Lucy_(2014_film)_poster July 24

Lucy’s Brain: Use it or lose it

With the Lucy movie coming out, we’ve been really curious here at NeuWrite about what marvelous new life skills Scarlett Johansson will accrue, now that she can use more than 10% of her brain. As forward-thinking neuroscientists, we’ve been speculating: what would Lucy be able to do with such incredible and unprecedented brain power? The […]

Simba-cry-the-lion-king-28922000-640-379 July 17

The Lion Cries Tonight? Emotions and the Animal Brain (Part 1)

“Even insects express anger, terror, jealousy and love, by their stridulation.”— Charles Darwin (1) Of philosophers who study ethics, 60% rate meat-eating on the ‘immoral’ side of a value scale (compared to 19% of the general population; 2). Such a large discrepancy in beliefs between ethicists and the general population intrigued me. What are the […]

corticalcolumns July 10

Cortical Columns

“I swear I put it down right here,” he thought to himself, “right next to this column.” He looked up; there were many columns. Towering, Ionic pillars draped with sheer golden cloths loomed over him. They were geometrically ordered in rows of hundreds, perhaps thousands.[1] “Where did – “ he stopped mid-thought to look around. […]

tim howard memes dinosaurs July 04

Does Tourette’s Syndrome help Tim Howard?

For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past fortnight, the FIFA World Cup has been on. Unfortunately the US Men’s team was knocked out by Belgium in extra time on Tuesday, but if one man can hold his head high it is Tim Howard. The US goalkeeper made a […]

“Butterfly Apple,” Vladimir Kush, 1978 June 28

Synesthesia: The sky, the number 7, and sadness are all blue

If you were shown the shapes below and told that one is called a “kiki” and the other a “bouba,” which name would you attribute to which shape? Between 95 and 98% of people agree that the more rigid shape is “kiki,” and the curvy one is “bouba.” This is not because they learned these names […]

The_Diving_Bell_and_the_Butterfly_DVD June 19

Locked In Syndrome: Facing My Nightmare

You always hear about “medical student syndrome,” where first year med students start diagnosing themselves with all of the diseases they learn about, becoming temporary hypochondriacs.  They don’t tell you that the same fear can set in during graduate school.  Ever since I started my Ph.D, I’ve diagnosed myself with more than a few of […]

brainbowhippocampus June 12

Pattern separation gone awry: the dentate gyrus and schizophrenia

[Image Source: Sebastian Seung via] Since the discovery of patient H.M. in the 1950s (see this post from October 2013), scientists have known that the hippocampus, a seahorse-shaped structure located in the medial temporal lobe, is crucial for the successful formation of new memories. The mammalian hippocampus is characterized by several distinct regions, each with […]

maxresdefault June 05


We’re coming up on finals week here at UCSD, so we thought we’d take this week off to get our studying done.  In the meantime, please enjoy this video made by the first year Neuroscience graduate students.  Fans of our “Get Data” video should make sure to fast forward to 4:29 to enjoy more of […]

Dali, Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bumblebee around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening May 22

Consciousness in your dreams?

“A dream is a short-lasting psychosis, and a psychosis is a long-lasting dream.” -Arthur Schopenhauer Dreaming has entranced thinkers from the beginning of recorded history, and it’s easy to see why. Both Socrates and Plato agreed that dreaming is a total abandonment of reason. More contemporaneously, no less than Kant and Schopenhauer identified dreaming as […]

caitasfelicesunatiste May 15

The Birth of Tragedy: Pessimism and the Brain (Part 2)

Is the resolve to be so scientific about everything perhaps a kind of fear of, an escape from, pessimism? – Friedrich Nietzsche In the first part of this article we examined contrasts in attitude and outlook between optimistic and pessimistic people and possible differences in the brain leading to these contrasts. The next question is, […]


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