Category Archives: Neuroscience

December 05

When it gets dark, people get SAD (seasonal affective disorder)

Here in San Diego, we get a minimum of 9 hours and 59 minutes of sunlight, even in the dead of winter. Boston and Chicago get closer to 9 hours and Anchorage gets as low as 5.5 hours compared to Miami’s 10.5 hours. Does this dramatic difference in sunlight have any health effects? 1% of […]

October 31

I scream, you scream…

You’re walking down a dark, cobweb-swathed hallway with only the light from a few candles to guide your way. You note the torn and dirty oriental rug beneath your feet and the strange shadows that dart across the ceiling overhead. On the walls, you pass dusty, old-fashioned portraits of stiffly-posed families whose eyes seem to […]

October 10

Why do neuroscientists study weird animals?: A primer on neuroethology

Why do neuroscientists study weird animals? And I don’t mean borderline weird; I mean the kind of extraordinary animals that can create electric fields and lift 100 times their body weight. The sort of animals that can camouflage despite being colorblind and can capture flying prey in fractions of a second. The kind of creatures […]

October 03

A critical point about the brain

Neuroscience is one of the most fascinating fields of study, spanning science, art and philosophy. Okay, I may be biased here, but if you really think about it, we are trying to understand emotion, motivation, intelligence, and consciousness. We are trying to discover what sets humans apart, what unifies animals, what causes neurological disease, all […]

September 19

How long have we been sleeping?

“J’ai peur du sommeil comme on a peur d’un grand trou, Tout plein de vague horreur…” In his phenomenal ‘Les fleurs du mal’ (‘Flowers of Evil’), Baudelaire promenades through the darkness of the night and with his characteristic gloomy brush, paints sleep as ‘a great hole’ that he fears. This myth surrounding sleep as a […]

September 05

“I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it”

I would never have thought that an Ariana Grande song could lend itself to talking about an interesting avenue of neuroscience research. Yet the catchy phrase repeatedly featured in her most recent hit song “7 rings,” “I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it,” implicitly highlights the relationship between liking and […]

August 29

The Neuroscience of the Breath

The Neuroscience of the Breath Scientists search to uncover the mind-body connection   Mind-body practices, which stem from traditions originating in countries such as India, China, and Tibet, have become increasingly popular in Western society. These practices, which include yoga, meditation and tai chi, revolve around breathing techniques or pranayama- learning to control the breath […]

August 15

“Neurorights” and Why You Need Them

[En español] Most of us, especially those with an interest in technology, are fascinated by all that AI (Artificial Intelligence) and neurotechnologies are achieving. We use it on a daily basis, more than we even realize. For instance, I use Google’s AI-powered predictions pretty much every day to figure out how I can get to […]

August 01

Why are you yawning right now?

As a graduate student, spending an early morning or late night in the lab is not uncommon. During those hours, it’s also not uncommon to catch me in the midst of a yawn (or many). This makes sense, though; I’m tired from little sleep or a long day. However, you may be surprised to learn […]

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 […]