FRIDAY BITES – 28/06/13

Nope, your mind isn’t playing tricks on you – it really is the end of the week already!

Although a common saying, persistent and pervasive tricks of the mind characterise one mental condition in particular. On that front, the Mirror recently reported a new clinical technique utilising avatars as a means to alleviate the voices schizophrenic patients hear in their heads. By fixing the voices to a target, patients can then work to control and reduce the prominence of the newly-perceived voices.

Non-clinically, here’re a few nifty tricks you can play on your mind; you may have heard of the rubber hand illusion, but how about giving yourself a Pinocchio nose or using binoculars as an analgesic? Thought not.

First broadcasted a while back, this week I finally got round to watching a brilliant documentary on the role of the heart in our mental lives. You can watch Transplanting Memories here, which challenges the long-assumed notion that the brain is for thinking and the heart is for pumping.

In the same vein (excusing the pun), here’s an article on the link between music and heart rate, and another explaining this relationship; shedding light on the widely-reported relaxing effects of classical music.

You’d be surprised at the sheer number of subtle influences on our perception of taste. Such research is continually gobbled up (on a roll with the puns today) by big food firms, but the most recent addition attests to the importance of cutlery choice in how tasty you find your food.

Neuroskeptic applies the Trolley Problem to science: how cherry-picking significant results is seen as more morally sound than simply making up data, but is proverbially equivalent to passively watching several people die when you could have done something about it. Perhaps it should be addressed as such.

Mind Hacks blogged about another problem of science: the dangers of accepting findings without question in light of current concerns in social psychology.

Are we starting to go off social networking? Results from an American survey were reported yesterday.

Taking a postgrad course in clinical psychology? Turns out you’re a better therapist than people who do it for a living – an intriguing study published earlier this year suggests a decline of expertise with experience (!)

What you’re posting about:

Another by-product of our evolution: how junk food and the obesity epidemic is emulated in celebrity culture, explaining the popularity of junk food for the mind.

A book by psychotherapist James Davies adds a new voice to concerns related to those of the DSM, explaining from an insider perspective how and why everyday tribulations are increasingly being labelled as serious medical conditions. It seems, in short: money.

A new series on BBC Three looking at patient life in a teenage mental health unit: watch the first episode of Don’t Call Me Crazy here.

That’s all for now folks, have a great weekend out in the sun! Fingers crossed anyways..

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