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- Feb 10 20172 minutes
Extinct Tasmanian Tiger Was Smarter Than We Thought
For the first time, scientists have scanned the brain of a long-extinct animal.
- Oct 17 20161 minute
How Mindfulness Can Save You Money
IF YOU PUT PEOPLE IN BRAIN SCANNERS and give them something delicious—say, wine or chocolate—the reward centers of their brains light up. In other words, it’s making them feel good. But if you promise them a delicious item in the future, there’s no r
- Sep 26 20161 minute
Why We Should Watch Our Internal Clocks
IN OUR RELENTLESS QUEST TO LIVE healthier, happier, more productive lives, we often overlook a powerful tool within us: our internal sense of timing. The human body is genetically designed to coordinate the “when” of almost all aspects of life—sleep,
- Sep 4 20165 minutes
Consciousness Is Made of Atoms, Too
In his first lecture on physics to freshmen and sophomores at the California Institute of Technology, in 1961-62, Richard Feynman said:If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence passed on to the nex
- Jan 5 20175 minutes
Pop Culture Is Having a Metaphysical Moment
The OA, Westworld, Stranger Things, and other recent works toy with the idea of multiple realities—and bring the thrill of new religion.
- Jan 16 20171 minute
Eva Amurri Martino Inside Her Traumatizing Postpartum Scare
PATRICK GOMEZ A few days after Thanksgiving, Eva Amurri Martino was awakened by the piercing scream of her infant son Major James. “Our night nurse fell asleep while holding [then-1-month-old] Major and dropped him, and he cracked his head on the ha
- Jan 15 201511 minutes
To Be More Creative, Cheer Up: The way to tap your inner Hemingway is not how you think.
I pour a cup of coffee, sharpen my pencil, and get ready to create. I’ve dusted off a half-conceived novel outline I abandoned three years ago, but this time I’m not waiting for my muse to intervene. Instead I hit the play button on the Creative Thin
- Dec 6 20164 minutes
Self-Control Is Just Empathy With Your Future Self
The same part of the brain that allows us to step into the shoes of others also helps us restrain ourselves.
- Aug 15 20163 minutes
Just Imagining a Workout Can Make You Stronger
I bet when you woke up this morning, even before you opened your eyes, you knew where all of your limbs were. You didn’t have to look at, or try moving them, to feel their presence. This is because you have the power of proprioception (it’s also some
- Dec 1 20167 minutes
Wazed And Confused
Are GPS apps messing with our brains?
- Dec 19 20164 minutes
My Battle With Depression
IN A NEW MEMOIR, THE SINGER DETAILS HER 2011 DESCENT INTO SUICIDAL DESPAIR AND THE LONG, HARD ROAD BACK TO HEALTH
- Sep 1 201610 minutes
The Bridge From Nowhere: How is it possible to get something from nothing?
The question of being is the darkest in all philosophy.” So concluded William James in thinking about that most basic of riddles: how did something come from nothing? The question infuriates, James realized, because it demands an explanation while de
- Aug 22 20167 minutes
When it comes to preventing cognitive decline, simple lifestyle changes are finally being borne out by science
- Nov 8 20163 minutes
You Can Have Emotions You Don’t Feel
What does it mean to have an emotion? It seems obvious that having one means feeling it. If you’re happy but don’t know it, in what sense could you actually be happy? Such reasoning seemed sound to William James. Conscious feeling, he thought, was p
- Jun 1 20161 minute
Meet the Designers Hoping to Treat ADHD and Alzheimer's with Gaming
These are games that kids and parents can all appreciate.
- Jan 27 20163 minutes
How Where You Are or What You’re Doing Alters Your Sense of Time
How we think of time can lead to some odd results. For example, imagine your co-worker says next Wednesday’s meeting has been moved forward two days. When is the meeting going to be held? Your response can be predicted by how you see your relationshi
- Jan 28 20168 minutes
How to Survive Solitary Confinement: An ex-convict on how to set your mind free.
With a sigh, Johnny Perez rises from his plastic chair, unfolds his lanky frame and extends his wingspan until the tips of his middle fingers graze the walls. “It was from here to here,” he says. “I know because I used to do this all the time.” Until
- Dec 16 20168 minutes
Psilocybin Reduces Anxiety In Cancer Patients
It’s too soon to be sure, but the effect of the drug could be permanent.
- May 5 201610 minutes
Learning Chess at 40: What I learned trying to keep up with my 4-year-old daughter at the royal game.
My 4-year-old daughter and I were deep into a game of checkers one day about three years ago when her eye drifted to a nearby table. There, a black and white board bristled with far more interesting figures, like horses and castles. “What’s that?” sh
- Jan 5 20174 minutes
What Sea Slugs Taught Us About Our Brain: Neuroscience:The simple nerve cells of sea creatures helped scientists fathom human memory.
When Leonid Moroz, a gregarious Russian-born neuroscientist and geneticist at the University of Florida, began studying ctenophores nearly a decade ago, he had a fairly simple goal in mind. He wanted to determine exactly where the blobby marine creat
- Sep 22 201611 minutes
For Kids, Learning Is Moving: Children’s brain development is fueled when they find their own way.
When Jon was born prematurely at 26 weeks, he weighed around two pounds and had trouble breathing on his own. For two months he lived in an incubator and eventually grew into a healthy baby and toddler. At age 4, he had two epileptic seizures. About
- Jan 28 20167 minutes
The Woman Who Got Lost at Home: A developmental disorder promises a new window onto the brain’s secrets.
They call him “Dr. WAI,” short for “Where Am I.” A well-educated 29-year-old man without any history of disease or trauma, it took him four tries to produce a semi-accurate map of the house he had lived in for 15 years.1 Another patient, Jennifer, fr
- Dec 9 20164 minutes
Profanity's Roots In Brain Chemistry? Damn Right
Swearing has its own home in our brains, separate from where we generate polite conversation.
- Oct 11 20166 minutes
You Can’t Upload Your “Self” Into Virtual Reality
In his 2003 book, Being No One, Thomas Metzinger contends there is no such thing as a “self.” Rather, the self is a kind of transparent information-processing system. “You don’t see it,” he writes. “But you see with it.” Metzinger has given a good am
- Aug 14 201414 minutes
An Atheist’s Guide to Spirituality: “I did not have to believe anything irrational about the universe.”
I once spent an afternoon on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, atop the mount where Jesus is believed to have preached his most famous sermon. It was an infernally hot day, and the sanctuary where I sat was crowded with Christian pilgrims
- Apr 21 201612 minutes
This Philosopher Helped Ensure There Was No Nobel for Relativity: Henri Bergson’s debate with Albert Einstein reached and swayed the 1921 Nobel committee.
On April 6, 1922, Einstein met a man he would never forget. He was one of the most celebrated philosophers of the century, widely known for espousing a theory of time that explained what clocks did not: memories, premonitions, expectations, and antic
- Nov 10 20169 minutes
How Your Brain Decides Without You: In a world full of ambiguity, we see what we want to see.
Princeton’s Palmer Field, 1951. An autumn classic matching the unbeaten Tigers, with star tailback Dick Kazmaier—a gifted passer, runner, and punter who would capture a record number of votes to win the Heisman Trophy—against rival Dartmouth. Princet
- Dec 7 20164 minutes
Beating Alzheimer’s With Brain Waves
In a completely new approach, scientists reduced a hallmark of the disease in mice by stimulating their neurons with flickering lights.
- Dec 1 201614 minutes
When Einstein Tilted at Windmills: The young physicist’s quest to prove the theories of Ernst Mach.
When they met, Einstein wasn’t Einstein yet. He was just Albert Einstein, a kid, about 17, with a dark cloud of teenage angst and a violin. Michele Besso was older, 23, but a kindred spirit. Growing up in Trieste, Italy he had shown an impressive kna
- Dec 1 20161 minute
Grateful for Generous Support
STAN BRODSKY, 71 Hillsboro, N.M.