Posts Tagged ‘fear’

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Researchers “Copy and Paste” Fear From One Memory to Another

In this article for Discover Magazine, I explore a new set of experiments that sound like the plot of a bizarre sci-fi movie: Researchers taught a group of mice to fear a certain section of a maze, then electronically copied the mice’s fear from that memory and pasted it onto a different memory! How the hell did […]

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Becoming Bad

The brains of psychopaths are anatomically different from healthy brains in a specific set of ways, says a new study. Areas of the brain that enable us to feel guilt and fear, and to understand other people’s emotions – particularly the anterior rostral prefrontal cortex and the temporal poles – are significantly smaller in psychopathic […]

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5 Ways to Fight the Blues…with Science!

So you’re stuck in that mid-week slump…the weekend lies on the other side of a scorching desert of work, and you have no canteen because you gave up water for Lent (in this metaphor, “water” refers to alcohol…just to be clear). But fear not! Neuroscience knows how to cheer you up! Nope, this isn’t another […]

Stress Intervention

Scientists have discovered a way to shut down the brain’s “stress process” before it gets going, says a new study. By blocking the brain’s ability to manufacture certain chemicals called neurosteroids, researchers have managed to temporarily cut off a biological process crucial for stressful behavior – and for many stressful feelings as well. Animals from amphibians […]

Psychopathic Anatomy

The brains of psychopaths have a significant physical difference from those of non-psychopaths, says a new study. In a psychopath’s brain, white matter (connective neural tissue) links between the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and amygdala are unusually weak. This means a major brain area involved in anticipating risk (the vmPFC) is only weakly connected with an area […]

Chemical Parasites

A certain brain parasite actually turns off people’s feelings of fear by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter chemical dopamine, says a new study. Toxoplasma gondii, a parasitic protozoan (a kind of single-celled organism), mostly likes to live in the brains of cats – but it also infects birds, mice, and about 10 to 20 percent of people in the U.S. […]

The Sound of Fear

A certain inaudible sound frequency may directly trigger feelings of “creepiness” and physical symptoms of fear, one scientist says. A sound frequency of around 19hz – just below the range of human hearing – has been detected in several “haunted” places, including a laboratory where staff had reported inexplicable feelings of panic, and and a pub […]

Facing Fear

New neuroscientific studies are shedding light on the allure of dark forests and eerie old houses…and cliff diving. In psychology, this drive to explore the unusual is one manifestation of the behavior pattern known as “sensation-seeking” – the tendency to pursue intense, novel experiences out of curiosity, or just for the sheer joy of excitement. Though the […]

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