Out of Darkness and Into a Glowing World of Technicolor

Gina Marie Applebee had been blind for five years when her senses woke up and she started imagining reality in ways that often accurately reflect her surroundings.

How Much Brain Tissue Do You Need to Function Normally?

Brain injuries typically lead to a loss of function. But sometimes people manage to recover fully, and some even develop new skills and personality traits. This raises the question: How much brain tissue do we really need to function normally?

Solving Problems in Your Dreams

Combine your next all-nighter with meaningful rest through lucid dreaming.

The Superhuman Athlete

Find out how Olga Kotelko stays fit physically and mentally at the age of 95.

The Superhuman Mind

It is possible to acquire extraordinary cognitive skills after brain injury. But it is, of course, unwise to bang your head against a wall and hope you do it the right way and become a genius. But there are other shortcuts to develop extraordinary skills without engaging in any kind of wild and risky behaviors.

Brain Trauma Can Cause Compulsive Sexual Desires

Brain trauma more often causes a decrease in libido. However, sometimes it causes an increase in libido, as in the case of Alissa, a 23-year-old who suffered a car accident, and Heather, a 43-year-old who suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Falling Down a Mountain May Make You a Genius

On Friday, September 13, 2002, Jason Padgett was attacked by two men as he was leaving a karaoke bar. He was struck twice on the back of the head and lost consciousness for a few moments. Afterwards he developed remarkable abilities. Jason's story is unique. But there are other less known cases of people who develop extraordinar abilities following brain injury or disease.

The Mystery Dress

The latest obsession of social media: #Thedress. An image of a dress that some people see as white and gold, and others see as blue and black. What is the real explanation of this odd phenomenon?

What Makes You Look Fat: Vertical or Horizontal Lines?

It’s a common belief that if you want to appear slimmer than you actually are, you should wear clothes with vertically stripes. The classical pinstriped business suit would be an example of this sort of clothing masquerading a few extra pounds. It turns out that this folk belief is fundamentally wrong.

Do You Really Hear What You Think You Hear?

There is no doubt that it feels differently to listen to a language you know and a language you don't know. But can that kind of knowledge influence the sounds we hear?

Why don't We Remember our Early Childhoods?

Setting in around age seven, childhood amnesia involves the sudden deletion of previous memories. The process underlying this phenomenon is also known as "pruning." While adult memory doesn't usually get lost during pruning processes, the lack of pruning tends to make the adult brain less flexible. A recent study, however, shows that there may be exceptions to this insight

What Is the Role of Consciousness?

Consciousness may play a role in making unconscious processing in the brain accessible to people for reporting, decision making, or artistic expression.

Going To Grad School, Medical School or Law School?

For some young adults, it's difficult to decide which major to choose. Math? Biology? Psychology? English? There is an obvious way to resolve this problem: Major in philosophy. Philosophy is the only major that can guarantee high GRE, MCAT, LSAT, and GMAT scores.

The Blank Slate

You are not born an introvert or an extravert, a conscientious prude or a stupid risk-taker. The brain organizes itself in a particular way as a result of life experiences, and that organization can radically change.

Feeling Pain That Is Not There

If you have an episode of pain, you know you are in pain and cannot be mistaken about it. You may be wrong about the origin of pain but not about being in pain.

The Letters on the Blocks in Kindergarten Weren’t “Right”

After finding out that his condition was genetic my grandfather asked all of his grandkids, “What color is 3?” Turned out he and I shared colored letters.

Brilliant Brain By Accident

“I believe I am living proof that these powers lie dormant in all of us,” Jason Padgett writes in Struck by Genius: How a Brain Injury Made Me a Mathematical Marvel, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Released today.

Synesthesia Isn't a Kind of Useless, New Age Oddity

Another long-standing misconception is that most synaesthetes are on the whole, attention-seeking arty people who spend most of their time with their heads in the clouds.

What Do Words Taste Like?

The German word “Pilz” (mushroom) has the taste and texture of marzipan, even though I fully realize that it means mushroom in English. The word “mushroom” tastes like a mushroom.

Colored Pain

“Colored pain” is still considered a rare form of synesthesia. These synesthetes perceive colors as they experience pain.

Hyper- or Hypoconnectivity in Autism?

A recent finding that links autism and synesthesia provides some evidence that autism may be associated with increased brain connectivity.

Restoring the Misplaced Past

In the future memory implants may help people, like Lonni Sue Johnson, who have lost the ability to remember.

Teens Texting for Free Help

A new service called Crisis Text Line allows teens to text a counselor from anywhere at anytime, all for free.

The Left-Hemisphere Hypothesis for Autism

About ten percent of autistic individuals have savant syndrome. This is difficult to explain on the fairly commonly accepted hypothesis that people with autism have less brain connectivity than normal folks. The left-hemisphere hypothesis explains the extraordinary skills in autism by pointing to data showing an asymmetry between their brain's right and left hemispheres.

The Immune Hypothesis for Synesthesia

A new hypothesis published in Frontiers in Neuroscience suggests that there might be a connection between atypical functioning of the immune system and synesthesia, a condition in which sensory or cognitive channels that normally are separate blend and lead to unusual, mixed sensory experiences or thoughts.

Hidden Talent Unleashed

Patrick Fagerberg had been working as a lawyer for 13 years when he was hit by a 30-foot steel camera boom. This incident would change his life forever. Though he had never had any interest in the arts, he developed a sudden talent for painting and recently signed a contract with a major gallery.

The Timing of Twinning

The current model of twinning suggests that twinning typically takes place two weeks after conception. This model has been used in defenses of the morality of contraception, stem cell research and IVF. Recent research suggests an alternative model, according to which twinning occurs around the time of conception. The new model, however, is not supported by the evidence.

Sloppy Psychology and Zero Tolerance Policies

Zero tolerance policies are purported to make our schools safer. But they simply aren't effective. Let's stop extorting innocent children in the name of deterrence.

Struck By Lightning

Lightning results from a negative charge in the clouds that causes the ground to become positively charged, pulling the electrons toward it at a great force. When struck by lightning, people usually either die or suffer long-term negative consequences. However, in rare cases being struck by lightning can unlock the genius within.

"I Can Easily Beat BlackJack"

There are people who can remember four decks of cards in a few minutes or recite Pi to 20,000 decimal points. Do these extreme memory abilities require savant skills or hours of relentless practice?