When Tackling The Brain, Don’t Forget The Mind

The human brain is an incredibly complex object. The Obama administration's “Brain Activity Map” (BAM) plans to map the activity every neuron and connection in the living brain. But what will success look like? Will a map of the human brain be useful in the same way that a map of the human genome is useful?

The Strange Science of Sleep

Evolution has endowed many animals, from giraffes to fruit flies, with a period of mandatory downtime. It’s as if the latest laptop computer or iPad were to arrive with the warning: “Must remain switched off for at least seven hours a day”. Sleep is a puzzling affair. What is going on after bedtime?

What Does Dopamine Actually Do?

Dopamine is a famous chemical. It holds a prized position in the annals of popular science as the “reward” drug. Countless articles refer to the latest studies of foods, sex and exercise as boosting dopamine, and, by implication, pleasure. But is this characterization correct? What does dopamine actually do?

Are Chimpanzees Self-Aware?

Our moral intuitions are based on the assumption that the person we are interacting with is consciously aware. If we were to find that another animal species had a consciousness very similar to that of humans, then it may be remiss of us not to extend the same rights and protections to that species.