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.

The Significant Problem of P Values

Standard scientific methods are under fire. Will anything change?

In 1925 British geneticist and statistician Ronald Fisher published a book called Statistical Methods for Research Workers. The title doesn’t scream “best seller,” but the book was a huge success and established Fisher as the father of modern statistics. In it, he tackles the problem of how researchers can apply…

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Does Your Microbiome Shape Your Friendships?

Research confirms that who you spend time with is a powerful predictor of the microbes you carry. But these tiny organisms may also influence your social life.

See the original article here.  It is early morning on a wide plain in Amboseli National Park in southern Kenya. With a small Dixie cup and a wooden tongue depressor, Susan Alberts picks up a fecal sample left by a female baboon named Yoruba. Alberts is an eminent primatologist. She…

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New Insights into Self-Insight: More May Not Be Better

An innovative study technique yields surprising results that counter the popular idea that knowing yourself is good for you

How useful is it, really, to know thyself? The idea that self-insight is good for us dates all the way back to the inscriptions on ancient Greece’s Temple of Apollo in Delphi. It is still popularly assumed that people with a clear view of themself and their abilities are better…

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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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