Of all things the human brain learns, few fascinate me more than numbers. It starts with kids counting, one by one, elements that they care about. How many gifts are there under the tree, how many oranges are there in the bag? 1, 2, 3, 4 … For a long time counting will be the process by which kids navigate through the endless series of numbers. Continue reading
Each March since 1996, neuroscientists around the world have ventured out of their labs and into schools, museums and malls to share their knowledge and interest about brain research. What causes this exodus out of the lab? Brain Awareness Week!
People entertain many illusions and misconceptions about themselves. Some think they are more or less desirable than they really are. Most people also think they are more intelligent than the average – statistics would not allow that, as indeed only about 50% of the population may be more intelligent than the average, due to the very definition of an average (and the normal distribution of IQ). Continue reading
What do we mean when we say someone is intelligent and is there any scientific basis for defining intelligence? These questions have been at the center of a more than century-old debate in psychology. Intelligence is, first and foremost, a judgment. He’s intelligent, he’s not intelligent, those are quick ways of saying that some behaviors of an individual observed in the past somehow predict how brilliant his next actions will be. Intelligence is an estimate of the quality that we attribute to the decision-making and abstract thinking of people around us. Although it may be practical for people to think of intelligence as something that exists, whether science should consider intelligence and how it would define it remains very controversial. Continue reading
What is an itch? That insistent tickle demanding that you cease whatever you are doing and claw with your fingernails at a particular spot on your skin. It can come from anywhere—the top of your head to the soles of your feet–inside your ear to your eyeballs. NOTHING will satisfy an itch except scratching it. Continue reading
Political arguments, moral judgment and social conflicts are among the most complex social behaviors that humans engage in, yet we perform these things with a brain that is not so much different from that of a chimpanzee. There is definitely an interest in understanding what happens in the brain when people argue, fight, judge, stereotype or segregate, but scientific advancement on this controversial issue is rather slow1,2,3,4. Continue reading
According to news sources, on Friday morning, December 14th 2012, Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and slaughtered 26 people – 20 precious children (6 and 7 year olds) and 6 heroic adults who worked at the school. Continue reading