Writing and Media

I regularly write for the mainstream media, press and blogs about psychology, neuroscience and mental health.

Most regularly, I write for Mind Hacks – a psychology and neuroscience blog that myself and cognitive scientist Tom Stafford write for.

You can find me on Twitter as @vaughanbell where pretty much everything new I write gets posted, along with a running selection of mind and brain news and links.

Below is an archive of past writing.

The Atlantic
* The Mystery of Urban Psychosis
* The Twilight State Between Wakefulness and Sleep

The Observer
* Neuroscience and the premature death of the soul
* Theresa May’s futile war on psychoactive drugs
* Behavioural science in intelligence service operations
* The glitter of neuromarketing reveals no gold
* Childhood hallucinations are surprisingly common – but why?
* Let’s not make a trauma out of a crisis
* Prenatal blueprints give an early glimpse of a baby’s developing brain
* Isolation and hallucinations: the mental health challenges faced by astronauts
* How corpse brain scans help the living
* From photography to supercomputers: how we see ourselves in our inventions
* The mysteries of ‘lucid’ dreaming
* How to win wars by influencing people’s behaviour
* When intensive care is just too intense
* Perceiving meaning amid the chaos of everyday life
* From the Prozac era to the rise of the circuit based human
* You needn’t be wrong to be called delusional
* Why the war on drugs has been made redundant
* Disaster counselling is a disaster zone
* Genetic studies are breaking down the borders of psychiatric diagnosis
* Our brains, and how they’re not as simple as we think
* The unsexy truth about dopamine
* Are video games really the villains in our violent age?
* Why grief and grieving is not universal
* Psychological bias in forensic DNA testing
* Simulating dementia in the brain
* The rebirth of hypnosis
* The trouble with brain scans
* A brief guide to neuroscience
* The truth about lie detectors

* The Addiction Habit: How addiction has become the pop culture disorder of choice for the 21st century.
* Don’t Touch That Dial!: A history of media technology scares, from the printing press to Facebook.
* Jesus, Jesus, Jesus: What happened when three men who thought they were Jesus lived together in a mental hospital.
* Crazy Talk: We’re too quick to use “mental illness” as an explanation for violence.
* Prophecy Fail: What happens to a doomsday cult when the world doesn’t end?

Discover Magazine: The Crux
* Life During Wartime: Can Mental Illness Be a Rational Response?
* What’s Causing Cheerleader Hysteria? Signs of a Struggle Within the Brain
* Anesthesia May Leave Patients Conscious—and Finally Show Consciousness in the Brain
* What Is the “Bible of Psychiatry” Supposed to Do? The Peculiar Challenges of an Uncertain Science

Wired UK Magazine
* Neurosecurity
* Networked drugs (scroll down)
* MRI’s Fatal Attraction
* Mind controller: What is the ‘burundanga’ drug?
* YouTube Drug Monitoring
* Illness Prestige
* Ambient Thought Fusion

ABC Radio National
* All in the Mind: The plant that steals your free will? Co-producer and reporter on this documentary on the science and culture of the psychoactive plant brugmansia and the drug ‘burundanga’ – rumoured to remove free will.

The Independent
* As part of their ‘If I were Prime Minister’ series: I’d make sure we were more gentle with crisis care in mental health

The Guardian
* Hypnosis in the lab

Scientific American
* Ghost Stories: Visits from the Deceased: An article about grief hallucinations.

The Times
* Is screen culture damaging our children’s brains? [pdf] – debate with Susan Greenfield.

Beyond Boundaries column
Published in The Psychologist

* Sociologists must think we’re wusses
* Following suicide
* The mind is a guess
* Reaction formation in New York City
* Swimming in the tides of war
* Murder is social
* Social engineering Bogotá’s traffic
* Psychology in Argentina
* Clinical psychology has a man problem
* Nature vs nurture is a lie
* Fringe drinking culture
* Lost in translation
* All psychology is social

30 Second Psychology
Contributor to 30 Second Psychology edited by Christian Jarrett and published by Icon Books in June 2011.

My contributions to the book are:
* Sperry’s Split Brains
* Seligman’s Prepared Learning
* Charcot’s Hysteria
* Rosenhan’s Insane Places
* Kapur’s Aberrant Salience
* Maslow’s Humanistic Psychology
* Beck’s Cognitive Therapy
* Extreme Male Brains

Mind Performance Hacks: Tips & Tools for Overclocking Your Brain
Contributor to Mind Performance Hacks a book by Ron Hale-Evans published by O’Reilly Books in February 2006.

My contributions to the book are:
* Know the Facts About Cognitive Enhancers [pdf]
* Overclock Your Brain [pdf]
* Overcome the Tip-of-the-Tongue Effect [pdf]
* Don’t Neglect The Obvious: Sleep, Nutrition, and Exercise [pdf]

Mind Hacks: Tips & Tools for Using Your Brain in the World
Contributor to Mind Hacks a book by Matt Webb and Tom Stafford, published by O’Reilly Books in December 2004.

My contributions to the book are:
* Detect the Effect of Cognitive Function on Cerebral Blood Flow [pdf]
* Detect Sounds on the Margins of Certainty [pdf]
* Mould Your Body Schema [pdf]
* Have an Out-of-Body Experience [pdf]
* Enter the Twilight Zone: the Hypnagogic State [pdf]

Openmind Magazine
Article on madness and revelation for Openmind magazine, September 2004.
* Is nothing sacred? [pdf]

BPS Research Digest
* Unusual experiences in everyday life
* What’s the most important psychology experiment that’s never been done…? Hiring private detectives to investigate paranoid delusions.

* Studio Charcot: An article about photography, ‘madness’ and ‘hysteria’ in the 19th century.
* Stüdyo Charcot: Turkish translation with fantastic illustrations.

Kuro5hin.org articles
kuro5hin was a collaborative peer-edited journalism site. It’s now become derelict.

* Simulating Psychosis II: Virtual Unreality
* Modern-day Lycanthropy
* Madness In Gotham
* Simulating Psychosis
* The Psychology and Neuroscience of Alien Abduction
* Koro: A Natural History of Penis Panics

Wikipedia.org entries
I spent a lot of time writing and developing psychopathology articles in the early days of Wikipedia, although sadly I have much less time to contribute these days. However, the articles I wrote or worked on are linked below, some now in better shape than others.

* Adolf Wölfli
* Amphetamine psychosis
* Anosognosia
* Antipsychotic
* Capgras Delusion (Capgras Syndrome)
* Cognitive neuropsychology
* Compulsive hoarding
* Cotard Delusion (Cotard Syndrome)
* Delirium
* Delusion
* Delusional Disorder
* Delusional Jealousy (Othello Syndrome)
* Delusional misidentification syndrome
* Delusional Parasitosis (Ekbom Syndrome)
* Erotomania (De Clerambault Syndrome)
* Eugene Bleuler
* Executive system
* Face perception
* Fregoli Delusion (Fregoli Syndrome)
* Folie à deux
* Hallucination
* James Tilly Matthews
* Jerusalem syndrome
* Jules Cotard also in Spanish
* Kurt Schneider
* Martha Mitchell Effect
* Neuropsychology
* Paranoia
* Phineas Gage
* Prosopagnosia
* Psychopathology
* Psychosis
* R. D. Laing
* Reduplicative paramnesia
* Schizophrenia
* Schizotypy
* Statistical parametric mapping
* Thomas Szasz
* W. H. R. Rivers also in Spanish