The painful truth: Magnetic bracelets, the placebo effect & analgesia

Despite the widespread availability of evidence-based medicine in the western world, ‘alternative medicines’ are still commonly used. Such medicines are usually inspired by  pre-scientific medical practices; those which have been passed down through generations. However many established medical treatments also arise from traditional medical practices. For example the use of aspirin as an analgesic (pain…

Read More

A matter of inheritance

The age-old ‘nature-nurture’ debate revolves around understanding to what extent various traits within a population are determined by biological or environmental factors. In this context ‘traits’ can include not only aspects of personality, but also physical differences (e.g. eye colour) and differences in the vulnerability to disease. Investigating the nature-nurture question is important because it…

Read More

Spooky goings on in Psychology!

Given that it is Halloween, it seems only right to discuss some recent psychology experiments relating to potential paranormal phenomenon! Can ‘psychics’ sense information others can’t? Today Merseyside Sceptics Society published the results of a ‘Halloween psychic challenge’. They invited a number of the UK’s top psychics* to attempt to prove their abilities under controlled…

Read More

Neuroscientists Make Declaration On Animal Consciousness

On 7/7/2012 a group of prominent neuroscientists signed a declaration supporting the view that non-human animals experience consciousness. The statement claims to be a ‘re-evaluation of previously held preconceptions’. It states that: ‘Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical and neurophysiologial substrates of conscious states, along with the capacity to exhibit intentional…

Read More

Consciousness In The Brain

  You see, but you do not observe… A Scandal in Bohemia, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes:  Arthur Conan Doyle What is the distinction between seeing and observing? The term ‘seeing’ suggests a passive process, whereas observation clearly requires something additional; the attention to a particular detail or details within the visual scene, the extraction…

Read More