Category Archives: Emotions

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 […]

May 25

Cranium-bound Ultrasound: A Novel Brain Stimulation Method

      Over the last few years, the application of ultrasonic stimulation has been heading towards a rather intimate part of the human body: the brain. Researchers have engineered a way to transmit ultrasound through the skull to influence brain activity, remarkably without the necessity of brain surgery. While non-invasive brain stimulation has been […]

May 11

Identity Crisis

Who are you? How do you know? I’ve been thinking a lot about identity this week. It all started when I received a letter from the IRS that began “Dear TAXPAYER” and essentially asked, “Are you who you say you are?” (Yes, it’s me! Please send me my tax refund!) To validate my identity, I […]

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. […]

October 27

Fear IT

There’s nothing funny about a clown in the moonlight – Lon Chaney [En español] With Halloween just around the corner and the latest clown craze hitting American and United Kingdom cities, it seems like a great time to talk about clowns. More specifically, about fear of clowns, which I recently found out there’s a term for: […]

September 22

Left Brain, Right Brain, Red Brain, Blue Brain

[En español] With the first presidential debate of 2016 quickly approaching, it’s a good time to consider whether your brain has already cast its vote. There is no shortage of articles that imply your political leanings are reflected in your brain’s structure and function (e.g. Is your brain liberal or conservative?—Fox News, Experts say liberal […]

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 […]