Category Archives: Science in pop culture

July 21

Media Misrepresentations of Mental Illness: Dissociative Identity Disorder

It’s no secret that watching movies can create lasting impressions on viewers. This is true in cases of medical dramas, where viewers are introduced to rare diseases through interactions with fictional patients seeking help. It is also true of mental health conditions – both in the cases of television and movies, it has become increasingly […]

April 14

“Fearless” climbers: how the amygdala mediates fear

Rock climbing, both in a specialized gym and outdoors on natural rock formations, is a very popular hobby here in Southern California. Some people find it exhilarating and enjoyable, while others are simply terrified. Like with any athletic venture, climbers assess risk before embarking on new routes, and may quell their fears with the knowledge […]

January 27

Genetics of Sasquatch: making cryptozoology scientific?

Growing up in Oregon meant I spent lots of time hearing about Sasquatch. Now working in a lab studying monkeys, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how different primates are related. While it is undeniable that little evidence has been found to prove Bigfoot roams the wild forests of the Pacific Northwest, perhaps […]

April 09

Why do many pandemics start with bats?

We are in the midst of an unprecedented global health crisis. The new disease COVID-19 has changed many aspects of how we can lead safe and healthy lives. COVID-19 is caused by the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2, a novel coronavirus previously unknown to humans. As health scientists race to find the best testing and preventative strategies, […]

January 19

Through the Looking-Glass, and What the Brain Sees There

  She complained of recurrent attacks during which she feels that her body is growing larger and larger until it seems to occupy the whole room. “I feel,” she said, “that I have got so big that if I put out my hand I could touch the far wall.’ Less frequently, she feels that she […]

October 13

Pop Culture Psychology: What Your Favorite Superhero Can Say About You

[En espagñol] It’s October and the leaves are turning – Halloween is creeping up, and it’s time to start thinking about your costume. Vampires and zombies are always popular, but you’ve probably noticed a trend in the last few years: superheroes are where it’s at. We love our pop culture characters, and from Luke Cage […]

March 17

We Are All Actually in the Matrix

I’m not kidding: you, me, and everyone else are actually in the matrix. But it’s not quite the same matrix as in the movie “The Matrix.” We are (probably) not being grown and harvested by robots who (somewhat inexplicably) have chosen to use us as a power source.

No, I’m talking about your brain. Your brain is your own personal matrix. It enables your consciousness, your sensations, your positive and negative feelings.

It lies to you. All the time.

Let me show you.

December 15

What’s Your Damage, Yoda?

Even if you haven’t seen the Star Wars films (yes, those people do exist and yes, it’s rude to yell at them until they watch them), you probably know three key things about Jedi Master Yoda: he’s small, he’s green, and he talks funny. Specifically, he switches around the order of some of his words; […]

December 14

Real Jedi Mind Tricks: The Psychology of Mind Control

[En Español] Welcome, my young padawans, to Star Wars week. Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes out THIS Friday, and the neurds on our team decided that it was a perfect opportunity to do one of our favorite things: connect neuroscience with pop culture! First up: real-world Jedi Mind Tricks. In Star Wars: A New […]

October 31

Interview with a Zombie: Dr. Bradley Voytek and the Neuroscience of Everyone’s Favorite Monster

‘Tis the season to be spooky – here’s a bonus NeuWrite post in the spirit of the holiday! At last spring’s UCSD Neuroscience Program Retreat, we had the pleasure of hearing new faculty member, Dr. Bradley Voytek, give a talk about Consciousness Deficit Hypoactivity Disorder (CDHD). If the medical term sounds unfamiliar, maybe you know […]