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 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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

I Feel Your Pain

Our new understanding of the underpinnings of empathy might help us harness the emotion—just when we need it the most

Last year, a striking video made its way around the Internet.  In it, male sports fans sat, one at a time, opposite a female sports reporter who had been the target of abusive, misogynistic tweets. Each man had to read the messages aloud to the woman who received them. One…

Read More

Is There a ‘Female’ Brain?

The debate over whether men and women have meaningfully different brains could have profound implications for health and personal identity.

In 2009, Daphna Joel, a neuroscientist at Tel Aviv University, decided to teach a course on the psychology of gender. As a feminist, she had long been interested in questions of sex and gender, but as a scientist her research had been mostly on the neural underpinnings of obsessive-compulsive behavior….

Read More