Why No One Helped

On Saturday, July 4, 2015, a horrifying bloodbath erupted before the eyes of passengers on the Red Line Metro subway train heading to Fourth of July festivities in Washington, DC. Wide-spread criticism in the press and social media erupted over the “apathetic” response of onlookers who reportedly said or did nothing to help the victim. But from the perspective of brain science, this scornful criticism is misguided.

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Posted in Awareness and Attention, by Douglas Fields, Evolution, Mood, Neural Network Function, Neuroanatomy, Psychiatric Disorders, Senses and Perception, Stress and Anxiety
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To Flee or Freeze? Neural Circuits of Threat Detection Identified

Suddenly something streaks into your peripheral vision.  Instantly, you jump back and raise your arms defensively.  “What was that!” You exclaim in shock.   Only then do you realize that the blurred streak you just dodged was a wayward basketball zinging like a missile on a collision course for your face.  A rush of adrenaline flushes through your blood setting your heart pounding and muscles twitching, but there is nothing left to do.  Your brain’s rapid response defense system has already detected the threat and avoided it before your conscious mind is even engaged.  How is that possible, scientist, Peng Cao and colleagues of the Chinese Academy of Sciences wondered?

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Posted in Animal Research, Awareness and Attention, by Douglas Fields, Cell Communication, Neuroanatomy, Psychiatric Disorders, Senses and Perception, Stress and Anxiety, Uncategorized
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The back of a child's head as he watches tv.

Watching TV Alters Children’s Brain Structure and Lowers IQ

From the black-and-white days of I Love Lucy to the blue-ray lasers of today’s Game of Thrones in dazzling 3D, parents have worried that television might harm their child’s brain development.  Now the answer is plain to see.  Brain imaging (MRI) shows anatomical changes inside children’s brains after prolonged TV viewing that would lower verbal IQ. Continue reading

Posted in Brain Development, by Douglas Fields, Caregivers, Childhood, Childhood Disorders, Educators, In Society, Learning and Memory, Press, Uncategorized
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Heisenberg Uncertainty and the Baltimore Riots

Yesterday I encountered a colleague outside the elevator. He was profoundly troubled, as are many, anguished by the violence in Baltimore this week. The looting, burning, and scores of injured from angry youths hurling bricks at police were sparked by the violent death of a black man, Freddie Gray, in police custody.

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Posted in by Douglas Fields, Policymakers, Sensing, Thinking & Behaving, Stress and Anxiety, Uncategorized
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What Color is Distress?

Social media has been on fire with a debate – not over ISIS, healthcare or global warming – but over the perceived color of a dress. The dress provides a unique opportunity to consider two big questions at the interface of philosophy, neuroscience and psychophysics: is there an objective reality, and do we all experience it the same way? You may see the dress differently when you see it next.

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Posted in Aging, Awareness and Attention, by Dwayne Godwin, Childhood, Evolution, Neural Network Function, Neuroeducation, Policymakers, Press, Senses and Perception, Technologies, Uncategorized
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