Category Archives: Cognition

December 04

Hearing voices: Social context influences psychosis

“People are always selling the idea that people with mental illness are suffering. I think madness can be an escape. If things are not so good, you maybe want to imagine something better.” These are the words of John Nash, Jr., the Nobel Laureate who inspired the book and the movie A Beautiful Mind and […]

October 02

Lithium: Wonder Drug? Part I

I’m so happy ’cause today I’ve found my friends They’re in my head What comes to mind when you hear the word lithium? A drug used to manage life-threatening mood disorders? A potentially deadly toxin? A chemical found in trace amounts in many compounds in nature? (Or maybe just the Nirvana song?) Any of these […]

September 25

Why we LOL

Humor is a difficult concept to articulate. We might not always know why things are funny, but we do tend to know what kinds of things are funny. It comes in many forms, and general consensus is that things like videos of treadmill mishaps, cynical comics and corny puns are funny. Luckily, there’s a pretty large […]

August 22

How Does Exercise Improve the Brain?

When I started college, my best friend and I started a regular workout schedule to evade the infamous freshman fifteen. The odds were already out of my favor when I started to work at the dining hall right next to my freshman dorm. We were not as intense as Olympic runner Allyson Felix pictured above. […]

August 14

Let’s Talk About Sleep

Oh no.  It’s 4am, and I’ve done it again.  Ugh.  I’ve waited until the last minute to write my NeuWriteSD post, and now it’s 4am.  And I haven’t slept since 5am yesterday morning.  Ugh. As you might imagine, I’m feeling pretty terrible.  Not only because of the guilt (since I was supposed to have this […]

July 04

Does Tourette’s Syndrome help Tim Howard?

For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past fortnight, the FIFA World Cup has been on. Unfortunately the US Men’s team was knocked out by Belgium in extra time on Tuesday, but if one man can hold his head high it is Tim Howard. The US goalkeeper made a […]

May 22

Consciousness in your dreams?

“A dream is a short-lasting psychosis, and a psychosis is a long-lasting dream.” -Arthur Schopenhauer Dreaming has entranced thinkers from the beginning of recorded history, and it’s easy to see why. Both Socrates and Plato agreed that dreaming is a total abandonment of reason. More contemporaneously, no less than Kant and Schopenhauer identified dreaming as […]

April 21

Peas or carrots: Evidence-based education programs targeting stress and attention

I’m always keen to hear how scientists are able to reach out to their communities, whether it is by talking to young students about research opportunities, by tutoring or teaching, or by taking steps outside the lab to make direct links between research and the community. At this year’s meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS), one of […]

April 17

Numbers in the brain

If you look around, number quantities are inescapable: our culture is based on precisely measuring time, distance, and quantities. However, even creatures that aren’t exposed to sophisticated human number systems are inevitably exposed to quantities of things. Animals in the wild come into contact with varying quantities of other animals and of their food, and […]

April 10

Main-lining the Secret Truth of the Universe: Pessimism and the Brain (part 1)

Cohle: I’d consider myself a realist, alright? But in philosophical terms I’m what’s called a pessimist. Hart: Um, okay, what’s that mean? Cohle: Means I’m bad at parties. Hart: Let me tell you, you ain’t great outside of parties either. A friend in college told me that she only felt like she knew the truth when […]