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.

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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Brain-Controlled Hearing Aids Could Cut through Crowd Noise

A prototype detects whom you are listening to and amplifies only that speaker’s voice; a potential solution to the “cocktail party problem”

At a crowded party or a noisy restaurant, most of us do something that is remarkable. Out of all the voices surrounding us, our brains pick out the one we want to hear and focus on what that person has to say. People with hearing loss are not so fortunate….

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Children Change Their Parents’ Minds about Climate Change

Study of students schooled in the issue showed them going on to shift their elders’ attitudes

Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg became famous this spring for launching a student movement to compel adults to take action on climate change. Instead of going to school, Greta has been spending her Fridays in front of the Swedish parliament with a sign reading: “School Strike for Climate.” Students in more…

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“Hyperscans” Show How Brains Sync as People Interact

Social neuroscientists ask what happens at the level of neurons when you tell someone a story or a group watches movies

The vast majority of neuroscientific studies contain three elements: a person, a cognitive task and a high-tech machine capable of seeing inside the brain. That simple recipe can produce powerful science. Such studies now routinely yield images that a neuroscientist used to only dream about. They allow researchers to delineate…

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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…

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