November 14

A Brain that Denies Climate Change

I recall walking with my uncle, on my way back home from school, on the streets of a mofussil cantonment town in Bengal, India. I remember enormous trees on the sides of the street that kissed each other above us. While we walked, he would tell me stories about these banyan trees. He would tell […]

November 07

Knowing when to hold and fold ’em: the explore/exploit dilemma

I’ve been staring at the menu for over 10 minutes. I can feel the server’s eyes boring holes into the back of my head, urging me to hurry up and pick something. Still I sit and ponder; should I get my old favorite, the California burrito? Or maybe I should try something new like a […]

October 31

I scream, you scream…

You’re walking down a dark, cobweb-swathed hallway with only the light from a few candles to guide your way. You note the torn and dirty oriental rug beneath your feet and the strange shadows that dart across the ceiling overhead. On the walls, you pass dusty, old-fashioned portraits of stiffly-posed families whose eyes seem to […]

October 24

Is Addiction a Disease?

  While it may not seem obvious, this question carries a great deal of emotional weight to sufferers of addiction, as well as their families and friends. The answer to one question – Is addiction a disease? – seems to hold the answer to yet another question: Are many of the hurtful things I’ve done […]

October 17

30,000 neuroscientists walk into a conference center

Each year, approximately 30,000 neuroscientists descend on one U.S. city for 5 days, flying in from all over the world to attend the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) conference. Some come to present posters, while some have been selected to give talks (which range in length from 10 minutes to an hour, and range in attendance […]

October 10

Why do neuroscientists study weird animals?: A primer on neuroethology

Why do neuroscientists study weird animals? And I don’t mean borderline weird; I mean the kind of extraordinary animals that can create electric fields and lift 100 times their body weight. The sort of animals that can camouflage despite being colorblind and can capture flying prey in fractions of a second. The kind of creatures […]

October 03

A critical point about the brain

Neuroscience is one of the most fascinating fields of study, spanning science, art and philosophy. Okay, I may be biased here, but if you really think about it, we are trying to understand emotion, motivation, intelligence, and consciousness. We are trying to discover what sets humans apart, what unifies animals, what causes neurological disease, all […]

September 26

Now you see me… now you don’t

At a very young age, I was caught on camera during a game of hide-and-seek. In my bright red coat, I sat crouched against a tree in full view of the seeker with my hands cleverly placed over my face to obstruct any chance of being found. Until ages 4 to 5, we humans are […]

September 19

How long have we been sleeping?

“J’ai peur du sommeil comme on a peur d’un grand trou, Tout plein de vague horreur…” In his phenomenal ‘Les fleurs du mal’ (‘Flowers of Evil’), Baudelaire promenades through the darkness of the night and with his characteristic gloomy brush, paints sleep as ‘a great hole’ that he fears. This myth surrounding sleep as a […]

September 12

Your Mind on Trial

The British television series Black Mirror has, at times, been disturbingly prophetic. In season 2’s The Waldo Moment, a crude comedian runs for Parliament to disparage the system only to find himself a front-runner. In April 2019 Volodymyr Zelensky, a comedian who had previously played the role of Ukranian President on a popular TV show, […]