Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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Is CBD better than THC?: exploring compounds in marijuana

By Gary Wenk
Marijuana is the leafy material from Cannabis indica plant that is generally smoked. By weight, it typically contains 2%-5% delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive agent. However the plant also contains about fifty other cannabinoid-based compounds, including cannabidiol (CBD).

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The 4/20 update

By Mitch Earleywine
A lot has changed this year in cannabis prohibition. Science and policy march on. Legendary legalization laws in Colorado and Washington have generated astounding news coverage. Maryland is the latest state to change policies. A look at these states can reveal a lot about the research on relevant topics, too.

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Trauma happens, so what can we do about it?

By Carolyn Lunsford Mears, Ph.D.
Fifteen years ago, 20 April 1999, it happened in my community… at my son’s school. Two heavily armed seniors launched a deadly attack on fellow students, teachers, and staff at Columbine High School in Jefferson County, Colorado.

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Identifying unexpected strengths in adolescents

By Johanna Slivinske
Think for a moment, back to when you were a teenager. What were you like? What did you enjoy doing? In what did you excel? The positive activities in which we partake in adolescence shape our adult lives. In my case, playing the clarinet in band and competing in extemporaneous speaking on the speech team molded me the most, and became my personal strengths.

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A conversation with Craig Panner, Associate Editorial Director of Medicine Books

Few fields develop as rapidly as medicine, with new breakthroughs in research, tools, and techniques happening everyday. This presents an interesting challenge for many medical publishers — trying to get the latest information to students, practitioners, and researchers as quickly and accurately as possible. So we are delighted to present a Q&A with Associate Editorial Director of Medicine Books, Craig Panner.

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What’s the secret to high scores on video games?

When playing video games, do you play better with the sound on or off? Every gamer may have an opinion—but what has research shown? Some studies suggest that music and sound effects enhance performance. For instance, Tafalla (2007) found that male gamers scored almost twice as many points while playing the first-person shooter game DOOM with the sound on (chilling music, weaponfire, screams, and labored breathing) compared to those playing with the sound off.

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Parent practices: change to develop successful, motivated readers

By Jamie Zibulsky and Anne E. Cunningham
Being literate involves much more than the ability to sound out the words on a page, but acquiring that skill requires years of development and exposure to the world of words. And once children possess the ability to sound out words, read fluently, and comprehend the words on a page, they have limitless opportunities to learn about new concepts, places, and people.

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What is clinical reasoning?

By Lloyd A. Wells
It is easy to delineate what clinical decision making is not; it is not evidence-based medicine, it is not critical thinking, it is not eminence-based medicine, it is not one of many other of its many attributes, and it stands alone, with many contributions from all these fields. It is far more difficult to characterize what clinical reasoning is and very difficult to define.

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A conversation with Alberto Gallace

From Facebook’s purchase of Oculus VR Inc. to the latest medical developments, technology is driving new explorations of the perception, reality, and neuroscience. How do we perceive reality through the sense of touch? Alberto Gallace is a researcher in touch and multisensory integration at the University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy, and co-author of In touch with the future: The sense of touch from cognitive neuroscience to virtual reality. We spoke to him about touch, personal boundaries and being human.

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Pagán’s planarians: the extraordinary world of flatworms

The earth is filled with many types of worms, and the term “planarian” can represent a variety of worms within this diverse bunch of organisms. The slideshow below highlights fun facts about planarians from Oné Pagán’s book, The First Brain: The Neuroscience of Planarians, and provides a glimpse of why scientists like Pagán choose to study these fascinating creatures.

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A question of consciousness

By Susan Blackmore
The problem of consciousness is real, deep and confronts us any time we care to look. Ask yourself this question ‘Am I conscious now?’ and you will reply ‘Yes’. Then, I suggest, you are lured into delusion – the delusion that you are conscious all the time, even when you are not asking about it.

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Dementia on the beach

By Cretien van Campen
If you think it makes little sense to take persons with dementia to the beach, it will surprise you that a nursing home in Amsterdam has built a Beach room. In this room, residents can enjoy the feeling of sitting in the sun with their bare feet in the sand. The room is designed to improve the well-being of these residents. The garden room at the centre of the home has recently been converted into a true ‘beach room’, complete with sand and a ‘sun’ which can be adjusted in intensity and heat output.

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Dopamine, Twitter, and the bilingual brain

Before I wrote my last blog entry, I got a Twitter account to start tracking reactions to that entry. I was surprised to see that people that I had never met favorited my post. Some even retweeted it.

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Expressing ourselves about expressiveness in music

Picture the scene. You’re sitting in a box at the Royal Albert Hall, or the Vienna Musikverein. You have purchased tickets to hear Beethoven’s Ninth symphony performed by an internationally renowned orchestra, and they are playing it in a way that sounds wonderful. But what makes this such a powerful performance?

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Plausible fictions and irrational coherence

By Joseph Harris
One of the most intriguing developments in recent psychology, I feel, has been the recognition of the role played by irrationality in human thought. Recent works by Richard Wiseman, Dan Ariely, Daniel Kahneman, and others have highlighted the irrationality that can inform and shape our judgements, decision-making, and thought more generally. But, as the title of Ariely’s book Predictably Irrational reminds us, our ‘irrationality’ is not necessarily random for all that.

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From art to autism: a Q&A with Uta Frith

Dame Uta Frith was the neuroscientist who first recognised autism as a condition of the brain rather than the result of cold parenting. Here she takes Lance Workman on a journey through her collection of memories.

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