Thursday, June 21, 2012

My Mind Is Like A Circus: Music and the Brain: Depression and Creativity Sym...

My Mind Is Like A Circus: Music and the Brain: Depression and Creativity Sym...: "Uploaded by LibraryOfCongress on Jul 30, 2009 Kay Redfield Jamison, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and co-director of t..."

Cicada News

Cicada invasion overwhelms predators
5 July 2007
by Christina Zdanowicz
Cosmos Online

A remarkable plague of cicadas has been unleashed on Chicago. The insects emerge briefly once every 17 years and can reach densities of 1.5 million an acre.

Magicicada cicadas are 2.5 to 3 centimetres long. Some see their emergence as a nuisance, but they pose no threat to people.

RAKING THOUSANDS OF SQUIRMING cicadas from beneath an old ash tree in our yard, I watched my father ditch his rake for a snow shovel. He scooped hordes of the earthy-smelling insects and their vacant shells into a nearby bin, but froze when he heard me scream. My five-year-old self was terrified, because a cicada had plummeted from the tree and hit me square on the head.

Now, 17 years later, the brood of insects is back again in my home town – Glenview, near Chicago in the U.S. – but this time I'm more fascinated than frightened.

The deafening chirps of males and the clicking wings of females in the trees are choking out the sound of nature all over again. At densities of up to 150 to 200 cicadas per square metre – or 1.5 million individuals an acre – these crunchy black insects with orange wings and red eyes, provide a feeding bonanza for birds and other predators.

These countless insects burst out of their underground slumbers with one mission in mind: to mate.

Timing it just right, three species of Magicicada cicadas have been invading the greater Chicago area over the last month. They are all part of the same brood, the Northern Illinois Brood (or Brood XIII according to naming convention), and they began popping out of the soil when it reached 17.8°C in late May.

More questions than answers

While other cicadas are found worldwide from Europe to Australia, these periodical cicadas – which emerge every 17 or 13 years depending on the brood – are endemic to the east of the U.S., says biologist Gene Kritsky of the College of Mount Saint Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio. Out of the 3,000 known cicada species, only seven engage in this unusual periodicity.

Though they resemble locusts in appearance and swarming behaviour, they are more closely related to aphids.

Periodical cicadas have intrigued scientists for hundreds of years, and we still understand little about them. "Why 17 years? Why not overlapping broods? Why don't they all come out the same year throughout the entire U.S.?" queries Phil Nixon, an entomologist at the University of Illinois in Urbana. "All of these things we don't know."

We do know from DNA evidence that these unusual cicadas have been around since at least prior to the last Ice Age, 10,000 years ago. The top theory as to why they evolved their unusual 17-years dormancy is to evade predators.

"It seems to be an evolutionary trait that allows them to come out in enormous quantities, in a big flush all at once, and overwhelm predators," says biologist and curator Doug Taron, of the Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago. "Individual cicadas may get picked off – and in fact, are preyed upon very heavily – but by coming out in a big flush like this, the species manages to reproduce successfully and avoid having much in the way of specialized predators that prey on them exclusively."

So many cicadas have covered the streets of Chicago, it's difficult to avoid walking on them (Picture: Christina Zdanowicz).

Chirping morsels

The cicadas do end up on the menu for many animals, from squirrels to ducks, which can be spotted gorging themselves on the chirping morsels. However, the periodical cicada's lifecycle is so long that it tends to confuse its predators.

The lifecycle is "long enough that there is no predator of them that has a similar cycle, so it totally takes their predators off guard", agrees Nixon.

The insects make little attempt to move out the reach of predators or humans. "Crunch, crunch, crunch" has been a typical sound heard across Brood XIII's territory, with suburban Chicagoans smashing cicadas as they walk or jog along streets in heavily-infested areas. While these periodical cicadas are picked off and smashed by shoes, their counterpart, the annual cicada, wouldn't dare to be so easy-going around predators. Annual cicadas, also called dog-day cicadas, make a fervent effort to avoid being eating, says Nixon.

Male periodical cicadas also tend to form mass 'singing' groups in trees during the day, thus further attracting predators. "Whereas the annual cicadas sing at night when their main predators, birds, can't find them very easily," he adds.

"When you approach, they are very watchful and will walk around the twig or branch so that they are on the opposite side of you. They're much more secretive, much more furtive," says Nixon.

Birth of a brood

A platoon of entomologists has been using this most recent emergence to learn more about the screeching insects. Kritsky, who has studied periodical cicadas for over three decades, focuses on studying the evolution of broods and how one brood gives rise to another.

He says that one of his team's most exciting contributions to the field was when they successfully predicted that one brood – Brood X, or the Great Eastern Brood, which emerges across 10 states – would emerge after just 13 years in 2000, four years earlier than usual.

Kritsky already has some clues as to why a brood might appear several years early, and he used them to make his prediction.

"Right now the prevailing hypothesis is that they come out four years early to get out of cycle with their fungal disease," he says. That specialised fungus, known as Massospora, takes over the cicada's abdomen, ultimately causing it to fall off.

Hunkering down

If enough cicadas break the cycle early, and at the same time, then they might breed and form a whole new brood with a shifted 17-year cycle. "They might be joined by additional accelerating cicadas from that lagging brood, increasing the population… after six generations, or 102 years, you could have a very large, well-established brood of cicadas created," he says.

"We're now waiting to see if Brood X switches back to 17 years, like we expect," he says. "Then, in Cincinnati we'll have the first evidence of a self-reproducing new brood of periodical cicadas."

In part, Kritsky follows the broods by mapping out trees, noting ones that had not been planted when cicadas last emerged and looking for evidence of new eggs laid in it.

When a female cicada lays her eggs, she slits open twigs and inserts creamy-coloured, spindle-shaped eggs into the wood. These eggs hatch one or two weeks later and the nymphs eventually tumble down to the ground. Here they tunnel down, look for a root, grip on and start feeding.

These cicada nymphs survive the intervening 17 years by hunkering down and feeding on sap, only switching roots a few times during that duration, said Nixon.

When their time is up, they moult and break through the surface of the soil, ready to mate and start the cycle over again. At this point they use soil temperature to gauge when to emerge. This would appear to make them a useful species to measure the biological effects of climate change.

Our reporter captures the cicadas on video (Credit: Christina Zdanowicz).

Climate indicators

Ecologists all over the world – from those studying the fruiting time of mushrooms in the U.K. to butterfly life cycles in Switzerland – are starting to record the effects of global warming pushing back the seasons. But the effects don't seem to have hit the cicadas just yet, says Taron.

"However, I would expect cicadas to be influenced by climate change, at least eventually," he says. "You can envision a scenario where as the climate heats up the soil, it's going to hit the temperature that triggers emergence earlier and earlier in the year."

With the cicada season almost over – and little chance of the spectacular chaos returning for another 17 years – the biologists are already looking back on the last month wistfully.

"To me personally this is one of the greatest phenomena in nature… and one that we don't get to see terribly often," says Taron, while admitting he himself doesn't have to deal with battalions of cicadas trying to invade his house.

The next brood to emerge is the Great Southern Brood (Brood XIX), which will appear en masse, from the Midwest of the U.S. to the states of Maryland and Virginia, in 2011.

Christina is a former member of the Cosmos team and a freelance science writer in Glenview, Illinois in the USA.

More information

Periodical cicadas - Wikipedia

Cicada invasion overwhelms predators
Magicicada cicadas are 2.5 to 3 centimetres long. Some see their emergence as a nuisance, but they pose no threat to people.
Credit: Christina Zdanowicz


LSD Karger Gazette No 71> Swiss Pioneers in Science and Medicine

Karger Gazette No 71> Swiss Pioneers in Science and Medicine

Testing the Acid:
The Unlikely Birth of LSD

Albert Hofmann

The chance discovery of LSD's psychotropic effects unleashed a controversy that continues to this day.

D. Paterson

In northwestern Switzerland, where the river Rhine turns right to begin the important business of separating France from Germany, sits the city of Basel. The peaked roofs and church spires of its old town center are an unlikely backdrop for the birth of one of the most controversial drugs of the 20th century, but just beyond the medieval cathedral and city hall stand the chimneys and office blocks of the city's globally important pharmaceutical industry. It was in one of these buildings in 1938 that the chemist Albert Hofmann first synthesized a compound called lysergic acid diethylamide, a compound that would come to be known as LSD.

In the 1930s Hofmann was working for the pharmaceutical division of Sandoz (now part of Novartis), which was investigating the ingredients of traditional remedies to isolate and synthesize their active components. Hofmann was looking at the fungus ergot of rye (Claviceps purpurea), which had been used to induce childbirth since the 16th century. Ergot's alkaloids, which were based around a lysergic acid core, were known to have physiological activity, so Hofmann began synthesizing lysergic acid derivatives. In 1938 he synthesized his 25th lysergic acid amine - in German called Lysergsäure-diäthylamid-25, or LSD-25. From its structure Hofmann thought it might have activity as a circulatory respiratory stimulant, but Sandoz's pharmacologists found nothing remarkable and so LSD-25 was quietly filed away.

But it was not forgotten. Hofmann had what he termed a 'peculiar presentiment' and, in 1943, on a hunch that LSD-25 could have secrets it did not yield on first inspection, he decided to take another look.

Ergot of rye: © Novartis Company Archives.

Bicycle Day

Hofmann returned to LSD-25 in the hope of finding some physiological property that could hint at a medicinal use for the drug. What he found was one of the most powerful psychoactive drugs ever created by man - and he found out firsthand. During his second synthesis of LSD-25, a small amount of it somehow came into contact with his skin, and Albert Hofmann became the first person in history to go on an acid trip. He quickly entered a dreamlike state, which he described as 'an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors.'

After he had recovered his senses, Hofmann realized that LSD-25 had strange and powerful properties. Fascinated by his experience, three days later he began what he thought would be a controlled LSD experiment on himself. Unaware of the drug's extreme potency, Hofmann swallowed 0.25 mg of LSD, a huge overdose by today's standards, and sat down to record his experiences in his laboratory journal. This attempt at scientific rigor was wildly optimistic: Hofmann wrote only a few words before being overwhelmed by the effects of the drug. He became anxious, started experiencing paralysis and began seeing things. Hofmann's presumably alarmed lab assistant then had the unenviable task of getting his delirious boss home on a bicycle (wartime petrol rationing precluding the use of infinitely more practical forms of motorized transport).

Once home, the turmoil in Hofmann's head intensified, and he experienced a succession of delusions that ranged from acute irrational fears to rather pleasant tableaus of colorful images. Remarkably, a doctor could find nothing physically amiss, except Hofmann's by then extremely dilated pupils. Even more incredibly, when Hofmann awoke the next morning, he felt fine and could remember everything.

Albert Hofmann showing a model of the molecule LSD (ca. 1950). Courtesy of 

 Norvartis Company Archives.

Psychedelic Dream

Sandoz quickly realized that such a drug could have therapeutic potential in psychiatry and soon made LSD available to clinical researchers. From today's standpoint, in a world where governments speak of LSD in the same breath as heroin, it seems remarkable that it was first greeted by the mental health community as a potential therapy or useful research tool.

Psychiatrists saw in it the potential to bring about a 'model psychosis' in healthy patients that could be used to study schizophrenia, while psychoanalysts became interested in its apparent ability to give insights into a person's unconscious.

During the 1950s several hundred research articles on LSD appeared in the medical literature, most of them positive and reporting few ill effects. Some research groups even saw startlingly strong results in using LSD to treat alcoholism.

However, this period in the sun would not last long. Lacking today's strict controls on clinical trials, LSD soon found its way out of the research setting and into recreational use, first among artists and intellectuals - notably Brave New World author Aldous Huxley, a personal friend of Hofmann - and then on university campuses. By the 1960s a thriving black market in LSD had sprung up and newspapers began running lurid stories of mayhem wrought during uncontrolled LSD binges. By the middle of the decade Sandoz had ended production of the drug and, in 1966, the death-knell for legitimate LSD use was sounded when the USA, UK, Netherlands, France and Canada banned it.

When Hofmann discovered LSD's properties he had hoped it would find use as a therapy. He was also interested in its ability to induce a transcendental state and was open to the possibility of using it to gain new perspectives on the world. But Hofmann never thought LSD would become popular as a party drug and he frowned upon what he termed this 'profane application'. Speaking in 1993 at a symposium to mark the 50th anniversary of LSD, he said: 'What I never would have expected for the future of LSD was that it would ever find application as a pleasure drug on a large scale, considering the demonic, terrifying effects I had also experienced in my first self-experiment.'

Throughout his life Hofmann maintained an interest in the powerful effects of psychoactive drugs, particularly those used in ancient cultures. He became interested in the sacred drugs of pre-Columbian Mexico and found both the 'magic' mushroom teonanacatl and ololiuqui, the Aztec name for seeds from the morning glory plant family, contained compounds structurally similar to LSD.

Flashback to the Future

Although LSD has now been in the scientific wilderness for more than 40 years, Hofmann lived to see the first tentative signs of a government re-think before his death at the age of 102. Organizations such as the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies in the USA and the Beckley Foundation in the UK pressure governments to alter their outright bans on LSD and allow its use in medicinal research. In the last few years they have seen their first successes.

Amanda Feilding, Lady Neidpath, who is director of the Beckley Foundation, says: 'I visited Albert Hofmann when he was 99 and promised him that for his 100th birthday I would give him a present worthy of such an occasion: approval for the first scientific research on LSD using human subjects.'

The foundation did not quite make that date, but in 2007 it, together with the University of California Berkeley, received the go-ahead to start limited LSD research. The Beckley Foundation is currently supporting two studies, one in the USA looking at the effect of LSD on brain connectivity and creativity, and one in Switzerland looking at the use of LSD to ease anxiety among the terminally ill.

Among the aims of the foundation are the re-establishment of LSD as a tool for exploring consciousness and as a possible treatment for conditions such as cluster headaches. Lady Neidpath adds: 'Most medical practitioners still view LSD with suspicion, but there seems to be a stirring of interest in some quarters.'

Further Reading

Engel G, Herrling P (eds): Exploring the Frontiers: in Celebration of Albert Hofmann's 100th Birthday. Basel, Schwabe, 2006.

Hofmann A: LSD: My Problem Child. Santa Cruz, MAPS, 2005.

Pletscher A, Ladewig D (eds): 50 Years of LSD: Current Status and Perspectives of Hallucinogens. New York, Parthenon, 1994.

David Paterson is an editor of the Karger Gazette

© 2010, S. Karger AG, Basel. All rights reserved.

Simon Baron-Cohen talks empathy, evil and justice at the Royal Institution | Carole Jahme | Science |

Simon Baron-Cohen talks empathy, evil and justice at the Royal Institution | Carole Jahme | Science |

Simon Baron-Cohen talks empathy, evil and justice at the Royal Institution

Baron-Cohen spoke at the RI last week about his theory that 'empathic erosion' is behind human cruelty. Carole Jahme asked him about the implications for the caring professions and criminal justice
nurse with elderly woman
Baron-Cohen advocates empathy screening for anyone who wants to work in the caring professions. Photograph: Burger/Phanie/Rex Features
The Royal Institution of Great Britain's very first psychology lecture was delivered by the clergyman and scientist John Barlow in 1843. Barlow was committed to the humane management of people with psychological disorders: the title of his lecture was "On Man's Powers of Controlling or Preventing the Manifestation of Insanity in Himself".
Jump forward 168 years and Simon Baron-Cohen, the most recent psychologist to lecture at the RI, is similarly committed to the humane treatment of those exhibiting maladaptive behaviour. In many ways, his new research builds upon Barlow's early work.
Baron-Cohen, whose book Zero Degrees of Empathy has just been published, wants to raise awareness of the human empathic system and the devastating consequences when it malfunctions. He wants society to progress from condemning people as evil and instead understand why they acted without due concern for the pain they would cause.
It was a full house and with the RI's 19th century clock reliably ticking, and its president His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent in attendance, the evening's lecture was introduced by Claudia Hammond (presenter of the BBC Radio 4 show All in the Mind).
I was curious to see how accepting the public would be of Baron-Cohen's new rubric of an empathic spectrum, where some people score zero and this extreme "empathic erosion" (in all its guises) increases the likelihood that they will commit acts of cruelty, murder or genocide. As hormones, brain structure and genes are all implicated there is an inescapably biologically deterministic element to Baron-Cohen's research.
"Your free will may not be 'free' but determined," said Baron-Cohen. The general public often respond with hostile, knee jerk responses to statements like that, so I expected someone to challenge this assertion that we are programmed animals. But the RI audience (many clasping box-fresh copies of his book ready for signing) were receptive to his nature-and-nurture discourse on the potential for evil.
Baron-Cohen led the audience through his research, highlighting controversial sex differences and group differences. (He possesses a voice so melodic and soothing that His Royal Highness nodded off, though to be fair, he may have been cogitating with his eyes shut).
In a series of slides he explained the relevance of hormones (testosterone in particular); the brain's empathy circuit (amygdala, anterior cingulate cortex and ventral striatum in particular); genes (CYPIIBI, WFSI, NTRKI and GABRB3 being the first four genes for empathy that have been located); behaviour (systemising versus empathising and their extremes); and environmental influences (Bowlby's theory of attachment being of immense significance here).
Empathy is a primal ability that evolved long before our ancestors developed spoken language. By focusing on empathy as the foundation of virtuous behaviour and acknowledging its absence or erosion as a fuel for human vices, Baron-Cohen has unified the whole of human psychological behaviour. And by teasing apart and measuring the biological components and environmental factors that contribute to how much or how little empathy an individual possesses, this research clarifies our understanding of human nature.
Baron-Cohen concluded his lecture by emphasising the importance of preserving empathy and using empathy to improve our lives and, as he himself commented, he did so, "At the risk of sounding aspirational".
Zero Degrees of Empathy forms an apex with Frans De Waal's research on the evolution of empathy, described in The Age of Empathy, and with Jeremy Rifkin's historical account of empathy, coalesced in The Empathic Civilisation. Despite have taken separate research paths, their work has led them to the same place where they now stand in agreement that once empathy has been recognised as a cooperative force that can heal (even on a global scale), equality between people and between nations becomes possible.

The health care system

How a society treats its most vulnerable and its most dangerous is an indication of how civilised it is.
Earlier this year the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman highlighted the abuse suffered by the elderly in care. But in fact none of the UK's most vulnerable groups, such as children in care, are receiving the protection they deserve. Not enough empathy is shown and too few empathic people are employed to care.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is pushing for change in the academic training of nurses. From 2013 training will consist of a degree programme, where maths and science at GCSE and a science at A-level with 260 UCAS points, will become compulsory at some universities. But Baron-Cohen's work has shown that some people with the systemising ability required for academic success have this strength at the expense of empathising.
Affective empathy is required to keep patients comfortable, especially patients unable to articulate their own needs, such as people with brain damage. A possible result of the forthcoming NMC changes could see the nursing profession less caring, as they will be employing people who can correctly answer textbook questions in a class room, instead of employing people who can intuitively respond to a patient's individual needs.
I asked Baron-Cohen whether it would be a good idea to test empathy levels before someone is employed in any of the caring professions.
There should be a screening process at an early stage, before the interview. But this cannot replace face-to-face interviews – some people may consider themselves empathetic when they are not and award themselves a higher score on the questionnaire than they should have."
Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, told me:
"Nurses need a balance between theory and practice. In addition to the standard academic entry requirement it would be useful to assess empathetic ability and to spend time on our Helpline and listen to the concerns of patients and relatives when they have a husband/wife in hospital."
The general communication skills of nurses are assessed by the NHS, but empathy per se is not. Without such tests, systemisers can fake empathy to pass interviews but may go on to unwittingly endanger the lives of those in their care.
Social work is another profession that needs empathic insight – to anticipate, read between the lines and correctly assess the needs of vulnerable people. But for now social services in the UK do not measure the empathic ability of applicants.

Criminal justice system

The psychiatric Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is used internationally. Baron-Cohen would like the updated version (due for publication in 2012) to include his paradigm of empathic disorders. Did he think this would result in fewer people being criminalised and more therapeutic centres to treat them?

"Yes, I think therapeutic centres could increase – we are frequently too quick to condemn people. Limits are required by society and detention is necessary, but I want to open the debate on individuals low in empathy. I am aware of a programme of music therapy being used at present with men in jail, some of these people are themselves victims and this therapy has positive results. Those held within the criminal justice system must be accorded dignity."
Within six years of John Barlow's lecture at the Royal Institution his research had helped to inject compassion and understanding into early Victorian thinking. Barlow wrote that, "kind and rational treatment", was being applied to those suffering psychological abnormalities, "instead of the chains and whips of former times".
The wounds from those chains and whips can still be felt. I wonder how long it will take for Baron-Cohen's research Simon Baron-Cohen

Simon BaronCohen


Male vs female brains

Skip Navigation Links.

Vive le difference!
-- French saying
  Simon Baron-Cohen's recent book The Essential Difference: Men, Women and the Extreme Male Brain proposes that "The female brain is predominantly hard-wired for empathy. The male brain is predominantly hard-wired for understanding and building systems."
The book contains a couple of tests that calculate your "empathy quotient" and your "systemizing quotient". There is also a test that measures your "autism quotient", and a fascinating test that measures how good you are at discerning someone's mood from their eyes.
Here are online versions of the tests:

Doing all four tests will probably take around 30 minutes. When you get your scores, there is a bit more explanation of typical ranges for men and women. Don't take these tests too seriously - Baron-Cohen himself says in his book that the 'typical' results are only averages, and many men and women differ in their scores.
View the results so far. (Please be patient with this link - there are over 150,000 responses so far so it takes a few seconds to prepare the graphs of the results.)

General information

Department of Experimental Psychology: Professor Simon Baron-Cohen

Department of Experimental Psychology: Professor Simon Baron-Cohen


Professor Simon Baron-Cohen

Director, Autism Research Centre (ARC)
Professor of Developmental Psychopathology
Fellow, Trinity College

Research interests: Autism, Asperger Syndrome, sex differences and empathy.
I work at the ARC where we have 3 major programs: (1) cognitive neuroscience into the causes of autism spectrum conditions (ASCs); (2) diagnosis, screening and epidemiology of ASCs; and (3) clinical/intervention research into what helps individuals on the autistic spectrum. The first program includes genetic, endocrine, fMRI, cognitive (including perceptual) and behavioural studies. The second program includes the evaluation of screening checklists at different points across the lifespan, from toddler screens (the CHAT) to primary school screens (the CAST) and adult screens (the AQ). The third program includes treatment studies and special educational methods. For more details, see
Some sample publications from the last 5 years:
Baron-Cohen, S, Ring, H, Wheelwright, S, Bullmore, E, Brammer, M, Simmons, A, & Williams, S, (1999) Social intelligence in the normal and autistic brain: an fMRI study. European Journal of Neuroscience, 11, 1891-1898.
Cox, A, Klein, K, Baird, G, Swettenham, J, Nightingale, N, Drew, A, & Baron-Cohen, S, (1999) Autism spectrum disorders at 20 and 42 months of age: stability of clinical and ADI-R diagnosis. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 40, 719-732.
Ring, H, Baron-Cohen, S, Williams, S, Wheelwright, S, Bullmore, E, Brammer, M, & Andrew, C, (1999) Cerebral correlates of preserved cognitive skills in autism. A functional MRI study of Embedded Figures Task performance. Brain, 122, 1305-1315.
Baird, G, Cox, A, Charman, T, Baron-Cohen, S, Swettenham, J, Wheelwright, S, & Drew, A, (2000) A screening instrument for autism at 18 months of age: A six year follow-up study. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 39, 694-702.
Baron-Cohen, S, Ring, H, Bullmore, E, Wheelwright, S, Ashwin, C, & Williams, S, (2000) The amygdala theory of autism. Neuroscience and Behavioural Reviews, 24, 355-364.
Baird, G, Charman, T, Cox, A, Baron-Cohen, S, Swettenham, J, Wheelwright, S, & Drew, A, (2001) Screening and surveillance for autism and pervasive developmental disorders. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 84, 468-475.
Adolphs, R, Baron-Cohen, S, & Tranel, D, (2002) Impaired Recognition of Social Emotions Following Amygdala Damage. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 14:8,1-11
Baron-Cohen, S, (2002) The extreme male brain theory of autism. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 6, 248-254.
Lutchmaya, S, Baron-Cohen, S, & Raggatt, P, (2002) Foetal testosterone and vocabulary size in 18 and 24 month old infants. Infant Behaviour and Development. 24(4), 418-424
Lutchmaya, S, Baron-Cohen, S, & Raggatt, P, (2002) Foetal testosterone and eye contact in 12-month-old infants. Infant Behaviour and Development, 25, 327-335
Baron-Cohen, S, Richler, J, Bisarya, D, Gurunathan, N, & Wheelwright, S, (2003), The Systemising Quotient (SQ): An investigation of adults with Asperger Syndrome or High Functioning Autism and normal sex differences. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Series B. Special issue on “Autism : Mind and Brain”, 358, 361-374
Shaw, P, Lawrence E, Baron-Cohen, S, David, A S, (2003) Role of the amgydala in social sensitivity. Annals NY Academy of Science, 985 508-510
Stone, V, Baron-Cohen, S, Young, A, Calder, A, & Keane, J, (2003) Acquired theory of mind impairments in individuals with bilateral amygdala lesions. Neuropsychologia, 41, 209-220
Baron-Cohen, S, & Wheelwright, S, (2004) The Empathy Quotient (EQ). An investigation of adults with Asperger Syndrome or High Functioning Autism, and normal sex differences. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 34, 163-175
Knickmeyer, R, Baron-Cohen, S, Hines, M, & Raggatt, P, (2004) Foetal testosterone, social relationships, and restricted interests in children. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry 45, 1-13
Lutchmaya, S, Baron-Cohen, S, Raggatt, P, & Manning, J T, (2004) Maternal 2nd to 4th digit ratios and foetal testosterone. Early Human Development, 77, 23-28
Lawrence, E J, Shaw, P, Baker, D, Baron-Cohen, S, & David, A S, (2004) Measuring Empathy – reliability and validity of the Empathy Quotient. Psychological Medicine, 34, 911-919
Lawson, J, Baron-Cohen, S, Wheelwright, S, (2004) Empathizing and systemizing in adults with and without Asperger Syndrome. Journal of Autism and Development Disorders, 34, 301-310

Simon Baron-Cohen - Wired 9.12: Take The AQ Test

Wired 9.12: Take The AQ Test

 Issue 9.12 | Dec 2001

Print, email, or fax
this article for free.
Take The AQ Test
Psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen and his colleagues at Cambridge's Autism Research Centre have created the Autism-Spectrum Quotient, or AQ, as a measure of the extent of autistic traits in adults. In the first major trial using the test, the average score in the control group was 16.4. Eighty percent of those diagnosed with autism or a related disorder scored 32 or higher. The test is not a means for making a diagnosis, however, and many who score above 32 and even meet the diagnostic criteria for mild autism or Asperger's report no difficulty functioning in their everyday lives.

Definitely agree Slightly agree Slightly disagree Definitely disagree
1 I prefer to do things with others rather than on my own.
2 I prefer to do things the same way over and over again.
3 If I try to imagine something, I find it very easy to create a picture in my mind.
4 I frequently get so strongly absorbed in one thing that I lose sight of other things.
5 I often notice small sounds when others do not.
6 I usually notice car number plates or similar strings of information.

Hot Tub Party?

This is a BIG toy! Kitten spins Watermelon


What is The Work?
"The Work is for those who are looking for something, who are not satisfied with what they have found in life, and who feel that there must be something else besides success or failure in life, besides what they have been taught at school and college and by their upbringing in general."

— G.I. Gurdjieff —

Uploaded by on Oct 8, 2009
A presentation on the teachings of G.I. Gurdjieff and the Fourth Way system of self-awareness and transformation of consciousness.

Additional material on these teachings can be found in the books:

"The Wisdom of the Fourth Way: Origins and Applications of a Perennial Teaching"
"The Fourth Way and Esoteric Christianity: An Introduction to the Teachings of G.I. Gurdjieff" which can be found here:
This introductory lecture examines key ideas, practices, and leading interpreters of these wisdom teachings which lead to practical change for those who undertake "The Work".
This is the full lecture running 14:40 minutes which was initially available as a three minute clip.


Standard YouTube License

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Voted Best Scottish Short Joke

A bloke walks into a Glasgow library and says to the prim librarian,

'Excuse me Miss, dey ye hiv ony books on suicide?'

To which she stops doing her tasks, looks at him over the top of her glasses and says,

'Fook off, ye'll no bring it back!'

Thursday, June 7, 2012

10. Introduction to Neuroscience I - YouTube

10. Introduction to Neuroscience I - YouTube

 ploaded by on Feb 1, 2011
(April 21, 2010) Nathan Woodling and Anthony Chung-Ming Ng give a broad overview of the field of neuroscience and how it relates to human biology. They discuss the different lobes of the brain and the cells within as well as neuropharmacology and re-uptake.

Stanford University

Stanford Department of Biology

Stanford University Channel on YouTube



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by StanfordUniversity on Feb 1, 2011

(April 23, 2010) Patrick House discusses memories and how they are formed. Dana Turker then lectures about the autonomic nervous system and its functions.

Stanford University

Stanford Department of Biology

Stanford University Channel on YouTube

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LICENSE: Creative Commons (Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works).

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High-quality MP4 Learn more