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.

Listening to Sinewave Speech Almost Turns You Into a Psychic

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?

Childhood Amnesia and Plasticity in the Adult Brain

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.

A Nation of Narcissists?

Researchers estimate that one percent of the general population have lifelong Narcissistic Personality Disorder. That's one person in one hundred. And the prevalence of narcissism may be increasing.

Elliot Rodger’s Narcissism

"Well, now"— a theatrical pause—"I'll be a god compared to you."

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?

Do You Suffer From Emotional Pain or Anxiety? Pop a Tylenol

Emotional pain is often said to be very different from physical pain. Past studies have revealed that this is not quite right. The brain interprets physical and emotional pain in similar ways. A new study indicates that the brain also interprets anxiety as a kind of pain, and that these forms of psychological discomfort can be lessened by taking a Tylenol.

Micro-Inequities: 40 Years Later

In 1973 Mary Rowe of MIT coined the notion of micro-inequities: apparently small, hard-to-prove events that occur wherever people are perceived to be different. Rowe pointed out that micro-inequities, though they appear to be insignificant, can have seriously harmful effects when allowed to occur repeatedly. The problem of micro-inequities persists 40 years later.

Does Colorblindness Discriminate?

Some assume that colors appear the same to all of us. But research indicates that this isn't the case. It turns out that white male privilege exists even in objective theories of perceptual color experience.

When The Brain's Biological Clock Goes Haywire

Patients suffering from psychological disorders are unable to properly coordinate events in time. They over- or underestimate time intervals ranging from several seconds to minutes. But what exactly gets messed up in the brain's time keeping mechanisms in psychological disorders?

OCD, Tourette's Syndrome and Addiction: A Real Distinction?

The scientific and philosophical literature considers compulsive and addictive disorders to be distinct. But this belief is based on an oversimplified interpretation of patient reports. It turns out that our present understanding of compulsive disorders may be mistaken.

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