Neuroscience Essential Reads

The Science of Betrayal

A betrayal by someone you trust is one of the most challenging interpersonal situations you can face in life. Whether through infidelity or a failure to fulfill a promise, betrayal leads to a desire for revenge, particularly in some people. New neuroscience research suggests who’s most likely to be hurt by a betrayal and why.

Your Brain's Trash Bin: What's in It and Why

Emptying mental garbage can save your life

Does Emotional Attachment to an Owner Change in Older Dogs?

Although older dogs may appear to be more placid and less emotionally responsive, physiological measures show that this is not the case. They may actually be reacting to stress to a greater degree than they did when they were younger.

Analyzing Analysts

In Shrinks, Jeffrey Lieberman reviews psychiatry's "tumultuous history," and its current emphasis on the medical treatment of mental illnesses. He maintains that psychiatry fares best when it avoids the extremes of reductionist neurobiology and the psychodynamic element in existential disease. That said, Shrinks does not address important questions about talk therapy.

How We Frame Emotions Through Facial Expressions

How our faces express emotions is a moving window into our minds.

10 Tips to Change From Reactive to Proactive in Situations

All of us encounter experiences in life when we may be temporally overwhelmed by a negative emotion, be it anger, pressure, nervousness, despair, or confusion. In these situations, how we choose to “master the moment” can make the difference between proactive versus reactive, and confidence versus insecurity. Here are ten ways to be less reactive in difficult situations...

5 Reasons That Life Is Hard

If you're like me, you've got a computer, a smart phone, a TV, a couch, some pets, a great family, and lots of awesome things - but you still often find that life is hard. Evolutionary psychology can help explain why.

Breakup: How to Tell If You Suffer from Complicated Grief

Sometimes it is impossible to let go of grief. When you continue to grieve a loss, your condition is called complicated grief. Complicated grief is so severe that psychiatrists now consider it for inclusion in the psychiatric manual for diagnosing mental disorders. Here is how to tell if you suffer from complicated grief.

The Brain Is Wider Than the Sky

Neuroscientists often quote Emily Dickinson's poem that begins, "The brain is wider than the sky," in support of their view that the mind is nothing but the brain. But they interpret the poem too narrowly, and miss its deeper meaning. Her poetry can teach us about the brain and mind, in ways that neuroscience can't.

The Joy of Distraction

Negative affect is among the most important triggers of self-control failures.

Outgrowing Jealousy

Obsessive thinking is inevitably inaccurate.

Why Does Game of Thrones' Hodor Only Say "Hodor"?

By Jordan Gaines Lewis on April 10, 2015 in Brain Babble
There's a neurological explanation behind why Hodor only says one word: expressive aphasia.

Forgetting PTSD: How Genes Affect Memory

The tet1 gene plays a central role in forgetting traumatic experiences.

Recent Links Between Food and Mood

By Gary L Wenk Ph. D. on April 08, 2015 in Your Brain on Food
A poor diet that was high in saturate fats and caloric levels lead to depression. Fortunately, it is never too late to take advantage of the benefits of a healthy diet.

Don’t Worry About What to Say

There is almost always a hidden agenda in the use of communication techniques.

Why Inappropriate Laughter Is Often Contagious

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on April 08, 2015 in The Squeaky Wheel
The worst case of inappropriate laughter I've ever seen—can you resist giggling when you see it?

Is Mind Wandering a Good or Bad Thing?

By Ray Williams on April 05, 2015 in Wired for Success
Is mind wandering a good thing or bad thing? Is it the same as being on “autopilot,” without being conscious of what you are doing? There seems to be several differing perspectives on these questions.

Can’t Kick a Bad Habit? You’re Probably Doing It Wrong

By Nir Eyal on April 03, 2015 in Automatic You
A technique to use identity change for behavior change.

The Ghost in the Machine

By Neel Burton M.D. on April 02, 2015 in Hide and Seek
What makes you who you are?

Madness in Civilization

Madness as a perennial problem, and the problems of contemporary biological reductionism.

The Flynn Effect as Adaptive Change

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on April 01, 2015 in The Human Beast
All living creatures can change to fit in with their environment. Some of that flexibility is due to gene selection but a lot is developmental. The Flynn effect of rising IQ in developed countries is an enrichment effect of modern life. It arises due to the adaptive response of our brain to the increased challenges it faces.

Music, Math, and Sex

Could runaway sexual selection really be responsible for the evolution of music? What would that tell us about human nature?

Clumsy Left-Handers: Fact or Fiction?

There seems to be an ingrained belief in our world that left-handers are clumsy. Is that true?

Socioeconomic Factors Impact a Child's Brain Structure

In the largest study of its kind, a team of investigators from nine different universities have identified a correlative link between family income and a child’s brain structure.

Teenagers Are From Earth

Our black-and-white thinking about adolescence is getting in our way.

Work-Life Balance is Dead

By Ron Friedman Ph.D. on March 27, 2015 in Glue
Technology has made work-life balance obsolete. Here's why we should aim for work-life integration instead.

The Shot Clock and the Body Clock

By Alex Korb Ph.D. on March 27, 2015 in PreFrontal Nudity
During March Madness most people overlook important aspects of neuroscience that contribute to peak athletic performance.

Precision Medicine’s Cultural Limits

"Everyone is different." This is the fundamental tenant of Precision Medicine: to utilize this difference to improve outcome. Real life is more complicated, and there is a lot that is not yet worked out before this approach will yield benefits.

The Germanwings Crash, and How We Can Think About It

As uncomfortable as it is to accept, we now have to deal with the fact that a pilot locked his fellow pilot out of the cockpit and intentionally flew a plane filled with passengers into a mountainside.

Peter Singer Argues for "Effective Altruism" in His New Book

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on March 25, 2015 in Animal Emotions
Renowned philosopher Peter Singer's new book called "The Most Good You Can Do" is a very thoughtful discussion about charitable giving. Whether you agree or disagree with Professor Singer's arguments I guarantee they will make you think deeply about what you do with your money and if your donations really do the most good you can do. This book also left me hopeful.