(Released from behind the paywall – my piece from the Chronicle of Higher Education) The Neuroscience of Interrogation: Why Torture Doesn’t Work

Here is the piece I wrote for the Chronicle of Higher Education on the American Psychological Association’s Independent Review on its collusion in the programme of enhanced interrogation. I focus here on the broader context. My book, Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation is available on Amazon. deals with these and related issues in depth. It will be released in November, 2015.… Read More

Blurb for my new book with HUP – Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation

‘Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation’ can now be preordered from: Amazon (.com) Amazon (.co.uk) Harvard University Press Torture is banned because it is cruel and inhumane. But as Shane O’Mara writes in this account of the human brain under stress, torture should never be condoned because it does not work the way torturers assume it… Read More

Why you need lots of good quality sleep: Sleep loss affects work performance, ethics, memory and health

Sleep is hugely under-rated as a cognitive enhancer – proper sleep is a necessity Main health effects of sleep deprivation (See Wikipedia:Sleep deprivation). Model: Mikael Häggström. To discuss image, please see Template talk:Häggström diagrams (Photo credit: Wikipedia) for learning and memory, processes at the core of cognition. But sleep has lots more functions than enhancing cognition.… Read More

Sleep deprivation as the torture of choice in Koestler’s ‘Darkness at Noon’

[My book ‘Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation’ (Harvard UP) can be preordered from Amazon (.com) – more details at end of post] Orwell, in a 1944 essay on Koestler’s great novel of the show trials, “Darkness at Noon”, observes that the main protagonist, Rubashov “confesses because he cannot find in his own mind any reason for not doing… Read More

Evidence for cognitive-enhancing effects of modafinil and methylphenidate is surprisingly thin – perhaps because wakefulness-promotion and cognitive enhancement are confused

There is huge media and other interest in cognitive-enhancing drugs. A few minutes searching on the internet will uncover stories of students and others using modafinil and some other compounds in an effort to enhance their own cognitive function. The evidence for the cognitive-enhancing effects of these compounds is surprisingly thin, however, despite claims about… Read More