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News in Brain and Behavioural Sciences
The weekly edition of The Human Nature Daily Review
Volume 3: Issue 94 - 3rd May, 2003 - http://human-nature.com/nibbs/

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NEWS & VIEWS

Animal cognition (3 May) - If you want an attentive canine companion, don't consider a wolf. A study comparing wolves and dogs shows that dogs seem to have an inherited ability to pay closer attention to and understand human gestures and faces - and it's no accident. [more]



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Sex differences (3 May) - In an email exchange, Lynne Segal and Simon Baron-Cohen ask: are men's and women's minds really different? [more]

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Risk (2 May) - "The unfamiliar that strikes suddenly and dramatically is always more frightening than the familiar that strikes slowly and in a more mundane fashion," observes University of Pennsylvania history professor David Barnes. [more]


Neuroscience - ethics (2 May) - Using magnetic resonance imaging machines that detect the ebb and flow of brain activity, researchers have become so good at peering into the workings of the human mind that their work is raising a new and deeply personal ethical concern: brain privacy. [more]



Cognitive science (1 May) - "Research into many questions about sex differences and similarities in intelligence is fraught with political minefields and emotional rhetoric from all ends of the political spectrum." says Diane Halpern, APA President-elect. [more]


Mental illness (1 May) - With 2003 state budget deficits in excess of $60 billion, and even larger deficits expected for 2004, state governments are making deep cuts. One area where the lack of funding could hit especially hard is serious mental illness (SMI), according to Richard H. Hunter. [more]


Pseudoarchaeology - pseudohistory (1 May) - According to John Wall pseudoarchaeological perpetrators and their followers seem to deal with each and every objection by abusing the questioner, twisting facts, or invoking a conspiracy that would make Watergate look insignificant. [more]



Freedom (1 May) - Can there be freedom and free will in a deterministic world? Yes, declares the controversial philosopher Daniel C. Dennett. "Human freedom," he writes in his important new book Freedom Evolves (Viking), "is not an illusion; it is an objective phenomenon, distinct from all other biological conditions and found in only one species, us." [more]

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Neuroscience - psychiatry (30 Apr) - Following the lead of many other researchers, Professor Ramachandran proposes a neurological and evolutionary approach to phenomena that were traditionally labelled "mental illness". [more] [audio]


Autism (30 Apr) - They were certainly geniuses, but did Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton also have autism? According to autism expert Simon Baron-Cohen, they might both have shown many signs of Asperger syndrome, a form of the condition that does not cause learning difficulties. [more]


Emotion (29 Apr) - Can a husband fake a loving smile to his wife? Can a liar maintain a seamless mask of sincerity? When does the face reveal what words do not? [more]


REVIEWS & DISCUSSION (cont.)

Psychiatry - Yvonne Melia reviews Psychiatric Illness in Women: Emerging Treatments and Research edited by Freda Lewis-Hall, Teresa S. Williams, Jill A. Panetta and John M. Herrera. [more] [review]

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Language - Paul Bohan Broderick reviews On Nature and Language by Noam Chomsky. [more] [review]

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RESEARCH & COMMENTARY

ADHD (3 May) - A significant percentage of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder did just as well when harmless placebos, pills without any specific effect, replaced some of their medications, a study led by two N. C researchers shows. [more]


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

Addiction (2 May) - Real-time monitoring of dopamine activity in the brain shows that in rats the mere anticipation of receiving cocaine may cause significant increases in dopamine levels. This finding may help explain why, in humans recovering from cocaine addiction, cocaine paraphernalia, surroundings, and other factors associated with drug use can elicit an intense craving for the drug, often resulting in relapse to use. [more]


Bedwetting (2 May) - Bedwetting and behavior problems may not be related to each other but, rather, to a child's socioeconomic status, according to a new study. [more]


Psychopharmacology (2 May) - Two related University at Buffalo studies examining the incidence of diabetes and related conditions among patients suffering from schizophrenia or bipolar disorder indicate that it is the illness -- not the atypical antipsychotic medications used to treat the disorders -- that contributes to the increased incidence of diabetes in these patients. [more]


Development (2 May) - The season in which a baby is born may influence the baby's birth weight as well as how quickly the baby gains weight during the first four months of life. [more]


Cannabis (1 May) - Cannabis smoking could be responsible for up to 30,000 deaths in the UK, estimate doctors from Imperial College London and St Mary's Hospital. Their editorial published in the British Medical Journal, argues that cannabis could be a major contributor to deaths in the UK. [more]


Aging (1 May) - Scientists may have discovered why the brain's higher information-processing center slows down in old age, affecting everything from language, to vision, to motor skills. The findings may also point toward drugs for reversing the process. EurekAlert, The Independent.


Animal behavior (1 May) - Birds can be influenced in the same way as human consumers as they work out what to eat, says a study. [more]


Language (30 Apr) - Symbols carved into tortoise shells over 8000 years ago, may be the oldest words yet discovered. The findings may also shed light on the ritualistic practices of Neolithic China. [more]


Primatology - genetics (29 Apr) - By studying chimpanzees, scientists are honing their genetic view of humanity, researchers told this week's meeting of the Human Genome Organisation in Cancun, Mexico. [more]


Parenting (28 Apr) - On May 2, popular baby doctor Benjamin Spock would have turned 100. The world-famous pediatrician changed the face of parenting with his soothing words of practical advice and his conviction to use instinct as a guide. A University of Alberta researcher has analysed Dr. Spock--particularly his advice on infant feeding and how it has changed over his decades of work. [more]



Game theory - terrorism (28 Apr) - Current world events would not suggest that a decline in terrorism incidents has taken place during the post-Cold War era. Yet, that is what Todd Sandler, a University of Southern California (USC) professor, has found in studies conducted with colleague Walter Enders of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. [more]


Animal behavior (28 Apr) - Humans are not alone in creating 'signposts' to help them find their way, according to new research published in the open access journal BMC Ecology. Wood mice, say scientists, move objects from their environment around using them as portable signposts whilst they explore. EurekAlert, BMC Ecology.


REVIEWS & DISCUSSION (cont.)

Concepts - James Beebe reviews The Big Book of Concepts by Gregory L. Murphy. [more] [review]

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REVIEWS & DISCUSSION

Human bonds - Zygmunt Bauman argues in Liquid Love that in the consumer age, human relationships are caught between our irreconcilable needs for security and freedom. Stuart Jeffries fears he may be right. [more] [review]

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Ayahuasca - William L. Benzon reviews The Antipodes of the Mind: Charting the Phenomenology of the Ayahuasca Experience by Benny Shanon. [more] [review]

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Sex - John Bonner reviews Sex Wars: Genes, bacteria and biased sex ratios by Michael Majerus. [more] [review]

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History - Simon Ings reviews America as Second Creation: Technology and Narratives of New Beginnings by David E. Nye. [more] [review]

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Machines - luddites - Brian Hayes reviews Against the Machine: The Hidden Luddite Tradition in Literature, Art, and Individual Lives by Nicols Fox. [more] [review]

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Robotics - Kerstin Dautenhahn reviews Designing Sociable Robots by Cynthia L. Breazeal. [more] [review]

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

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Human nature - Keith S. Harris reviews Man, Beast, and Zombie: What Science Can and Cannot Tell Us about Human Nature by Kenan Malik. [more] [review]

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Evil - Shelly Marshall reviews The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History by Howard K. Bloom. [more] [review]

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Imagination - Neil Levy reviews Recreative Minds: Imagination in Philosophy and Psychology by Gregory Currie and Ian Ravenscroft. [more] [review]

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