The Consequences of Illusory Superiority

On January 6, 1995, a large five-foot-six 270-pound middle-aged man robbed two Pittsburgh banks in broad daylight. He didn’t wear a mask or any sort of disguise. And he smiled… Read more

A Grand Vision: A Conversation with Lynne Kiorpes

When babies are born, they cannot see very well, but their vision vastly improves as they continue to develop.  Sometimes, the eyes don’t communicate well with the brain, and vision… Read more

When the blind can see again: A critical question of perception

Our sense of sight is arguably our most important sense.  Imagine how different your life would be if soon after birth, you lost the ability to see.  For over 1.4… Read more

The Spectacularly Colorful World of the Mantis Shrimp

Our eyes contain millions of color-sensitive cells, called cones, which maximally respond to red, green, and blue light.  With just these three types of color receptors, we can see the… Read more

Hacking your Brain with Smart Drugs

What if you could take a pill to enhance your cognitive abilities?  What if this pill could help you ace a test, get more work done efficiently, and truly multitask? … Read more

The Turing Test: Is that Human or Machine?

I propose to consider the following question, ‘Can machines think?’ Thus begins Alan Turing’s paper “Computing machinery and intelligence.”  It’s 1950 England, and the world’s first computer is being used… Read more

Keeping Memories Fresh by Keeping Glutamate In Check

We are another year older, perhaps a little wiser, and probably more forgetful.  Indeed, making memories is quite a process in the brain: specific synaptic connections are strengthened and new… Read more

Science with a Touch of Art: A Conversation with David Ginty

If you think about it, the surface of the human body, the skin, is actually one huge sheet of tactile receptors. The dozens of types of receptors that innervate the… Read more

Hubel and Wiesel & the Neural Basis of Visual Perception

Snap!  Crackle!  Pop! Those are the sounds that Professors David Hubel and Torsten Wiesel heard in the early 1950s when they recorded from neurons in the visual cortex of a… Read more

Understanding the Visual System: A Conversation with Botond Roska

When we see the world, there is a huge amount of processing that occurs in the neural circuits of the retina, thalamus, and cortex before we can even begin to… Read more

The Split Brain: Making Two Hemispheres Whole

Admit it!  You’ve taken one of those online quizzes to see if you’re more “right-brained” or “left-brained.”  Too bad it’s all bunk!    Popular culture would have you believe that creative… Read more

How To Do The Moonwalk

Walking around in the real world, as opposed to the uncluttered hallways of your school, requires flexible and adaptive fine-tuning of the basic alternating stepping pattern of our two legs.… Read more

Turning On A “Photoswitch” Helps Blind Mice See The Light

Our senses connect us to the world.  Your visual system lets you know that there is a yellow car ahead of you, and your auditory system lets you know that… Read more

Can Looking at Food Photos Ruin Your Dinner?

How many advertisements do you see each day?  If you could count them all (billboards, television commercials, sidebar advertisements on your Facebook feed), it would add up to almost 5,000! … Read more

Sleep ‘til you’re Hungry. Eat ‘til you’re Sleepy.

Have you ever tried to go to sleep hungry?  Believe me, it doesn’t work.  You just end up lying in bed, listening to your stomach growl, and dreaming about your… Read more

NEURO.tv – Discussion Among Neuroscientists and Philosophers

Attention all brain enthusiasts!  (Yes, zombies, I’m also talking to you.)  Announcing a brand new campaign for neuroscience education: NEURO.tv!  This non-profit initiative features prominent scientists and philosophers, who partake… Read more

Imaging the Brain with Sculpted Light

Perhaps the biggest goal in neuroscience is to understand how individual neurons interact with each other in both space and time.  The more detailed our understanding of complex neural networks… Read more

Chocolate Consumption and Nobel Laureates

What makes a Nobel Prize winner?  Intelligence?  Determination?  Luck?  How about chocolate?  Believe it or not, a paper published last October found that the average per capita chocolate consumption correlates… Read more

From Turkey Comas To New Disease Treatments

Neurodegenerative disorders, like Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s disease, are devastating.  As you can imagine, witnessing the slow and progressive loss of a loved one’s mental and emotional states is an extremely… Read more

Hearing is Believing: Cells that Enable Hearing after Birth

The sense of hearing is a critical part of how we experience life and the world around us. It is so important, in fact, that the ears are fully formed… Read more

The amygdala: a full brain integrator in the face of fear

You are sitting at your computer quietly reading this article when – BOOM! – there is a sharp loud noise behind you! You instinctively stop what you are doing, jump… Read more

Social Grooming: It’s not just for monkeys and prairie voles!

Have you ever noticed how much time cats spend cleaning themselves? I’m sure they believe that “cleanliness is next to Godliness,” but spending 15% of their day grooming seems a… Read more

Stopping seizures is as simple as turning on a light (and some genetics)

What if you change your mind with the flip of a light switch?  Over the past decade, optogenetics has become an important component of neuroscience research.  By introducing genes that… Read more

24-Hour Service: The Circadian Clock

Have you ever woken up minutes before your alarm sounded?  This strange phenomenon isn’t just a bizarre coincidence!  Like most living things, we have an extremely accurate and powerful internal… Read more