Monday, March 16, 2009

Encephalon #66: The No-Frills, No-Fuss Edition

Welcome to the 66th installment of the venerable Encephalon -- the premier brainy / psychology-y blog carnival! My hosting philosophy is to be minimalist, so I figured I'd make this an official no-frills, no-fuss edition, presented with 'just the facts, ma'am' (with apologies to Orac).

Scicurious of Neurotopia is first up and has a lengthy and fantastic piece on how the serotonin theory of depression is wrong, or at least incomplete. This submission is the 4th installment in a series of posts about depression, all most certainly worth checking out.

The most excellent Neurocritic does his neurocritical thing about a study that claimed (to put it very crudely) that atheists are neurotic and religious zealots are antisocial. It turns out the paper uses the same methods as Amodio et. al., the study that got a lot of attention in 2007 and was one of the very first things I wrote about on my blog (I now think I was rather too kind).

Dr. Spurt (yes, there is an interesting story behind this pseudonym) of Effortless Incitement summarizes the findings of a fascinating ("sociobiological") study that found knowledge about whether a sibling is dead or alive varies by relatedness.

I don't think Mo of Neurophilosophy needs an introduction at this point. Go read his posts on the brain mechanisms seemingly involved in Freudian repression and on how spatial memories are encoded.

The Neuroanthropology co-authors, Greg and Daniel, has a post each in this edition. The former asked: is Facebook bad for you? (AKA 'there is technophobia afoot'). And the latter wrote about the four steps of addiction (viz. vulnerability, training, intentions, and meaning).

Sandeep, from The Mouse Trap, has two posts in this edition: the first is on a paper in PNAS that argued that religiosity can be devolved into three underlying factors, all relating to the Theory of Mind circuitry. Sandeep's second post on the fascinating contention that schizophrenia is due to heightened attribution of agency.

Next up (from Down Under), is the Podblack Cat, who submitted a cool and decidedly quirky post about poetry and expert performance. I must say I never expected to have to conjoin those two clauses...

Dr. Shock (who writes a Neurostimulating blog...) covers a study that investigated why online gaming is so popular. Perhaps a bit surprisingly, participants most often cited socializing as their reason for gaming.

Lastly... two posts from Brain Blogger. Joseph Kim (MD & MPH, nogal) covers a possible new treatment for chronic migraines: nerve stimulation therapy. And Sajid Surve surveys the challenges faced in creating pluripotent stem cells.

Late addition: Sharp Brains on a new study that supports neurofeedback as a treatment for ADHD and a two-parter on Maggie Jackson's book on distraction.

That's it!! Neuroskeptic will host the next edition of this carnival on March 30th, so, as usual, please email your submissions to encephalon{dot}host{at}gmail{dot}com.

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