Weekend reading: brain sex; film studies; and awareness campaigns

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This weekend’s reading extends from the heart to the brain and takes us to the movies.  Happy reading!

An intriguing piece by NeuRa’s Professor George Paxinos AO dismisses the “fallacious cardiocentric theory of love”, placing love and sexual desire squarely in the brain.  Paxinos argues that Pythagoras’ student Alcmaeon and Hippocrates got it right; the Egyptians of the third millennium BC, and Plato and Aristotle, got it wrong; and the brain’s primary role in emotions is confirmed by today’s cardiologists and neuroscientists.  Professor Paxinos not only writes about the battle between cardiocentric and encephalocentric theories of the mind/psyche/emotions – he is renowned for his ground-breaking efforts to map the human brain in an MRI atlas.  Oh and Paxinos is also a novelist.

Depictions of mental health issues in contemporary film-making are the focus of an article in a recent issue of Pursuit (University of Melbourne) by filmmaker Thomas Gregory.  He laments that an “accurate and sensitive portrayal of mental health is often sacrificed to the demands of narrative tension”, citing as an example One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.  He says a different take on mental health can be seen in film festival favourite Milquetoast (Neal Engelbrecht, 2017, drama), Moving (Brodie Higgs, 2003, documentary) and Guilt Trip (Zara Guthrie, 1992, animation).  Milquetoast sounds intriguing – a man with OCD who must manage his condition after losing his medication – “a tale of hope, of a man determined not to let his illness be his downfall”, says Gregory.

Interesting piece from Helen Razer over at Crikey discussing new research which suggests awareness campaigns are often not only ineffective but can be counter-productive.   Rosella Room has earlier argued in What Colour is Schizophrenia? that psychotic disorders deserve a high-profile champion and awareness campaign to reduce stigma, boost funding, and lift understanding of these serious conditions.  But Razer makes some good points.  Perhaps we should hit the pause button and review that position?   What do you think?  Are awareness campaigns useful?

For earlier weekend reading postings, see:

Weekend reading: existentialism; nootropics; and sleep

Weekend reading: Suzi Q, psychosis and werewolves

Weekend reading: Insomnia, terrorism and computational psychiatry

Image Credit: Photo by Jess Watters on Unsplash

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