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Posts tagged with "Neuroscience"

  • The Monastery and the Microscope

    Although, on the surface, Buddhist contemplative tradition and Western science would appear to represent divergent perspectives, a closer look at these disciplines shows that they are both deeply rooted in the intellectual pursuit of knowledge and a desire to understand the complexities of human existence through empirically verified observations.… Read More
  • The Fear Factor

    More than 20 years ago, the selfless act of a complete stranger affected the course of Abigail Marsh’s life. Now a social psychologist, in The Fear Factor, Marsh invites readers to join her as she explores the biology underlying extraordinary altruism. Translating technical papers into easily understood prose and incorporating personal stories, s… Read More
  • An inquisitive physicist delves into the psychology and neuroscience of human curiosity

    Was it really curiosity that killed the cat? In Why: What Makes Us Curious, astrophysicist Mario Livio provides the answer, although I won’t reveal it here (are you curious yet?). In the book, Livio explores curiosity by using inquisitive people, including scientists, artists, and philosophers, as anecdotal examples. He also presents ideas from p… Read More
  • A comprehensive tome explores the biology of our behavior

    What makes our species unique is only the tip of the iceberg, while underneath sits a vast reservoir of continuity with other organisms. In Behave, Robert Sapolsky, a well-known neurobiologist and primatologist at Stanford University, ambitiously tackles the whole iceberg rather than obsessing over its little tip. Rarely does an almost 800-page boo… Read More
  • The Secret Life of the Mind

    The human brain is one of the most complex organs known to modern science, and many things are yet to be understood about how it shapes our identity—or how our identity can shape it. In his first book, The Secret Life of the Mind, Argentinian neuroscientist Mariano Sigman positions readers to explore the fundamentals of… Read More
  • A new documentary offers a glimpse into the life of a neuroscience icon

    “Young lady, that brain cannot change!” a man shouted at Marian Diamond at the annual meeting of the American Association of Anatomists in 1964. Diamond, a Berkeley-trained anatomist and one of only a handful of female speakers, had just presented research demonstrating that environmental enrichment can alter the structure of the adult rat brai… Read More
  • Combating medical science denial

    When Thomas Duncan died from Ebola in a Dallas hospital on 8 October 2014, Americans panicked: calling off work, avoiding public transit, closing businesses and schools. In their new book, Denying to the Grave, authors Sara Gorman and Jack Gorman introduce the concept of medical science denial by demonstrating how the actual risk of contracting… Read More
  • An intimate portrait of a famous amnesiac is also a tale of personal grievances

    Stories are made, not discovered, and journalist Luke Dittrich is a master of his craft. In Patient H.M., Dittrich stitches a history of memory science with the golden thread of his own family drama—a thread that frays at the end into personal vendetta. The book is an intricately plotted story of “heroes and villains” orbiting… Read More
  • Waking dreams

    Dead or alive, asleep or awake, focused or drifting. Consciousness switches on, flickers to the wanderings of the mind, rests, and extinguishes. The borders of sentience are the subject of a compact educational exhibition at the Wellcome Collection in London entitled States of Mind: Tracing the Edges of Consciousness. Artists, psychologists, neuros… Read More
  • Cruel and unuseful punishment: why torture doesn’t work

    Following the 9/11 attacks, the Bush Administration secretly authorized the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” to compel suspected terrorists to divulge threats to America’s national security. Widely regarded as a euphemism for torture, these techniques included depriving detainees of sleep, food, clothing, and toilets for prolong… Read More