Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Swanson

The future of systems neuroscience

How does the brain work? It’s a question on a lot of people’s minds these days, especially with the launch of massive new research efforts like the American BRAIN Initiative and the European Human Brain Project.

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Pagan

Chemical warfare in terrestrial flatworms

Biologically-produced toxins include some of the most interesting substances in nature. As advanced as the chemical sciences are, nothing beats nature in terms of the wide variety of structures with specific biochemical properties.

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Evidence-based interventions in pediatric psychology

The field of pediatric psychology has been changing rapidly over the last decade with both researchers and practitioners working to keep up with the latest innovations. To address the latest evidence-based interventions and methodological improvements, the editors of the Journal of Pediatric Psychology and Clinical Practice in Pediatric Psychology decided to join efforts.

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Test your knowledge of neuroanatomical terminology

Neuroanatomical Terminology by Larry Swanson supplies the first global, historically documented, hierarchically organized human nervous system parts list. This defined vocabulary accurately and systematically describes every human nervous system structural feature [...]

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Forgiveness makes late-life sweeter

“Forgiveness,” does the word still exist in the vocabulary of modern-day individuals? Does this moral virtue guide people’s intentions, beliefs, and behaviors? Or has forgiveness died a silent death between the brick walls of centuries-old convents and monasteries? The word is steeped in religious traditions and is indeed central in several world religions and spiritual traditions. But is forgiveness relevant today, how so, and for whom?

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Does chronic occupational stress cause brain damage?

During the last decade, Western societies have been facing increasing reports about a new, work related phenomenon. It affects healthy, productive, and highly functional individuals typically working long hours for many years without a normal weekend recovery.

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What do rumors, diseases, and memes have in common?

Are you worried about catching the flu, or perhaps even Ebola? Just how worried should you be? Well, that depends on how fast a disease will spread over social and transportation networks, so it’s obviously important to obtain good estimates of the speed of disease transmission and to figure out good containment strategies to combat disease spread.

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Oxytocin and emotion recognition

Imagine you are in class and your friend has just made a fool of the teacher. How do you feel? Although this will depend on the personalities of those involved, you might well find yourself laughing along with your classmates at the teacher’s expense.

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Stress before birth

Stress seems to be everywhere we turn. Much of the daily news is stressful, whether it pertains to the recent Ebola outbreak in western Africa (and its subsequent entry into the United States), beheadings by the radical Islamic group called ISIS, or the economic doldrums that continue to plague much of the developed world.

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A taxonomy of kisses

Where kissing is concerned, there is an entire categorization of this most human of impulses that necessitates taking into account setting, relationship health, and the emotional context in which the kiss occurs. A relationship’s condition might be predicted and its trajectory timeline plotted by observing and understanding how the couple kiss. For instance, viewed through the lens of a couple’s dynamic, a peck on the cheek can convey cold, hard rejection or simply signify that a loving couple are pressed for time.

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Five lessons from extreme places

Throughout history, some people have chosen to take huge risks. What can we learn from their experiences? Extreme activities, such as polar exploration, deep-sea diving, mountaineering, space faring, and long-distance sailing, create extraordinary physical and psychological demands. The physical risks, such as freezing, drowning, suffocating or starving, are usually obvious. But the psychological pressures are what make extreme environments truly daunting.

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An inside look at music therapy

We have all experienced the effect music can have on our emotions and state of mind. We have felt our spirit lift when a happy song comes on the radio, or a pinging sense of nostalgia when we hear the songs of our childhood. While this link between music and emotion has long been a part of human life, only in recent decades have we had the technology and foundational knowledge to understand music’s effect on our brains in concrete terms.

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Brain journal

Neurology and psychiatry in Babylon

How rapidly does medical knowledge advance? Very quickly if you read modern newspapers, but rather slowly if you study history. Nowhere is this more true than in the fields of neurology and psychiatry. It was believed that studies of common disorders of the nervous system began with Greco-Roman Medicine, for example, epilepsy, “The sacred disease” (Hippocrates) or “melancholia”, now called depression.

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Trauma and emotional healing

Author of the book Night, Elie Wiesel, in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech stated, “I remember: it happened yesterday, or eternities ago” (1986, p. 118). This quote holds true for many who have survived terrible tragedies or traumatic events in their lives. Often, survivorship and healing after trauma are long and personalized journeys, individualized paths of learning how to live a meaningful life after surviving trauma or tragedy.

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What exactly is intelligence?

Ask anybody that question and you will probably get a different answer every time. Most would argue that intelligence is limited to mankind and give examples of brainy people like Einstein or Newton. Others might identify it as being clever, good in exams or being smart, having a high IQ. But was Einstein particularly intelligent or Newton?

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Plato and contemporary bioethics

Since its advent in the early 1970s, bioethics has exploded, with practitioners’ thinking expressed not only in still-expanding scholarly venues but also in the gamut of popular media. Not surprisingly, bioethicists’ disputes are often linked with technological advances of relatively recent vintage, including organ transplantation and artificial-reproductive measures like preimplantation genetic diagnosis and prenatal genetic testing.

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