Wednesday, May 27, 2009

New trends in neuroscience research - on Big Think

Here's a recent interview on Big Think. They divided the interview into clips - see here for all of them.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Glutamate is in the house - UPDATED

Here's one from the...Glut-Tang Clan?


That's right, a rap about synaptic transmission. Accurate in pretty much every detail. Lots in there - glutamate, acetylcholine, addiction, dopamine...amazing. It appears to be a project for a class at Stanford University, Human Biology 4A. It's the brainchild of Tom McFadden, who also did one on development.

A shout out to his professor, Russ Fernald, who sent it to me - and makes a cameo appearance! "The mind arises from the brain" - word.

Update: it's won an award from The Scientist! A huge shout out!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Are women moodier than men?

I just did an interview with Jean Chatzky on Oprah Radio. Jean gives financial advice but we talked about many more topics from Welcome To Your Brain: whether we really use 10 percent of our brains (no), ways to improve your willpower, and much more.

Jean was particularly interested in the popular belief that women are moodier than men. As Sandra and I have written, this is a myth. Psychologists have given men and women beepers and then asked them to write down their mood whenever the beeper went off. They found that men's and women's moods were just as variable. No difference!

However, both men and women tend to remember women's mood swings better. So if people are asked to remember how moody they or their partners were in the previous week, more mood swings are reported for women than men. It's apparently a matter of perception and recollection - both men and women remember the women's moods.

It is true that mood disorders, including depression and anxiety, are about twice as common in women than in men. No one is really sure why, though it could be a matter of stress. But that's for another post...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A course for behavioral scientists

I've just returned from a meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, where I was a guest speaker. Fun audience, lots of students, great questions.

One of my hosts, Karl Bailey, uses Welcome To Your Brain in an introductory brain course for students of behavioral science. He also uses a second book, Phantoms In The Brain, by V.S. Ramachandran and Sandra Blakeslee. This is a great pairing: we write about everyday life, whereas Phantoms focuses on the clinical side of neuroscience - and is an excellent book.

Thanks, Prof. Bailey!