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.

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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How People with Autism Forge Friendships

Most autistic people want to and can make friends, though their relationships often have a distinctive air.

   Photographs courtesy of Nick Morgulis / Actionplay It is lunchtime on a Sunday in January. At a long table inside a delicatessen in midtown Manhattan, a group of young people sit together over sandwiches and salads. Most of them have their phones out. One boy wears headphones around his…

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Antisense is Finally Making Sense

A long-disdained therapy that targets RNA is suddenly achieving spectacular success

At her first birthday, Emma Larson was not walking or standing, but neither are plenty of other kids at that age. She loved the bouncer her parents set up in their Long Island, N.Y., home, and she crawled with gusto. Then, at 13 months, Emma’s legs stopped working. Her mother,…

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Sisters-in-law are not always friends. Just ask Kate and Meghan

Last July, when the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex sat side by side in the Royal Box at Wimbledon, they looked an awful lot like two girlfriends hanging out. The world wanted that to be true. Among the many imagined ways Meghan Markle might have benefited the…

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Social Media Has Not Destroyed A Generation

New findings suggest the angst over social media is misplaced.

It was the headlines that most upset Amy Orben. In 2017, when she was a graduate student in experimental psychology at the University of Oxford researching how social media influences communication, alarming articles began to appear. Giving a child a smartphone was like giving a kid cocaine, claimed one. Smartphones…

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