The 22nd August edition of the Science podcast looks at research which suggests that the votes of undecided voters in the upcoming american elections can be predicted with 70% accuracy based on mental associations. There is discussion of research showing mirror self-recognition in magpies. This research seems to challenge the notion that mirror neurons are responsible for self-recognition and must be located in the neocortex (as Magpies don’t have these regions!). Another study looked at attractiveness and suggested that this decision was based on the symmetry (and proportion) of the body.
The 21st August edition of the Nature podcast looks at new research suggesting an alternative cellular based strategy for combatting obesity and the science equivalent of woodstock where leading figures congregate to discuss science at Google headquarters!
The Institute of Psychiatry debates are an excellent resource and are available in podcast format. The latest debate is entitled ‘The Drugs Don’t Work’ and broaches the controversial topics of drug efficacy. This was a response to Professor Kirsch’s study on antidepressants which met with considerable media coverage and suggested a lack of clinically significant efficacy. There are four very thought provoking talks by Lewis Wolpert, Irving Kirsch, Joanne Moncrieff and George Goodwin. This is well worth listening to.
Shrink Rap Radio episode #169 is entitled ‘Way of the Scottish Ninja‘ and includes an interview between Dr Van Nuys and Jock Brocas, a security expert and martial artist with an interesting story to tell. Brocas talks about spirituality and about his use of intuition in dangerous situations. Personally, I think that such intuition can be explained by the brain’s ‘conscious’ and ‘unconscious’ processing. For me this was an interesting episode as Brocas shows how important such intuition is in the ‘real world’, in situations where his life was in danger. Perhaps such considerations are quite important in an evolutionary context!
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