Category Archives: Behavioral Neuroscience

October 18

Follow the Flock

[En español] Have you ever tried a cigarette? I have. I was a teen, and holding a cigarette looked pretty cool, but smoking seemed disgusting, and it left a horrible smell in my hair, clothes and fingers. So I didn’t get hooked. But, seriously, why did I even try it in the first place? It […]

August 02

Snake Eyes: The Fear That Built Your Brain

Indiana Jones is a quintessential American hero, his fedora, satchel, and whip instantly recognizable around the world. He lives a double life, a scholarly professor of anthropology in public and a globetrotting treasure hunter in private. He defeats the Nazis and always gets the girl, displaying daring and fearlessness, with one notable exception. He has […]

July 26

A Neuroscience Perspective on the Lifelong Consequences of Detaining Kids at the Border

[En español] If you’ve been even partially tuned in to the news over the last few months, you’ve heard about the gut-wrenching separation of children from their parents at the United States border and the detainment centers where these children have been held. You may have seen pictures of young kids in cages, been watching when […]

May 31

The Rise and Fall and Rise of Genetic Memory

We are all products of our past, for better or for worse. At first glance, such a statement seems so obvious it hardly bears mentioning; our earlier experiences, both our successes and our failures, shape our current behavior.  But dig just a bit deeper, and it becomes far murkier. What can you call your past? […]

January 18

I Feel Your Pain – The Social Transmission of Pain in Mice

We all know that emotions are contagious.  Your trip to the DMV might see you infected with that peculiar emotion – something halfway between apathy and misanthropy – that is endemic to the DMV.  On the other hand, your ray-of-sunshine coworker just may brighten up your day (unless you happen to work at the DMV). […]

November 02

Fact or Fiction: False Memories from Replicants to Rituals

Mild spoilers for the film Blade Runner 2049 follow.   In Blade Runner’s world, it is the year 2049, and Earth looks substantially different than in 2017. Our fair city of San Diego is a literal garbage dump, crops are unable to grow outdoors, a single corporation dominates all agriculture and industry. The skies of […]

July 20

Genomes, Circuits, and the Roundworm: C. Elegans as a Model Organism

A nematode can do much to help our understanding of human biology.

June 01

Highs and Lows

Have you ever heard about the distinction between Type 1 and Type 2 fun?  Don’t worry, this isn’t some scientific attempt to quantify fun and render it anything but.  Type 1 fun is basically anything you do that is actually fun.  Playing with puppies, hanging out with friends, annoying your significant other – that sort […]

December 08

The neuroscience of loneliness

[En español] In this hyperconnected society that we live in, loneliness is an epidemic. We are going through times of profound social change, and the Internet and all the new technologies that go along with it are huge drivers in this, allowing us to remain connected with others without actually having to connect with them. […]

September 15

I’m not crying; it’s just been raining on my face

Humans and turtles have many things in common: we both possess four limbs, two eyes, a shell around our most vulnerable secrets, and tears that are attractive to butterflies and bees [1,2]. Our salt-rich tears, it seems, are much more palatable (and nutritious) to insects than they are to ourselves. Julia butterflies drinking turtle tears […]