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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.
  • Mindfulness Training May Assuage Early-Life Trauma

    Intel employees participate in Awake@Intel in 2013, a program that teaches mindfulness techniques to improve performance and reduce stress at work. (Credit: Intel Free Press via Flickr)

    We live in an increasingly stressful world. There’s an aspirational sense things should improve with time, witness the U.S. War on Poverty or the U.N. Millennium Development Goals.  But in the last 50 years, many risks, perceived and real, have grown worse: extreme weather, violent conflict, economic dislocation, poverty (especially for children), abuse and domestic [...]

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    Come Climb a Jungle Gym of the Mind

    Neural Climb: The central iconic experience of the exhibit, this 18-foot-tall climbing structure with interactive sound and lighting effects was designed to create an immersive, emotional connection to the dynamic activity of the brain.

    Your brain is always changing. That’s the message of Your Brain, a new exhibition at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Covering topics ranging from basic neuroscience to cognitive psychology, Your Brain creates fun, hands-on experiences to look inside your own head. In this exhibition, this approach of personal discovery serves as a gateway to core [...]

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    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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