Category Archives: Cognition

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 […]

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 […]

July 05

Where does Alzheimer’s disease begin?

Sometimes I forget what day of the week it is, where I put my keys, or when a friend’s birthday is- but I never stop to wonder if these brief moments of forgetfulness are normal or a sign of something more serious. For many, occasional short-term memory loss is a normal part of getting older, […]

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? […]