Category Archives: Behavioral Neuroscience

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 […]

July 21

NeuWrite reads: Brain on Fire

As author William F. Allman puts it in his book Apprentices of Wonder: “the brain is a monstrous beautiful mess.” Thanks to the brain, we are who we are and we do what we do. Now can you imagine your brain failing you, turning against you and becoming your worst enemy? That is exactly what […]

April 28

Zika and the Brain

[En español] If you have been able to capture a glimpse of any news OTHER than the ongoing disaster which is the American 2016 Presidential Election, you may have caught wind of another wave of (more global) disaster: newly uncovered effects of the Zika virus. Zika first came into the spotlight when it was linked […]

July 16

Truly Blissful Brains

[En Español] It’s not uncommon for beverage advertisements to make far-fetched claims. Coca Cola “calms jumpy nerves,” Vitamin Water is “nutritious,” and Gatorade will turn you into Michael Jordan. Within the past few years, a new brain-branded league of products has entered the beverages aisle, creating conflict within a neuroscientist like me. While I’m excited […]