Category Archives: Neuroscience

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 23

The Neuroscience of Laughter

Think back to the last time you had a real, hearty laugh: mouth in a wide smile, eyes crinkled and tearing, breath leaving your body in short bursts if you could get any breath out at all. For humans, there are few more pleasurable experiences or greater expressions of joy as laughter. We use laughter […]

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 19

Upload Complete: Transferring your brain to a digital format

Imagine a future in which your brain–conscious mind, memories, and emotions included–could be uploaded to a computer. Once running, the complex computer code would be able to perfectly reflect your mind: reacting as you would, showing your major personality traits, holding your unique knowledge from your life as a human. Maybe your personal code could […]

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, […]

June 28

Zika: Predicting the long-term effects of an unrelenting virus

Summer is upon us, and with that comes much-anticipated vacation travel. As you pack your bag with sunblock, clothes that haven’t seen the light of day since your trip last year, and that sci-fi novel that has been sitting on your nightstand since February, don’t forget what might be the most important item: bug spray. […]

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? […]

May 24

Baby I Swear it’s Déjà Vu

It’s one of the most bizarre sensations in the world: feeling like you’ve entered some sort of time loop and are re-experiencing something that’s already happened before. The rational part of you knows that this is a new experience, and yet, you can’t shake the feeling that you’re somehow reliving a brief moment of your […]

May 10

A Bright Idea: Illuminating the Brain with GCaMP

You might’ve read stories about some brain region “lighting up” in response to some stimulus. But what does “lighting up” actually mean? Oftentimes it refers to scientists using a fMRI machine that applies sophisticated technology to translate changes in blood flow into pixels on a computer screen. Sometimes though the brain can literally light up, […]