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.

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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“Hyperscans” Show How Brains Sync as People Interact

Social neuroscientists ask what happens at the level of neurons when you tell someone a story or a group watches movies

The vast majority of neuroscientific studies contain three elements: a person, a cognitive task and a high-tech machine capable of seeing inside the brain. That simple recipe can produce powerful science. Such studies now routinely yield images that a neuroscientist used to only dream about. They allow researchers to delineate…

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The Kids (Who Use Tech) Are All Right

A rigorous new paper uses a new scientific approach that shows the panic over teen screen time is likely overstated

Social media is linked to depression—or not. First-person shooter video games are good for cognition—or they encourage violence. Young people are either more connected—or more isolated than ever. Such are the conflicting messages about the effects of technology on children’s well-being. Negative findings receive far more attention and have fueled…

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What Can Baboon Relationships Tell Us About Human Health?

Strong relationships seem to help baboons overcome early life adversity, and that could have big implications for human health

It’s just after daybreak on a plain at the edge of Amboseli National Park in southern Kenya. In a fever tree grove, a troop of nearly 70 yellow baboons is getting an easy start to the morning. A few late risers sleep on in the upper branches, but the others have…

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How Exactly does Autism Muddy Communication?

The root of the problem could be social or linguistic.

The quirks in Ramsey Brewer’s conversation are subtle. The 17-year-old repeats himself from time to time and makes small mistakes in the words he uses. For instance, he says he and his best friend look scaringly, not scarily, similar. He also pauses at odd spots, and for a beat or…

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Preventing Suicide

Social scientists have begun to close in on new ways to stop people from taking their own lives.

Thirty minutes and an index card. That’s what clinical psychologist Craig Bryan needs to conduct what he calls crisis response planning with a soldier who is suicidal. “Tell me the story about the day you tried to kill yourself,” Bryan asks. Then he listens and follows up with the type…

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