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At A Loss for Words: Your Brain on Writer’s Block

He’d lost his magic. The impulse was spent. His talent was dead.” So opens “The Humbling,” one of the last novels by celebrated author Philip Roth. Although it tells the story of a washed up stage actor at the end of his career, these three short sentences sum up what every writer dreads the most — losing whatever it is that drives them to write every day, finding themselves unable to do the very thing that keeps them relevant. [ … ]

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“Yanny” Versus “Laurel”: When Your “Reality” is Open to Interpretation

It’s the return of the great “What color is this dress?” controversy of 2015, but in audio form. By the time I had heard “Laurel” I immediately began researching the reasons for the differences of opinion. Some had said age matters, or what kind of speakers you are listening to with, or if you have some kind of hearing loss, but I had a chance to immediately put this to the test. [ … ]

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Epigenetics: Where Consciousness Meets DNA

The study of epigenetics is illuminating more of the intricacies of how our genes affect, and are affected by, our life. “Epi” comes from Greek, meaning “upon,” “over,” or “near,” so epigenetics is the study of mechanisms “on top of” or “near” the classical mechanisms that affect gene expression. I [ … ]

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Dreaming on Demand: Becoming A Lucid Dreamer

Lucid dreaming is the act of dreaming while maintaining consciousness during the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep. This type of dreaming allows you to tell yourself that “you are dreaming” without waking up. Awake consciousness, if used correctly, gives one the opportunity to keep on participating in the dream while defining it to be something else. [ … ]

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Road Map of the Mind: Understanding Functional MRI

What if I told you it was possible to read, or even hear, your thoughts? Mind reading has been the stuff of science fiction for some time — something that 50 years ago would have been thought impossible. Even today, there’s quite a bit of doubt, but what can be seen is the activity across brain regions each time we produce thoughts. While sending messages through brain waves [ … ]