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MIND Guest Blog

MIND Guest Blog

Commentary invited by editors of Scientific American Mind

  • What Drives Subconscious Racial Prejudice?

    What Drives Subconscious Racial Prejudice?

    By Jeneen Interlandi | May 11, 2015 |

    Last fall, Emile Bruneau , a cognitive neuroscientist from M.I.T., was in Budapest running a series of behavioral experiments designed to measure anti-Roma bias in a cohort of Hungarian schoolteachers. Anti-Roma bias is rampant in schools throughout Central and Eastern Europe; in many countries, including Hungary, it takes the form of full-blown segregation . […]

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  • “Optocapacitance” Shines New Light on the Brain

    “Optocapacitance” Shines New Light on the Brain

    By Richard Yonck | April 10, 2015 |

    Gold nanoparticles of different sizes, and hence different colours. (Allen Bellew/Flickr) A novel twist on the young field of optogenetics may provide a new way to study living human brains as well as offering innovative therapeutic uses. From time immemorial, philosophers, anatomists and scientists have pondered the inner workings of the brain. […]

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  • How to Help the Growing Female Prison Population

    How to Help the Growing Female Prison Population

    By Mary Ellen Mastrorilli | April 7, 2015 |

    The maximum security Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Alabama, where numerous employees have been accused of abusing inmates. (Rivers A. Langley/Wikimedia) Orange Is the New Black , the popular Netflix show based on the memoir by Piper Kerman, brought female prisons into America’s living room, highlighting several issues that are plaguing the correctional system. […]

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  • The Growing Economic Burden of Depression in the U.S.

    The Growing Economic Burden of Depression in the U.S.

    By Paul E. Greenberg | February 25, 2015 |

    Credit: Luis Sarabia/Flickr Depression in America costs society $210 billion per year, according to the newest data available, yet only 40 percent of this sum is associated with depression itself. My colleagues and I have found that most of the costs of depression are for related mental illnesses, such as anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as for physical illnesses, such as back disorders, sleep disorders and migraines. […]

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  • Terms of Endearment: Why Do We Use Pet Names in Relationships?

    Terms of Endearment: Why Do We Use Pet Names in Relationships?

    By Elizabeth Landau | February 12, 2015 |

    I have been called a little owl, a swan and even a “panda-fish.” No, I’m not a supernatural, shape-shifting creature or a character in a children’s storybook. I’ve just been in a few relationships where cutesy, affectionate nicknames emerged as inside jokes. […]

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  • Using Light to Monitor and Activate Specific Brain Cells

    Using Light to Monitor and Activate Specific Brain Cells

    By Ben Thomas | January 22, 2015 |

    Artist's rendering of a spatial light modulator firing precise beams of laser light at neurons targeted by researchers, triggering those neurons to fire. (Lloyd Russell/Hausser Lab) The past several years have brought two parallel revolutions in neuroscience. […]

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  • Calling It Sex When They Mean Love

    Calling It Sex When They Mean Love

    By Pere Estupinyà | December 9, 2014 |

    The saying “Why do they call it love when they mean sex?” is often used when a person feels a strong physical attraction toward another person and they camouflage it as love or a special connection. Though it’s common, the opposite phenomenon, where sex means love, also exists and it’s slowly becoming more common, especially among young people. […]

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  • How Our Brains Process Books

    How Our Brains Process Books

    By Ben Thomas | November 26, 2014 |

    Reading. (Credit: Paul Bence/Flickr) We all know how it feels to get lost in a great book. Sometimes the characters and emotions can seem every bit as real as those of our everyday lives. But what’s happening in our brains as we dive into those pages? […]

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  • Concussion Culture: How to Protect Young Athletes

    Concussion Culture: How to Protect Young Athletes

    By Laura Miele-Pascoe | November 24, 2014 |

    An imminent tackle in high school football. (Credit: Ian Kahn via Flickr) In May of 2012, former NFL linebacker Junior Seau took his own life by shooting himself in the chest. Seau was dealing with depression, mood swings and insomnia. An autopsy of Seau’s brain revealed that he suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), which Boston University’s CTE Center defines as “a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes (and others) with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic subconcussive hits to the head.” It’s a disease associated with dementia, and it can only be diagnosed posthumously. […]

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  • Why We Need to Abandon the Disease-Model of Mental Health Care

    Why We Need to Abandon the Disease-Model of Mental Health Care

    By Peter Kinderman | November 17, 2014 |

    The original English version of the DSM-5 as well as the French version of the DSM-IV-TR. (Credit: F.RdeC via Wikimedia Commons) The idea that our more distressing emotions such as grief and anger can best be understood as symptoms of physical illnesses is pervasive and seductive. […]

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