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.

I needed help to sort a lifetime of my mother’s belongings

Moving had been a fraught subject even before my mom got sick. After her diagnosis, we found an organizer-slash-diplomat

I stood in the house where I grew up and considered a stack of moving boxes. All of them bore the same word, scrawled with a Sharpie: HEAVY. They weren’t, really. “Heavy” was a code word, a signal from the woman I had hired to orchestrate my mother’s move from…

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What nature can teach us about friendship in the time of coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic will push our relationships to the limits, but the animal kingdom can show us how important friendship can be.

Until a few weeks ago, most people had never contemplated, or even heard of, social distancing. But now, thanks to the coronavirus outbreak, it’s everywhere. No gatherings, no getting together with friends, no going out to bars or restaurants or sporting events. This extreme instruction to stay away from each other…

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Friendship Is a Lifesaver

Science is showing us the best remedy for aging is friends.

My mother-in-law, Carol, lives alone. It was her 75th birthday the other day. Normally, I send flowers. Normally, she spends some part of the day with the family members who live nearby and not across the country as my husband, Mark, and I do. And normally, she makes plans to…

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The Agony of Social Distancing for Adolescents

The world seems to be falling apart just now thanks to coronavirus. And it probably doesn’t help that your kids seem to be falling apart, too. They just want to be with their friends. I know. I have one son in high-school and two in college. One of those college…

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What Monkeys Can Teach Humans about Resilience after Disaster

Following Hurricane Maria, a Puerto Rican colony of rhesus macaques broadened their social networks. Could humans do the same post-COVID?   Macaques grooming on Cayo Santiago. Credit: Lauren Brent In September 2017, when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, the storm first made landfall on a small island off the main…

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The Loneliness of the “Social Distancer” Triggers Brain Cravings Akin to Hunger

A study on isolation’s neural underpinnings implies many may feel literally “starved” for contact amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Loneliness hurts. It is psychologically distressing and so physically unhealthy that being lonely increases the likelihood of an earlier death by 26 percent. But the feeling may serve a purpose. Psychologists theorize it hurts so much because, like hunger and thirst, loneliness acts as a biological alarm bell. The ache…

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