Category Archives: Emotions

April 23

I Can See it in Your Face: Facial Expressions in Mice

How do you know what an animal is feeling? Unfortunately, you can’t ask a dog, mouse, or fly how they are feeling or what they are thinking. This is one of the chief problems in animal research – we just don’t have ready access to their internal thoughts and feelings. This inability to access the […]

January 30

Love in the Time of PCR

(Image credit: CellPress)  Renowned geneticist George Church caused a stir last month with his idea for a brand new dating app, in which users submit their DNA for sequencing as a critical part of their profile.  Church’s app, “digiD8”, doesn’t connect tech-savvy singles who love all-things-90’s, as the name implies, but rather matches users based […]

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 […]

July 12

How do you feel? Interoception- the new science of emotion

[En español] What happens when someone asks, “How do you feel?” Besides possibly uttering the rote response, “good, how are you”—what is the process of sensing how you’re really feeling in that moment? It seems to involve interoception—the sense of the physiological condition of the body. Interoception mediates many different sensations—pain, temperature, itch, hunger, sexual […]

May 16

Why Do I Care So Damn Much About Game of Thrones?

Spoiler Alert. Although the neuroscientific, psychological, and cinematic concepts explored in this piece are relevant to all kinds of fiction beyond Game of Thrones, this post will be examining these concepts through the lens of the global obsession surrounding the final season of Game of Thrones, which wraps up in just a few days. So […]

August 30

Defining Cognitive Adulthood: When Neuroscience Influences Law

In 2006, a grand jury convicted Evan Miller in a homicide case, sentencing him to mandatory life imprisonment without the possibility for parole. At the time of his crime, Evan was 14-years-old. Years later, after a series of appeals, Evan’s case–Miller vs. Alabama–made it to the Supreme Court, which ruled that a sentence of life […]

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 […]

January 25

Instant Gratification: Weighing the Psychological Benefits and Costs of MDMA Use

Can a pill exist that brings instant happiness without any negative side effects? Probably not.

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 […]