Category Archives: Behavioral Neuroscience

January 09

Can we inherit family trauma?

The epigenetics behind “generational trauma” The 23 and Me craze has officially reached my family. Both of my parents were born in Poland, so the results haven’t been too surprising, but as we watched the site track generations of family history from a single spit sample, new questions came up. So when my sisters and […]

January 02

The Blob

Beware! The Blob   Imagine you are on a trip to Paris. There is so much to see and do, but you decide to go to the local zoo. You are walking around, admiring all the interesting animals. There are beautiful big cats lounging about. There are enormous giraffes feeding on plants. You feast your […]

December 26

Open Borders: Remapping the Brain

While reading articles online, you may occasionally stumble across headlines like “Scientists find fear center of the brain,” or “Could this really be where the mind resides?” You might have also heard a TED talk where the speaker discusses how they discovered a part of the brain that makes decisions. Such expressions can take more […]

December 12

A Switch in the Brain for Compulsive Drinking

Most of us have drunk some form of alcohol in our lives. Many of us drink alcohol often. But we might know of only a few people who are pathologically addicted to alcohol. Are we, individually, differently prone to compulsive alcohol use? A recent paper, published in Science, attempts to answer this question using rodents. […]

November 22

The Brain on Gratitude

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, now is as good a time as any to stop and think about the concept of “gratitude.” The general consensus seems to be that gratitude is good for you, being consistently correlated with better physical, psychological, and social health. But for all its supposed benefits, there is still plenty […]

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 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 […]

September 05

“I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it”

I would never have thought that an Ariana Grande song could lend itself to talking about an interesting avenue of neuroscience research. Yet the catchy phrase repeatedly featured in her most recent hit song “7 rings,” “I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it,” implicitly highlights the relationship between liking and […]

July 04

Gay Animals and the Science of Sexuality

Earlier this year, a New York Times headline struck my attention: The Gay Penguins of Australia. The story details the lives of Sphen and Magic, two male Gentoo penguins at the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium in Australia. Sphen is 6 years old and rather quiet. Magic likes to chase after toys and is 3 years […]