Scientific American

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.

A Civil Rights Expert Explains the Social Science of Police Racism

Columbia University attorney Alexis J. Hoag discusses the history of how we got to this point and the ways that researchers can help reduce bias against black Americans throughout the legal system

Columbia University attorney Alexis J. Hoag discusses the history of how we got to this point and the ways that researchers can help reduce bias against black Americans throughout the legal system

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Masks Reveal New Social Norms: What a Difference a Plague Makes

A 120-nanometer virus makes face coverings de rigueur in places where they were once shunned or against the law   The COVID-19 pandemic has rendered the behavior of most Americans unrecognizable. Handshakes have turned into elbow bumps. School and work are conducted remotely. Socializing happens virtually. And now even our…

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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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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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