though the name 'Harry Harlow' isn't well known to most people, the images produced by his research are: the pictures in many psychology texts of captive monkeys seeking comfort from either metal or terry-cloth covered 'artificial mothers.' In this hour, Ira talks with Deborah Blum, author of "Love at Goon Park,' a new book about Harlow, and with primatologist Frans de Waal. [more] [audio]


Darwinian literary criticism - For many years, literary study has been divided among various arcane philosophies, from deconstruction to postcolonialism. The next hot theory comes not from France or Slovenia but from American laboratories -- by way of evolutionary theorists like E. O. Wilson and Steven Pinker. [more]


Designer babies (11 Dec) - As genetic technology increases our ability to manipulate human life, we are forced to ask ourselves whether that's a good thing. A new survey finds that Americans are deeply divided on a range of issues from cloning to designer babies. [more] [audio]


Schizophrenia (10 Dec) - A study in the journal Lancet shows magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may prove effective as an early detector of schizophrenia. MRIs are scans that show a living brain in fine detail. [more] [audio]

PAPERS & COMMENTARY

History (13 Jan) - Birth of an Icon - Watson and Crick's DNA discovery: An epic for today's scientists. The Scientist, 1953 paper, Nature.


  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

Emotion (12 Jan) - Both sides of the brain play a role in processing emotional communication, with the right side stepping in when we focus not on the "what" of an emotional message but rather on how it feels. By studying blood flow velocity to each side of the brain, Belgian psychologists have opened a window onto the richness and complexity of human emotional communication. Their research appears in the January 2003 issue of Neuropsychology. [more]



Self-esteem (8 Jan) - Whether you fancy yourself a jet-setting sophisticate or a down-to-earth outdoorsy type, a fast-track corporate star or an all-around nice guy, new research indicates that you probably tune out information that challenges your self-image by tuning in to television. [more]


Language (9 Jan) - There is a "critical period" for learning a second language, according to a study by German and Italian scientists. The research, published in the journal Neuron, confirms the common assumption that childhood is the best time to learn language. [more]


Racism and medicine (11 Jan) - Racism may be important in the development of illness and countering it should be considered a public health issue, argues a senior psychiatrist in this week's British Medical Journal. [more]


Animal behavior (8 Jan) - Democracy wins hands down over despotism when it comes to making choices in an animal group, according to a new theoretical model of collective decisions. New Scientist, Nature.



Addiction (7 Jan) - Chronic cocaine use harms brain circuits that help produce the sense of pleasure, in part explaining why cocaine addicts have a higher rate of depression, a study suggests. New York Times, EurekAlert.


Ritalin (6 Jan) - There is no firm evidence that giving hyperactive children stimulant drugs like Ritalin increases the likelihood of drug abuse later in life, and the therapy may actually help prevent such abuse, researchers reported today. [more]


Human evolution (6 Jan) - Hunting skills may not after all have triggered the tremendous burst of human evolution at the beginning of the ice ages nearly two million years ago. Instead of man the hunter, the driving force behind this evolutionary surge may have been woman the gatherer, with both mother and grandmother playing a vital role. [more]


ADHD (6 Jan) - An analysis of all available studies that examine the possible impact of stimulant treatment for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) on future substance abuse supports the safety of stimulant treatment. [more]


Biological clock (6 Jan) - The biological clock - timekeeper for virtually every activity within living things, from sleep patterns to respiration - is a single protein, Purdue University researchers report. [more]


Neuroscience (4 Jan) - In people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is the hippocampus small because of the disease, or is PTSD present because the hippocampus is small? [more]


Face recognition (8 Jan) - A scientist working on face recognition at the University of Geneva has discovered that Caucasians take longer to involuntarily detect the faces of other Caucasians compared with the faces of people from other races, such as Asians. The source of such involuntary detection could well be a part of the part of the brain associated with the processing of emotion, the amygdala. [more]


Manic depression (3 Jan) - AstraZeneca has announced that it has submitted an application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for quetiapine (Seroquel) to be granted a licence for the treatment of acute mania associated with bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness). [more]


Orangutan culture (2 Jan) - An international collaboration of primatologists has gleaned evidence from decades of observations of orangutans that the apes show behaviors that are culturally based. Press release, New York Times, National Geographic, CNN, New Scientist, Scientific American, BBC News Online.


Language (1 Jan) - A chimp who has grown up among humans may have developed the ability to talk, claims a research team from the US. BBC News Online, The Telegraph, New Zealand Herald.


Human evolution (26 Dec) - A new analysis of human genetic history deals a blow to the theory that early people moved out of Africa and completely replaced local populations elsewhere in the world. The findings suggest there was at least limited interbreeding between our African ancestors and the residents of areas where they settled. [more]


Pocket PCs - offers at Amazon.com [more]


Evolutionary psychology (26 Dec) - For those interested in taking the very long view of why people do what they do, Florida Atlantic University plans to expand graduate offerings in evolutionary psychology -- the idea that natural selection has shaped not only human biology, but human behavior. [more]


Body shape (21 Dec) - The shapely body characteristics of centrefold models have given way to more androgynous ones, concludes a study in this week's Christmas issue of the British Medical Journal, The Age.


Robotics (16 Dec) - Forget the robot child in the movie "AI." Vanderbilt researchers Nilanjan Sarkar and Craig Smith have a less romantic but more practical idea in mind. "We are not trying to give a robot emotions. We are trying to make robots that are sensitive to our emotions," says Smith, associate professor of psychology and human development. [more]


Neuroscience (16 Dec) - Many cells in the average brain may be missing huge chunks of genome, scientists revealed at a San Francisco meeting yesterday. The puzzling omissions might decide our risk of disease. [more]


Camcorders - offers at Amazon.com [more]


Suicide (16 Dec) - New research suggests that Serotonergic dysfunction doesn't cause suicide. [more]


REVIEWS & DISCUSSION (cont.)

Lying - Jonathan Aitken reviews The Liar's Tale by Jeremy Campbell. [more] [review]

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Unconscious - David Rakoff reviews Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious by Timothy D. Wilson. [more] [review]

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Psychiatry - Michael Fitzpatrick reviews Pure Madness: how fear drives the mental health system by Jeremy Laurance [more] and The Creation of Psychopharmacology by David Healy. [more] [review]

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Science - Matt Ridley chooses the best science books of 2002. [more] [audio]


Electric snow shovel - Tools on offer at Amazon.com [more]


Psychiatry - Mark Sullivan reviews Creating Mental Illness by Allan V. Horwitz. [more] [review]

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REVIEWS & DISCUSSION

Holocaust - Götz Aly and Susanne Heim reveal the crucial role of academics and civil servants in their meticulous history of the men behind the Holocaust - Peter Preston reviews Architects of Annihilation by Götz Aly and Susanne Heim. [more] [review]

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Eugenics - Keeping America Sane: Psychiatry and Eugenics in the United States and Canada, 1880-1940 (Cornell Studies in the History of Psychiatry) by Ian Robert Dowbiggin. [more] [review]

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Religion - David Livingstone Smith reviews Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought by Pascal Boyer. [more] [review]

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Nature vs. nurture - Daniel Smith reviews The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker. [more] [by Steven Pinker] [review

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Depression - Diana Pederson reviews Understanding Depression: What We Know and What You Can Do About It by J. Raymond DePaulo Jr., M.D. and Leslie Alan Horvitz. [more] [review]

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Intelligence - Keith S. Harris reviews Why Smart People Can Be So Stupid by Robert J. Sternberg. [more] [review]

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Psychiatry - Christian Perring reviews Psychological Concepts and Biological Psychiatry: A Philosophical Analysis by Peter Zachar. [more] [review]

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Concepts - James R. Beebe reviews Furnishing the Mind: Concepts and Their Perceptual Basis by Jesse J. Prinz. [more] [reviews]

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Sociology - Christian Perring reviews Sociological Perspectives on the New Genetics edited by Peter Conrad and Jonathan Gabe. [more] [review]

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Philosophy - Ian Hargreaves reviews Straw Dogs: Thoughts on humans and other animals by John Gray. [more] [review]

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Human evolution - Douglas Palmer reviews The Neanderthal's Necklace: In Search of the First Thinkers by Juan Luis Arsuaga, Andy Klatt (Translator), Juan Carlos Sastre (Illustrator). [more] [review]

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Mental health - Nigel Lester reviews Pure Madness: How Fear Drives the Mental Health System by Jeremy Laurance. [more] [review]

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Human evolution - The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey by Spencer Wells. [more] [review]

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Religion - Natalie Angier reviews Darwin's Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society by David Sloan Wilson. [more] [review]

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Psychiatry - Jacob Sullum reviews Pharmacracy: Medicine and Politics in America by Thomas Szasz [more] and Creating Mental Illness by Allan V. Horwitz. [more] [review]

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Neurogenetics - Kirk C. Wilhelmsen reviews Neurogenetics edited by Stefan M. Pulst. [more] [review]

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Biology - Paul E. Griffiths reviews Making Sense of Life: Explaining Biological Development With Models, Metaphors, and Machines by Evelyn Fox Keller. [more] [review]

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Science - A discussion of Dick Teresi's Lost Discoveries: The Ancient Roots of Modern Science -- from the Babylonian to the Maya. [more] [more]  [audio]

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"Positive Psychology" - Flourishing: Positive Psychology and the Life Well-Lived by Corey L. M. Keyes (Editor), Jonathan Haidt (Editor), and Martin E. P. Seligman. [more] [chapter]

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