Personality and the Brain, Part 8

Knowing how the brain works, how it specializes for certain tasks and what triggers changes in the brain’s structural connections can help you change your personality.

Personality and the Brain, Part 7

After his injury, music literally draws Derek Amato's attention away from other tasks he has to perform.

Personality and the Brain, Part 6

After his brain injury, Derek Amato became more agreeable and empathetic, suggesting that personality is not set in stone.

Personality and the Brain, Part 5

People's psychic abilities can be explained by a peculiar crossing of the senses.

Personality and the Brain, Part 4

When the bossy left hemisphere is “shushed” and the creative right brain is allowed to “speak,” artistic talent proliferates.

Personality and the Brain, Part 3

When the connection between the emotional brain and the front of the brain is damaged, people have trouble interpreting or feeling their emotions.

Personality and the Brain, Part 2

“Leigh used to be the class clown,” Amber said. “She would immediately shift a sinister atmosphere into a cheerful one. Now she barely smiles."

Personality and the Brain, Part 1

One evening on October 11, 2009, life took a dramatic turn for 41-year-old Leigh Erceg.

A Drug to Improve Performance and Creativity

If study drugs give you a significant cognitive advantage, do you "cheat" if you take them? Do you become a different person?

How to Deal With the Gossipmonger at Your Workplace

Gossip at the workplace is likely here to stay. What can you do about it if you are the victim?

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.