A new study from Yale scientists shows how uncertainty helps us learn We may crave stability in life, but the brain benefits from volatility, according to a Yale University study on cognition that shows how uncertainty boosts learning. The paper, … Continue reading The gambling-addicted brain
There Is No Such Thing as Unconscious Thought The great French mathematician and physicist Henri Poincaré (1854–1912) took a particular interest in the origins of his own astonishing creativity. His achievements were impressive: His work profoundly reshaped mathematics and physics—including … Continue reading Flashes of suspicion
To Make Sense of the Present, Brains May Predict the Future Last month, the artificial intelligence company DeepMind introduced new software that can take a single image of a few objects in a virtual room and, without human guidance, infer … Continue reading Is perception a controlled hallucination?
When to flee. How your brain works out when to be afraid At what point do you turn tail and flee? A shadow falls across you. A shadow of a large man. A close man, panting heavily. A shadow of a … Continue reading It’s time to run
The Neuroscience of Pain On a foggy February morning in Oxford, England, I arrived at the John Radcliffe Hospital, a shiplike nineteen-seventies complex moored on a hill east of the city center, for the express purpose of being hurt. I … Continue reading The queen of pain
Your Brain Is Neither Computer Nor CEO Through the lens of popular neuroscience (and even some not-so-popular neuroscience), brains have become abstract and hypercomplex entities—mystical machines, rather than down-to-earth organs composed of flesh and blood. John von Neumann’s brain-as-computer metaphor, … Continue reading Mystical machines
Hungry, Hungry Hippocampus: Why and How We Eat Anyone who’s tried (and failed) to follow a diet knows that food is more than fuel. The reasons we eat are even embedded in our language. When we’re in an unfamiliar place, … Continue reading Talking about food