Category Archives: Cognition

April 22

Neuromorphic engineering: how electronics are learning from the brain

[En Español] “As engineers, we would be foolish to ignore the lessons of a billion years of evolution” -Carver Mead Scientists have been pursuing artificial intelligence that rivals what the human brain can do for centuries. The brain is remarkable in some computer-like aspects; it processes multiple complex tasks in parallel with high efficiency and […]

March 04

The Bilingual Brain

Humans have the ability to learn multiple languages. Studying bilingual brains offers scientists an opportunity to analyze physical changes in the brain and alterations in how the brain works as a result of some behavior, known as structural and functional plasticity. I recently wrote an article where I discuss plasticity, the ability of our brain […]

February 11

More than a feeling…

As animals with brains, we are challenged to make sense of a world full of rich sensory experience.  There is a world created inside of our brains that we may see, hear, touch, taste, or smell.  Built out of our senses, humans possess an innate ability to extract patterns and other meaningful features from the […]

January 07

Un-Consciousness

When you hear the word “consciousness”, what did you think it is? All of what you experience and what you believe it is? Let me demonstrate something to you before you make up your mind. Imagine a day at work, where you: Had someone tap you repeatedly to get your attention, but only felt it […]

February 20

Trying to Forget

It is difficult to overstate the importance of learning. Many consider lifelong learning to be one of their primary goals in life, education is one of the primary roles of government, and machine learning — an algorithmic approximation of learning applied to computers — is a hundred-million dollar business. It quite literally underlies everything we […]

February 06

What’s my (brain) age again?

What does it mean to age? Is it a purely time-based process, with each passing moment bringing our bodies along an invariant trajectory of decline? Or is it a function of our behavior, dependent on our daily activities and the damage inflicted upon ourselves over time? Clearly, there is a bit of truth in each […]

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 27

The Trouble with Drug Development

Open a new tab, load up a science media site you know. What do you first see across the front page? You will almost certainly find a headline blaring “NEW FINDINGS SHOW AUTISM’S DAYS ARE NUMBERED” or “UNIVERSITY RESEARCHER CURES PARKINSON’S DISEASE”. Open the page up next week, and you will almost certainly see some […]

November 15

From symptoms to biology: shifting definitions of Alzheimer’s disease

As a neuroscientist studying Alzheimer’s, I’m reminded of its far-reaching impact each time a barista, cashier, or Lyft driver makes small talk by asking what I do for a living. Unfortunately, this devastating disease needs no introduction. Considering its ubiquity, it’s surprising that a debate broke out recently among leaders in the field over the […]

September 13

Your Virtual Self: Psychology in the Age of Virtual Reality

“Look!” My nephew kept eating from a box of infinite donuts in his new cubicle office. He had just been promoted by a floating computer monitor, his boss. A concerned look slowly printed onto his boss’ flat face as it saw him continuously push donuts down his gullet. The game was “Job Simulator”, and while […]