Articles

I am a contributing editor at Scientific American and write the Brain Waves blog for Psychology Today (you can find those posts here). My work has also appeared in The Atlantic, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Time, Vogue and many other publications. Earlier in my career, I was on staff at Newsweek, and People, among other places and I’ve included a few of my old favorites from those days.

Debate Arises over Teaching “Growth Mindsets” to Motivate Students

Research shows conflicting data on the impact of the intervention, but a major new study confirms it can work

In her 2006 book Mindset, psychologist Carol Dweck of Stanford University identified the power of beliefs. “They strongly affect what we want and whether we succeed in getting it,” she wrote. “Changing people’s beliefs—even the simplest beliefs—can have profound effects.” She then argued that people who possess “fixed mindsets” believe…

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Scientists Start Building a Parts List for the Brain

A new study provides an extraordinary close-up of the menagerie of neural cell types, yielding possible leads for neurological and psychiatric treatments

About five years ago, preeminent neuroscientist Eric Kandel of Columbia University was asked by a radio interviewer what mysteries remained about the brain. “Almost everything,” Kandel responded. Such a statement does not diminish the considerable progress neuroscience has made in the more than a century since Italian physician Camillo Golgi…

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“Awakenings” in Advanced Dementia Patients Hint at Untapped Brain Reserves

Numerous reports documenting lucid moments at the end of life spur Alzheimer’s researchers to explore the phenomenon

An elderly woman suffering from late-stage Alzheimer’s disease had neither talked to nor reacted to any of her family members for years. Then, one day, she suddenly started chatting with her granddaughter, asking for news of other family members and even giving her granddaughter advice. “It was like talking to…

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What the ‘Broad Spectrum’ Can Teach Us about Autism

The relatives of autistic people often have mild traits of the condition. Studying these family members could broaden our understanding of autism.

It wasn’t until Rebecca Wiesenthal’s oldest son, John, turned 3 and started preschool that she began to worry about his language development. John did not talk much and when he did, he used made-up words — such as “mop” for milk — that his teachers could not understand. “My husband…

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Brain-Controlled Hearing Aids Could Cut through Crowd Noise

A prototype detects whom you are listening to and amplifies only that speaker’s voice; a potential solution to the “cocktail party problem”

At a crowded party or a noisy restaurant, most of us do something that is remarkable. Out of all the voices surrounding us, our brains pick out the one we want to hear and focus on what that person has to say. People with hearing loss are not so fortunate….

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Children Change Their Parents’ Minds about Climate Change

Study of students schooled in the issue showed them going on to shift their elders’ attitudes

Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg became famous this spring for launching a student movement to compel adults to take action on climate change. Instead of going to school, Greta has been spending her Fridays in front of the Swedish parliament with a sign reading: “School Strike for Climate.” Students in more…

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