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MIND Guest Blog


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    The editors of Scientific American MIND regularly encounter perspectives on science and technology that we believe our readers would find thought-provoking, fascinating, debatable and challenging. The MIND Guest blog is a forum for such opinions. The views expressed belong to the author and are not necessarily shared by Scientific American. Follow on Twitter @sciammind.
  • Internet Addiction: Real or Virtual Reality?

    Credit: Sam Wolff via Flickr

    In 1995, Ivan Goldberg, a New York psychiatrist, published one of the first diagnostic tests for Internet Addiction Disorder. The criteria appeared on psycom.net, a psychiatry bulletin board, and began with an air of earnest authenticity: “A maladaptive pattern of Internet use, leading to clinically significant impairment or distress as manifested by three (or more) [...]

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    Estrogen’s Role in Impulsive Behavior

    Yes or no? Credit:  Anne-Lise Heinrichs via Flickr

    Would you rather have $50 now or $100 two weeks from now? Even though the $100 is obviously the better choice, many people will opt for the $50. Both humans and animals show this tendency to place lower value on later rewards, a behavior known as temporal discounting. High rates of temporal discounting can lead [...]

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    Happy Birthday, Circle of Willis!

    The Circle of Willis is a group of interconnecting arteries at the base of the brain. / Composite image from Wikimedia Commons files in the public domain.

    By 1664, the year he published his most famous book of neuroanatomy, Cerebri Anatome, Dr. Thomas Willis was already renowned in Britain for saving lives. Fourteen years earlier, the corpse of executed murderer Anne Green had been delivered to Willis and some of his colleagues for autopsy. Upon opening the coffin—the story goes—the doctors heard [...]

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    The Emotional Blindness of Alexithymia

    Courtesy of Deborah Serani

    Sometimes I work with children and adults who can’t put words to their feelings and thoughts. It’s not that they don’t want to – it’s more that they don’t know how. The clinical term for this experience is alexithymia and is defined as the inability to recognize emotions and their subtleties and textures [1]. Alexithymia [...]

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    How Hard Is It to Catch a Fake Passport?

    nightclub entrance

    Imagine that you are a bouncer, checking IDs outside a popular bar in a college town. It is somewhat dark outside the door, there are many distractions: loud music is playing and your job requires you to also keep an eye on the crowd for trouble. And because the patrons are dressed for a night [...]

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    Can a Mnemonic Slow Age-Based Memory Loss?

    basketball court - plant artist composite

    One of the tragedies of aging is the slow but steady decline in memory. Phone numbers slipping your mind? Forgetting crucial items on your grocery list? Opening the door but can’t remember why? Up to 50 percent of adults aged 64 years or older report memory complaints. For many of us, senile moments are the [...]

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    Coincidences Reflect a Rational Mind

    Parked, orange moped and automobile

    While we can all agree coincidences have fascinated scholars and lay people alike, what they mean divides us into one of two camps: skeptics or believers. A believer thinks that coincidences are evidence of mysterious, hidden and possible paranormal causes. A skeptic will put coincidences down to statistical quirks that are more common than we [...]

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    Self-Controlled Crows Ace the Marshmallow Test

    Are four treats better than two? Not if you’re a crow picking a favorite snack. Crows and ravens hold off on gobbling a tidbit when they can see a better one coming after a short wait. But they’ll only act with restraint if the future treat is something they like more than what they already [...]

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    The Warning Signs That Depression Is Affecting Your Relationship

    Adapted from When Depression Hurts Your Relationship: How To Regain Intimacy and Reconnect with Your Partner When You’re Depressed. Copyright 2014 Shannon Kolakowski. If your relationship is struggling, depression may be the culprit. A resounding body of research has shown how closely depression is related to relationships in a cyclical fashion: depression affects the quality [...]

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    Brain-Wide Map of “Neural Highways” Is First of Its Kind

    For the first time ever, neuroscientists have completed a comprehensive roadmap of the top-trafficked communication highways in the human brain. This  white-matter map not only charts the geography of these neural highways – it also plots out which of them interact with the most other paths, which are most crucial for supporting key brain functions, [...]

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