What is neurodiversity?

People think, learn, behave, and experience the world around them in many different ways. Some of this diversity is due to neurological differences. Neurodiversity refers to those variations in neurocognitive functioning. Let’s have a look at the origin of the term, and its usefulness in research and practice. A short primer on neurodiversity The term …

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How to become a brain myth buster

Did you know that the more you are interested in how the brain works, the more likely you are to believe in neuromyths? Neuromyths are common misconceptions about the brain. Their source can be innocent — people who genuinely believe in those myths — or plain unethical, such as the case of marketers promoting brain …

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An introduction to applied neuroscience

There are many different fields of research in neuroscience. Molecular and cellular neuroscience explores how neurons express and respond to molecular signals, and how they process signals at a physiological and electrochemical level. Cognitive and behavioural neuroscience explores the neurobiological processes that underlie cognition and behaviour. Computational neuroscience uses mathematical models to understand the features …

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The Goldilocks Principle of Stress and Anxiety

As I was chatting with a friend, we noticed that we both felt incredibly excited and anxious about the work we were currently doing. We could not come up with the right word to describe that exact feeling: we were stressed, yes, but not in a negative way. We did worry about the outcome of …

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Impossible colors: our vision’s incomplete palette

We take the way we see the world for granted. But our experience of the world is shaped in part by our visual system—which is both extremely complex and limited. Impossible colors, which are sometimes called non-physical colors, are a great reminder to not consider our perception of the visual world the only possible experience. …

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Brain-training games are BS

“Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day!” claims the fifteen-year old Nintendo brain-training app, also known as Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training. The app consists of mini-games supposedly designed to stimulate various parts of the brain and help combat normal aging effects on the brain. The latest version was released early 2020 in Europe …

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Beyond human consciousness

“What is it like to be a bat?” famously asked Thomas Nagel in 1974 in The Philosophical Review. It may sound like a silly question, but it has profound implications. We quite literally make sense of the world through our touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste. Our sense of space in particular is governed in …

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The Evolution of Consciousness: a talk by Dr Derek Tracy

These are raw notes from a lecture Dr Derek Tracy gave at UCL on March 2nd 2020. Dr Derek Tracy is a psychiatrist and clinical director at Oxleas NHS and Bexley Care, as well as a senior lecturer in the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College London, and at UCL’s division of …

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Somewhere over the brainbow: a beautiful neuroimaging technique

In the late 1800s, researchers discovered a technique to stain neurons black. Called the Golgi’s method after its inventor Camillo Golgi, an Italian physician and scientist, it allowed us to discover a number of new facts about the organisation of the nervous system, and gave rise to the neuron doctrine—the concept that the nervous system …

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The genetics of happiness: does happiness really depend upon ourselves?

“Happiness depends upon ourselves” is a quote often attributed to Aristotle. It is supposedly up to the individual to create their own happiness. Throughout the centuries, people have spent lots of time, energy, and money in the quest for happiness. Today, billions are being spent on self-help books, aromatherapy, coaches, and even mood-enhancing crystals, all …

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