Posts Tagged ‘literature’


How Our Brains Process Books

In my latest article for Scientific American, I dig into some fascinating new research on reading. In this study, the researchers software that could actually predict what a person was reading about, just by seeing scans of their brain activity. What did these scans reveal about how our brains render fictional worlds? Could this research […]


Into the Labyrinth

Have you ever found that the more obsessed you become with a certain topic, the more references to it keep spontaneously appearing in your life? That’s what’s been happening to me over the past few weeks, as I’ve spent just about every free moment preparing and polishing my TED talk. The talk is a celebration of one of […]


Why I Love and Hate "Game"

Yes, it’s that special time of year again – time for flamboyant bouquets and chalky candy to appear at office desks – time for Facebook pages to drown in cloying iconography – time for self-labeled “forever aloners” to dredge the back alleys of OKCupid in last-ditch desperation – and time for me to load up my trusty gatling […]

Harry Potter and the Nature of the Self

Yup, this is what we’re doing today. I finally got to see Deathly Hallows Part 2, and it got me thinking about neuroscience like frickin’ everything always does, and I came home and wrote an essay about the nature of consciousness in the Harry Potter universe. And we’re going to talk about it, because it’s […]

Ruining the Ending

Plot spoilers don’t seem to hurt our enjoyment of movies or books at all, a new study shows – in fact, they actually increase our pleasure. What a twist! In a series of experiments, volunteers consistently rated short stories as significantly more enjoyable when they got to read a spoiler-y intro, or when spoilers were inserted […]

I once tried to talk my roommate into hanging a print of this above the fireplace.

The Fascination of the Abomination

a.k.a. “From Blackwood to Coppola: Apocalypse Now as Weird Tale” Have you ever watched a movie that was so scary you couldn’t look away? For as long as I can remember – and probably longer – I’ve been intrigued by monsters. At preschool age, I possessed what my parents called an “overactive imagination,” and a […]

Digitoneurolinguistic Hacking

In view of all the seriousness I’ve been writing about lately, I decided it was time to post an XKCD comic that made me laugh so hard I snorted hot chocolate through my nose. Click the image below to embiggen! Here’s a short blog post that explains a little more about digitoneurolinguistic hacking. It seems […]

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