Neurophilosophy

Archives for July, 2007

Cannabis & psychosis

  This week’s issue of The Lancet contains the most comprehensive meta-analysis to date of the link between cannabis and psychosis: The evidence is consistent with the view that cannabis increases risk of psychotic outcomes independently of confounding and transient intoxication effects, although evidence for affective outcomes is less strong. The uncertainty about whether cannabis…

Understanding ADHD

Shelley has written a nice summary of the neuroscience of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). As its name suggests, ADHD is characterized by inattention and hyperactivity. This is often accompanied by forgetfulness and an inability to control impulses. ADHD is a developmental disorder that is believed to be neurological in nature. It presents at an…

Science in The Simpsons

“What is matter? Never mind. What is mind? Never matter.” So says Homer, in one episode of The Simpsons. And although I’m not an adherent of Homerian dualism, the show is still my favourite thing on television. I think it’s sheer genius. The Simpsons often contains science-based jokes and references to evolution, cosmology and particle…

Iconoclastic psychotherapist dies

The New York Times has an obituary of Albert Ellis, a highly innovative psychotherapist who died yesterday at the age of 93.  In the 1950s, Ellis broke with tradition by rejecting the theories of Sigmund Freud, which were widely used at the time. As an alternative, Ellis developed a method called Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy…

Email from a quack

I received this email yesterday: Hello, I just read your post [on augmented cognition] and found it intriguing. I have been experimenting with a nutritional supplement for the past several years which was designed to treat bi-polar disorder (and it works amazing well for that purpose according to all the researchers who have studied it)…

The rise & fall of the prefrontal lobotomy

LOBOTOMY (from the Greek lobos, meaning lobes of the brain, and tomos, meaning cut) is a psychosurgical procedure in which the connections the prefrontal cortex and underlying structures are severed, or the frontal cortical tissue is destroyed, the theory being that this leads to the uncoupling of the brain’s emotional centres and the seat of…

The term ‘Rashomon effect’ is often used by psychologists in situations where observers give different accounts of the same event,and describes the effect of subjective perceptions on recollection. The phenomenon is named after a 1950 film by the great Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. It was with Rashomon that Western cinema-goers discovered both Kurosawa and Japanese…

The artistic savant

London City Skyline, 2006, by Stephen Wiltshire.  The neurologist Oliver Sacks, who devotes a chapter to Wiltshire in his 1995 book An Anthropologist on Mars, describes first meeting the autistic artist in a short article from the New York Times: When I first met Stephen in 1988, I was intrigued by the silent, withdrawn boy,…

How to stop a rhino in its tracks

Since a number of other ScienceBloggers have posted lists of science websites for kids (Science sites for kids by Karmen; Online sources for hands-on chemistry for kids by Janet; Cool science sites for kids by Zuska; and Brain science is child’s play by Sandra), I thought I’d share this cool practical activity for a lesson…

We live in a time in which we are overwhelmed by information obtained from multiple sources, such as the internet, television, and radio. We are usually unable to give our undivided attention to any one source of information, but instead give ‘continuous partial attention’ to all of them by constantly flitting between them. The limitations…