In an interesting article in the magazine Nautilus, J.B. MacKinnon, reports that a brain scan (fMRI) of free solo climber, Alex Honnold’s brain explains why he is so willing to risk his life to climb rocks without a rope. The fear circuitry in his brain is dysfunctional.
Today it was announced that Army Capt. Florent Groberg will receive the Medal of Honor for instantly tackling a suicide bomber in a split-second reaction of self-sacrifice to save the lives of his comrades. “You don’t have time to think. You react,” he explains. But how is that possible?
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.
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?
After repeated encounters with a friendly rattlesnake last week I have snakes on the brain. Serpents are a storehouse of fascinating neuroscience. Infrared vision, venom, fast-twitch muscles to energize its “warning buzzer,” and more… Continue reading
Are political preferences the product of our biology, our brain, or simply of the environment in which we are educated? In this series of articles cross-posted in French in the Québec version of the Huffington Post, I have a look at the studies that have explored these questions in recent years. Continue reading
Is it possible to identify a murder from facial features alone? Supporting evidence comes from a new brain imaging study. Continue reading