MonkeyCounting3 April 17

Numbers in the brain

If you look around, number quantities are inescapable: our culture is based on precisely measuring time, distance, and quantities. However, even creatures that aren’t exposed to sophisticated human number systems are inevitably exposed to quantities of things. Animals in the wild come into contact with varying quantities of other animals and of their food, and […]

PleasuresOfPessimism April 10

Main-lining the Secret Truth of the Universe: Pessimism and the Brain (part 1)

Cohle: I’d consider myself a realist, alright? But in philosophical terms I’m what’s called a pessimist. Hart: Um, okay, what’s that mean? Cohle: Means I’m bad at parties. Hart: Let me tell you, you ain’t great outside of parties either. A friend in college told me that she only felt like she knew the truth when […]

Eminem-3 April 03

Talkin’ 2 Myself: Eminem and the Science of Inner Speech

The other day, I was listening to Eminem’s “Talkin’ 2 Myself,” and I started thinking about the therapeutic effects of talking to oneself (coincidentally, Eminem briefly discussed the song with Big Boy on Power 106 this Monday!   Seriously random, considering Recovery was released in 2010…).  Specifically, I was curious about the fine line between […]

4997403542_6cd38270bb_b March 28

Genetically programmed, but with options

This is a guest post by Adam Calhoun (@neuroecology), a very talented science writer and fellow member of UCSD Neurosciences.  Australia has been having a problem with discarded beer bottles. It turns out that the Australian Jewel Beetle finds these bottles so attractive that they will mate with them until they die from dehydration. The bottles, […]

gradschool March 20

You interviewed – now what?

Choosing a graduate program in the life sciences Recruitment season is over. After several weekends spent explaining your research in 10-minute segments to complete strangers, you’re hoping to ultimately have a place to call “lab.” As you look back on your visits, it’s a whirlwind of graduate students, science, faculty, walking, and beer. How, in […]

woman-stem March 13

The value of values affirmation in education and beyond

The fields of social and cognitive psychology constantly provide examples of how small changes in the environment can impact cognition which may seem shocking in their simplicity. Cleaning one’s hands may lead to an increased feeling of moral cleanliness [1], a patch of gray may appear as much darker or lighter in brightness depending on […]

ganzfeld-procedure March 06

Hallucinating without drugs, the profundity of silence, and the thalamocortical circuit

I’m lying on my bed, with waves of pulsating light coming in and out, changing color, with shapes occasionally manifesting themselves, turning sometimes into people, sometimes into objects, and, more often than not, strange bunnymen, a la Donny Darko (albeit significantly less creepy). After ten minutes of this, I’ve had enough; taking the halved Ping-Pong […]

picture3 February 27

Buried Alive

You wake up. It’s pitch black, the air is stale, and your body is pressed by wooden planks on all sides. You try to reach up but your hand hits wooden planks above you. Seized by terror, you try to thrash about but there is no room to move and it’s getting harder to breathe. […]

Wikipedia: Vitrivuan Man February 20

Space and movement

A friend taps you on the shoulder but stands to your other side, so you turn to see no one there.  You reach for an object in a hall of mirrors, only to realize you’ve only touched its mirror image. You get tossed around by a wave and try to stand up, without realizing that […]

chocolate brain February 14

In a Chocolate-y Mood?

Do you ever have a strong craving for chocolate? Have you experienced an increase in these cravings in recent weeks, possibly induced by advertisements? I certainly have fallen to impulse-buys at the front of the grocery store in order to fulfill my cravings for the darkest of dark chocolate. They put those rows and rows […]

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