Essential Reads

How Does Physical Experience Affect Learning?

Real experiences help you learn more about the world.

New Research Tools to Test Brain Injury

Scientists can now see damage to living brains

Digital Dementia

Video games improve attention, but is there also a link with dementia?

4 Observations on Memory and Emotion

A neuroscientist muses on Inside-Out

Recent Posts on Neuroscience

The Neuroscience of Forming New Memories

In a breakthrough study, an international team of neuroscientists has identify how new memories are formed by individual neurons.

How Does Your Circadian Clock Keep Track of the Seasons?

Until now, the specific neurobiology of how our circadian clocks keep track of the seasons has been a mystery. Recently, researchers identified how circadian rhythms synchronize with the seasons. These findings could lead to new treatments for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and insomnia.

How Does Physical Experience Affect Learning?

By Art Markman Ph.D. on July 01, 2015 in Ulterior Motives
Go to a typical classroom, and it looks like a show. A teacher stands in front of the room. The teacher talks and demonstrates things from the front of the room. Unlike a show at a theater, the audience (the students) do get a chance to talk on occasion. But, most of the work students do is done from their seats.

New Research Tools to Test Brain Injury

By Eric Newhouse on July 01, 2015 in Invisible Wounds
Scientists at UCLA have been studying the brains of retired football players to determine what types of brain damage are caused by repeated concussions, and new technologies are allowing them to examine living brains. The next step will involve combat vets to see how they differ from NFL players and from Alzheimer's victims.

Digital Dementia

By Susan Greenfield Ph.D. on July 01, 2015 in Mind Change
Action video games improve low level attention and visuospatial memory, but is there a link between gaming and a more global loss of memory reminiscent of dementia?

How to Be Mindful in the Real World

So when it comes to improving your wellbeing, is there a contemplative practice for your brain that would actually be worth starting?

4 Observations on Memory and Emotion

By Alex Korb Ph.D. on June 30, 2015 in PreFrontal Nudity
Watching Pixar's Inside-Out, I was moved through a full range of emotions, but also, as a neuroscientist, I was impressed with the nuanced depiction of complex brain functions that the movie depicted. Understanding these can help you better understand yourself:

The X Factor: Genetics and Female Mental Health

XIST, the gene that controls X chromosome gene expression, is up regulated in psychosis, just as the imprinted brain theory predicts.

Eating for Optimal Mental Health

In order to improve overall wellness, a whole body approach should be considered. Here we explore the role that nutrition plays in the pursuit of wellness.

Fixing the Neural Circuit to Combat Mental Illness

By Julie K Hersh on June 29, 2015 in Struck By Living
A trip to Stanford gives a look into the work of Dr. Amit Etkin and Stanford's NeuroCircuit Group.

Magic Squares

By Marcel Danesi Ph.D. on June 29, 2015 in Brain Workout
Magic squares are fascinating and they provide a challenge to the brain to solve.

Why Jobs That Make You Think Are Good Brain Medicine

By David DiSalvo on June 28, 2015 in Neuronarrative
Adding to an already robust catalog of research showing that thinking-related challenges are like exercise for the brain, the latest study shows that jobs involving high levels of “executive, verbal and fluid” tasks enhance memory and thinking abilities for years to come.

This Is Your Brain on Stress

Hey man, don’t stress me out! We’ve all experienced stress from threats (physical, social, and financial), fears, and uncertainty, Stress isn't just in your mind—it's in your brain. Stress changes your brain structure—and not in a good way. Click here to find out how to change it back!

How to Stop Re-Creating Your Past and Finally Break Free

By Jennice Vilhauer Ph.D. on June 28, 2015 in Living Forward
If no matter how hard you try you keep ending up in the same place, it may be that you don’t realize you are creating your life by recreating the past over and over again because the brain works on the principle of anticipation. Learn how to break free of the cycle that is keeping you trapped.

Myths and Facts About Psychopaths

Psychopaths have gotten popular, but where can we find info we can trust?

Build Your Young Child’s Future School Success NOW

Prediction is often the key measurement in intelligence tests. Activities allowing your child to recognize, play with, and create patterns build his power of prediction.Successful prediction is one of the best problem-solving strategies the brain has and necessary for successful reading, calculating, test taking, goal setting, and appropriate social behavior.

The Avatar Theory of Consciousness

By William R. Klemm Ph.D. on June 27, 2015 in Memory Medic
Evolution made us smart enough to be effective killers and hopefully wise enough to be more humane.

Child Abuse Prepares for a Lifetime of Mental Health Issues

Children who are abused, physically, emotionally, sexually or neglected, have different adult brains than their counterparts who were not abused.

Remember: You Can Boost Memory

Processing, retaining and recalling information are the fundamental components of memory that we use every day. Whether it’s trying to recall where we left off in our favorite TV series or put the car keys, or struggling to remember an anniversary or online password, our minds are constantly churning vast amounts of information. Sound exhausting? Without enough key brain n

Cross Addiction and What It Means

One of the problems that I see frequently is patients with cross addiction, specifically those who are also being given “legitimate” prescription medications such as stimulants, benzodiazepines, opiates for bona fide symptoms.

Trans Fats: Bad For Your Brain

Trans fats adversely affect brain health.

Does Love Change Your Brain?

Falling in love may be more than just an emotional experience; it might alter your brain chemistry.

Why Does Anyone Do Yoga, Anyway?

By Marlynn Wei M.D., J.D. on June 22, 2015 in Urban Survival
New studies show yoga helps keeps your brain young. But is that all yoga does for us?

Headquarters? What Headquarters? Behind Pixar's Inside Out

By Ravi Chandra M.D. on June 22, 2015 in The Pacific Heart
Inside Out is a fantastic movie, highlighting the inner life of a girl, with plenty of positive female role models in the form of emotions. Sadness is the unlikely hero. We learn a lot about childhood vulnerability, emotional regulation, and adaptation. But emotional regulation, and the idea of a “Headquarters” in our mind, bear a closer look.

Love for a Killer: "A Very Evil Kid”

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on June 22, 2015 in Moral Landscapes
When Adam Lanza massacred school children, people asked about his genes. But that was the wrong question. Genes are inert without experience. Families of victims of Dylann Roof’s gun rampage forgave him. It’s a show of love that he probably needed much earlier in his life.

Testing the “Extreme Female Brain” Theory of Psychosis

The “extreme female brain” theory is added to the extreme male one of autism, but both add up to much less than the imprinted brain theory.

What Do Dreams Mean?

Dreams have fascinated people from the beginning of time. People believe dreams foretell the future; that they have psychological meanings; we commune with sprits and the dead; that there are visitations from ancestors; dreams are filled with omens and auguries. They are steeped in mystery, as if written in some kind of secret code, decipherable to a special few.

Creative Rehabilitation, Part 2: Severe Head Injury

By Jenni Ogden Ph.D. on June 21, 2015 in Trouble in Mind
Severe head injury is a family's worse nightmare. Are there ways to make the recovery process less stressful and even fun?

The Relational Neuroscience of "Well Meaning White People"

By Amy Banks on June 21, 2015 in Wired For Love
How do “well-meaning white people” escape the pain of oppression and violence? There are so many ways – we can distract ourselves with a trip to the mall or a few hours of on-line shopping. Ding – the dopamine reward system is activated and we feel lighter, better and even safer.

Your Brain's Off Switch

What if there are "buttons" in the brain that could make us more motivated, more focused, or more wise with our choices? What if we could learn to gently push these buttons to motivate others, make them more productive, or to make them like and respect us more?