Author Archives: Barbara Spencer

October 19

To sleep, perchance to roam

You jolt awake, sensing a presence in your room. Heart racing, you open your eyes and the figure comes into focus. Her glassy eyes seem to stare right through you. You sigh thinking, “not again,” and take your sleepwalking child back to bed.   In the middle of the night, I go walking in my […]

May 11

Identity Crisis

Who are you? How do you know? I’ve been thinking a lot about identity this week. It all started when I received a letter from the IRS that began “Dear TAXPAYER” and essentially asked, “Are you who you say you are?” (Yes, it’s me! Please send me my tax refund!) To validate my identity, I […]

January 19

Through the Looking-Glass, and What the Brain Sees There

  She complained of recurrent attacks during which she feels that her body is growing larger and larger until it seems to occupy the whole room. “I feel,” she said, “that I have got so big that if I put out my hand I could touch the far wall.’ Less frequently, she feels that she […]

September 22

Left Brain, Right Brain, Red Brain, Blue Brain

[En español] With the first presidential debate of 2016 quickly approaching, it’s a good time to consider whether your brain has already cast its vote. There is no shortage of articles that imply your political leanings are reflected in your brain’s structure and function (e.g. Is your brain liberal or conservative?—Fox News, Experts say liberal […]

June 09

Forget About It

[En español] In the midst of studying for finals, forgetting is the enemy. You can easily remember the lyrics to your favorite 90s hit, but the names of the 12 cranial nerves elude you. We often think about forgetting as something pathological. We become frustrated by that all too familiar tip-of-your-tongue feeling and in extreme […]

October 29

What can your tongue see?

Picture this: you’re riding your bike on a cool fall afternoon. You’re blind but have no difficulty navigating through the streets without the aid of your eyes. Rather, the world comes into view through waves of sound bouncing off nearby objects in response to the bursts of clicking noises you create with your tongue. Since […]