Tag Archives: brain

ALTERED STATES: The Parallels Between Physics and the Mind

gamma ray image

All human knowledge is derived from human experience…and there can be no essential difference between the raw materials of physics and the raw materials of psychology. -E. B. Titchener (1867-1927) How does one see the unseeable? By altering the state of observation. In other words: change the rules of the game, change how we “see.” Altered states of observation are ... Read More »

OPEN CULTURE: Playing an Instrument Is a Great Workout For Your Brain — New Animation Explains Why

Get me a piano teacher, stat! When I was a child, my father, enchanted by the notion that I might someday provide live piano accompaniment to his evening cocktails, signed me up for lessons with a mild-mannered widow who—if memory serves—charged 50¢ an hour. Had I only been forced to practice more regularly, I’d have no trouble remembering the exact ... Read More »

Make your daydreams work for you

Child looking out window daydreaming

Can you engineer the “ah hah!” moment? Yes — if you’re willing to try new things and let yourself daydream. Your brain’s neural circuits interact to produce solutions when you let your mind wander, says neuroscience. We’ve all had the experience of trying hard to think of a name that has eluded us, one we “know” quite well. Very often, all ... Read More »

THE ORDER OF THE GOOD DEATH: The Dreaded Purple Cow of Death

Hi Guys A child in the Western world will inherit a cultural legacy of death suppression and denial.   Death is threatening, right? So it stands to reason that denying it would be a rather comfy way to live.  And yet, studies have shown that trying to suppress thoughts of death will only make them more prevalent. Social psychologist Daniel ... Read More »


one happy face in a bunch of sad faces happiness and environment

I’ve always had fond memories of towns with Mom and Pop storefronts along Main Street, or quaint historical districts. I’ve never really thought about why this is true, until reading the Atlantic article “Why We’re Sometimes Kind Without Reason.” Despite never having lived in this kind of place, I feel a similar fondness to what Charles Montgomery describes in this ... Read More »

MARCY AXNESS: Is Your Child Ready to Read? A Checklist

We live in a culture deeply devoted to getting its citizens to read at the earliest possible ages. Whether it’s flashcards, alphabet-focused toys, or “teachable moments about letters” sprinkled throughout daily life with toddlers and preschoolers, we seem hellbent on early reading. And parents feel little choice in the matter: sadly, a 5- or 6-year-old kindergarden student in public or ... Read More »

The Power of Story

tag cloud of storytelling

I’m from a family of storytellers. It’s the norm at gatherings for clusters to form, circles of five, sometimes ten, where we tell each other stories about our lives. It seems like conversation, but it’s storytelling. Each story relates to the previous, makes a turn, then someone jumps in to make another connection, another story, another turn. We riff off ... Read More »

Are we hallucinating when we see god?

Ancient Future by Krystleyez, a fractal image science of hallucinations

Oliver Sacks, the physician, best-selling author, and professor of neurology and psychiatry, has spent much of his life exploring hallucinations—the subject of his newest book. He believes that we are all potential hallucinators and describes such experiences of his own, his patients, and the famous, including Dostoevsky and Lewis Carroll. In an interview, he talks about hallucinations induced by psychedelics: ... Read More »

Doing Good with Data

girl with barcode tattoo that says slave

The more I learn about the directions technology is taking us, the more I wonder about the consequences of turning more and more of our life over to tools that only a few of us understand well enough to control. Technology is a tool, of course, and thus neither evil nor virtuous. And our most intimately experienced technology is our ... Read More »

Future of the Mind

microchip brain, which might be the answer to consciousness and technology

Stephen Hawking has a microchip attached to the rim of his eye glasses. It reads his brain waves, turning his thoughts into text. For lesser minds, the same chip has to be attached directly to the brain, just under the top of the scalp. Eventually, these chips will be able to receive downloads, allowing us to learn complex volumes of ... Read More »