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News in Brain and Behavioural Sciences
The weekly edition of The Human Nature Daily Review
Volume 2: Issue 92 - 5th April, 2003 - http://human-nature.com/nibbs/

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NEWS & VIEWS

Parenting (5 Apr) - Ever since the science of child development was invented in the beginning of the 20th century, experts have offered parents a goulash of advice on how to raise the little marvel (or monster), creating as much anxiety and confusion as they are supposed to assuage. [more]



Profile (7 Apr) - Stephen Wolfram--wunderkind, untamed scientist--possesses a mind that is uncluttered by daydreams and everyday intrusions. ("The Super Bowl? What's that?" he once asked a colleague.) His brain turns over questions about the complexities of science, nature, and life, and instead of dismissing these puzzles, his mind works to answer them. So what if his answers turn science upside down? [more]


Uncertainty (3 Apr) - Before the scientific revolution determinism was a strong ideal. Religion brought about a denial of uncertainty, and many people knew that their kin or their race was exactly the one that God had favored. They also thought they were entitled to get rid of competing ideas and the people that propagated them. How does a society change from this condition into one in which we understand that there is this fundamental uncertainty? [more]


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Human evolution (3 Apr) - A leading palaeontologist has questioned the heritage of a 3.5-million-year-old fossil skull hailed two years ago as a new human relative. [more]


Profile (3 Apr) - Esther Addley meets Jane Goodall, the secretary from Bournemouth who became the world's most famous primatologist. [more]


Genetics (3 Apr) - If you debate the new genetics in Europe and America these days you get asked the same question in two different ways. The average European says, with dread: "How do we stop people doing x?" The average American says with excitement: "When will I be able to do x?" For x, read "test myself for future dementia risk," "change my unborn children's genes," or even "fill my blood vessels with nano-robots to enable me to live to 150". [more]


Human evolution (2 Apr) - New DNA evidence suggests "African Eve", the 150,000-year-old female ancestor of every person on Earth, may have lived in Tanzania or Ethiopia. [more]


Paranoia (1 Apr) - Probably no psychiatric term is bandied about as loosely as paranoia. But paranoia covers a broad terrain, from a stable personality trait to a symptom of severe mental illness. [more]


Development (1 Apr) - Children as young as 12 months old appear able to "read" and respond to TV actors' emotions, according to a report on two recent studies. [more]


Child abuse (1 Apr) - Bette L. Bottoms, PhD, has been arguing for years that psychologists should play a greater role in the world of child maltreatment, a field dominated by social workers and police officers. [more]


Emotion (1 Apr) - Both halves of the brain are involved in understanding emotional speech, with the left side focusing on "what" and the right sight focusing on "how," according to a recent study in Neuropsychology (Vol. 17, No. 1). [more]


Homosexuality (1 Apr) - A national two-year study of gay and lesbian experiences found that gays and lesbians have high levels of satisfaction with their available social support and identify themselves as spiritual but rarely attend religious services. Those preliminary results were released at the 2003 National Multicultural Conference and Summit in January. [more]


Sex (1 Apr) - Psychologists are gaining new insights into sexual arousal with the help of innovative research methods. [more] Study finds sex differences in relationship between arousal and orientation. [more] Women and sex: What is 'dysfunctional'? [more] Sex research faces new obstacles. [more] Psychologists are creating interventions to curb high-risk sexual behavior among young people. [more] TV sex may be getting safer. [more]


Genetics - history (31 Mar) - The study of DNA allows us to unravel history, but it also tells us that we can forge our own future. [more]


Psychotherapy (30 Mar) - More and more people are switching career to become therapists - though the training is long, expensive and soul-searching. Analyse that, says Stephanie Theobald. [more]

RESEARCH & COMMENTARY

Human evolution (31 Mar) - Move over, man the toolmaker: The idea of men as stone tool producers may need some rechiseling, say University of Florida scientists who found women sometimes are the masters. The research among an Ethiopian group indicates stone tool working is not just a male activity, but rather that women probably had an active part in creating stone tools, one of the most ubiquitous materials found on prehistoric sites. [more]



War (2 Apr) - A statistical analysis of key factors in wars fought over the past nearly 200 years indicates that the Iraqi war will last 2 to 10 months, according to a Penn State political scientist. [more]


Live coverage of Iraq war (BBC) EuroNews BBC News   Channel Four News (UK) CBC News (Canada) ABC News (Australia) FeedRoom (US) Deutsche Welle RTÉ News (Ireland) CBS News (US) BBC News 24 BBC Newsnight BBC Question Time BBC Radio Player, BBC World Service, Today, Newshour, The World Today, Radio Netherlands, 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 United Nations US Congress UK Parliament.

Audio and Video

Animal cognition (2 Apr) - Coots, the Rodney Dangerfields of the bird world, just might start to get some respect as a result of a new study showing that these common marsh birds are able to recognize and count their own eggs, even in the presence of eggs laid by other birds. [more]


Neurophysiology (1 Apr) - How do we hear when some of us chatter all day? When we sing in the shower, why doesn't the active voice smother the rest of our body's sensory systems? The answer to these questions may be found in the simple male cricket (Gryllus bimaculatus), which sing for hours at over 100 decibels sound pressure levels (dB SPL) in order to attract females. [more]


PTSD (1 Apr) - Posttraumatic stress disorder develops in response to experiencing, witnessing or even learning about a terrifying event. The event--or trauma--is usually life-threatening, or at least capable of producing bodily harm, and it typically involves either interpersonal violence or massive disaster (e.g., rape, assault, torture, terrorism, car or plane crashes, earthquake, tornado, or flood). Traumatic events have in common the ability to elicit intense and immediate fear, helplessness, horror and distress. [more]


Evolutionary psychology (1 Apr) - Are our moral attitudes shaped by culture alone, or does our evolved psychology help generate them? [more]


Mindfulness (1 Apr) - Several major Eastern philosophies stress the importance of mindfulness, but is there really a mental health benefit to being more conscious and more focused on what's happening in the here and now? In the April issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, University of Rochester researchers report that individuals who are mindful are more attuned to their emotions and act in ways that are compatible with their values and interests. Mindfulness, which is an enhanced attention to and awareness of the present, can be linked to better mood, higher self-esteem, life satisfaction, and optimism - all signs of positive psychological health. [more]


Bipolar disorder (1 Apr) - After years of frustrating searches for genes that contribute to mental illness, researchers at Johns Hopkins studying families with a severe form of manic depressive illness, called psychotic bipolar disorder, may be one step closer to finding the genetic underpinnings of both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. [more]


Twins - Perceptions of social closeness and familiarity were assessed among 44 monozygotic (MZA) and 33 dizygotic (DZA) reunited twin pairs, and several individual twins and triplets. Significantly greater MZA than DZA closeness and familiarity were found. Closeness and familiarity ratings for co-twins exceeded those for nonbiological siblings with whom twins were raised. [more]


Altruism - Altruism is difficult to explain evolutionarily if subtle cheaters exist in a population. A pathway to the evolutionary maintenance of cooperation is nonverbal altruist-detection. One adaptive advantage of nonverbal altruist-detection is the formation of trustworthy division of labour partnerships. Three studies were designed to test a fundamental assumption behind altruistic partner preference models. [more]


Evolutionary psychology (31 Mar) - 'Confessions of a Closet Sociobiologist: Personal Perspectives on the Darwinian Movement in Psychology' by Irwin Silverman. [more]


Psychopharmacology (31 Mar) - Benzodiazepine use in elderly patients is associated with increased risk of falls and fractures, motor vehicle accidents and other problems. [more]

REVIEWS & DISCUSSION

Biotechnology - Steven Rose reviews Science, Seeds and Cyborgs: Biotechnology and the Appropriation of Life by Finn Bowring. [more] [review]

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Culture - memory - Steven Mithen reviews The Museum of the Mind: Art and Memory in World Cultures by John Mack. [more] [review]

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Darwin - Roy Herbert reviews Darwin and the Barnacle by Rebecca Stott. [more] [review]

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Free will - Michael Ruse reviews Freedom Evolves by Daniel Dennett. [more] [review]

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Stupidity - Stephen Bayley reviews The Encyclopaedia of Stupidity by Matthijs van Boxsel, trans. Arnold & Erica Pomerans. [more] [review]

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Rape - 'A Posse of Good Citizens Brings Outlaw Evolutionists to Justice' by Craig Palmer and Randy Thornhill. A response to Evolution, Gender, and Rape. Edited by Cheryl Brown Travis. (2003). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. [more] [review]

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Cognition - evolution - Rock Art in Darwin’s Cathedral by William Benzon. Shamanism and the Ancient Mind: A Cognitive Approach to Archaeology by James L. Pearson. [more] Darwin's Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society by David Sloan Wilson. University of Chicago Press, 2002; ISBN: 0226901343. [more] [review]

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Nature vs. nurture - Robin McKie is impressed by Nature via Nurture, Matt Ridley's eloquent explanation of how we can be so different from other primates despite sharing 99% of their genetic material. [more] [review]

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