Our pick of the best psychology and neuroscience links from the past week:
One Death Too Many
Clinical neuropsychologist Vaughan Bell criticises the sensationalist media coverage of Robin Williams’ suicide. Addressing newspaper editors, Bell says: “you … have a personal and professional responsibility to ensure that you are not putting people at risk by your need to sell copy.”
The Science Behind Suicide Contagion
Margot Sanger-Katz for the NYT summarises the relevant science, but she also wonders if suicide reporting guidelines are out-of-date and unrealistic.
Image of the Week: Wiring of the Human Brain
From Wellcome Images and taken by Zeynep Saygin: “A bird’s-eye view of nerve fibres in a normal, healthy adult human brain.”
Malcolm Gladwell on Desert Island Discs
The pop psychology author was BBC Radio 4’s most recent cast-away (listen again on iPlayer).
Our Microbiome May Be Looking Out for Itself
Your body is full of bacteria that might be controlling your behaviour.
Why I Live in Mortal Dread of Public Speaking
Newly released TED talk by singer-songwriter Megan Washington.
Darwin’s Neuroscientist: Gerald M. Edelman, 1929–2014
Anil Seth pens an obituary to his former mentor, nobel laureate and “scientific great” who “quoted Woody Allen and Jascha Heifetz as readily as Linus Pauling and Ludwig Wittgenstein”.
The First Smile
“Why do laughter, smiles and tears look so similar?” asks Michael Graziano. “Perhaps because they all evolved from a single root.”
Society: Don’t Blame The Mothers
Contemporary research on epigenetics and the developmental origins of health and disease needs to be discussed and reported with care, argue Sarah S. Richardson and her colleagues.
A Sound You Can’t Unhear (and What It Says About Your Brain)
Audio illusions shows how our senses reflect a “mixture of the world out there and our own expectations.”