Review of Lithium: A Doctor, a Drug and a Breakthrough by US psychiatrist Walter A. Brown. A compelling chronicle of John Cade’s serendipitous discovery of the most effective medicine for treating bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic-depression.
Review of Eric Kandel’s The disordered mind. What unusual brains can tell us about ourselves. Weighing up Kandel’s attempt to biologize psychiatry.
Review of Michael Gazzaniga’s book From meat to mind: unraveling the mystery of how the brain makes the mind, a bold, yet not completely convincing explanation of the bond between mind and neurons.
Review of Beau Lotto’s book The Science of Seeing Differently. His take on perception in one sentence: ‘Our species has been so successful not in spite of our inability to see reality but because of it.’
Review of a study examining both ‘the voice within’ and verbal auditory hallucinations.
Obituary Oliver Sacks
Review of Anil Ananthaswamy’s book on the ‘maladies of the self’: The Man Who Wasn’t There: Investigations Into the Strange New Sciences of the Self’ (Dutton 2015)
Review of Michael Gazzaniga’s autobiography Tales from Both Sides of the Brain: A Life in Neuroscience, Ecco: 2015.
In this essay on stereotypes of autism in novels, films and real life, Douwe Draaisma argues that the account of the autistic experience in bestsellers like Rosie’s Project and The Curious Incident with the Dog in the Night-Time are a major force in shaping lay understandings of autism.
Review of Suzanne Corkin’s book on Henry M(olaison), Permanent Present Tense (2013), the most famous patient in brain science.
Mark Schluter, the main protagonist in Richard Powers’s The Echo Maker (2006), suffers from Capgras Syndrome, a disorder characterized by the patient’s delusional belief that his near ones are replaced by doubles. Draaisma argues that by introducing two doctors for Mark – the one, Hayes, a modern, experimentally oriented neurologist; the other, Weber, an old-school neurologist versed in case studies – Powers presents a persuasive clash between two scientific styles.
Ever since the movie Rain Man (1988), there is a proliferation of representations of autism in novels, TV-series and autobiographies. In the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Douwe Draaisma argues that it is of vital importance to scrutinize these representations and to check whether or not they are, in fact, misrepresenting autism. In quite a few cases, media representations of talent and special abilities can be said to have contributed to a harmful divergence between the general image of autism and the clinical reality of the autistic condition.
Review of Pat Thane (ed.), The Long History of Old Age (Thames and Hudson, 2005).
In both science and technology, metaphors direct the way we think, reason and hypothesize.
Illustrations played an important role in the articulation of Wundt’s experimental program. Focusing on the woodcuts of apparatus and experimental designs in the six editions of his Grundzüge der physiologischen Psychologie (published between 1873 and 1911), Sarah de Rijcke and Douwe Draaisma investigate the uses and functions of illustrations in the experimental culture of the physiological and psychological sciences.
Research on ‘the speed of thought’ in Wundt’s laboratory demanded extremely accurate time-measurements. Ruth Benschop and Douwe Draaisma detail how experimenters made deliberate efforts to bring themselves and their subjects under a regime of control and calibration similar to that which reigned over the experimental machinery.