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Exploring the Uncanny Valley

With bright red lips, rosy cheeks, and painted smiles, clowns are creepy. They make us balloons shaped like puppies, dance, and tell jokes — they even come out of small clown cars, all to make us laugh. So why are these (supposedly) beloved clowns so unnerving? It’s because of the “uncanny valley” [ … ]

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Music, Rhythm, and the Brain

Music is part of our life. Music has had deep roots in human culture throughout history. Listening to, enjoying, or playing music sometimes gives us pleasure, sadness, comfort, and even touches us deeply, causing life-changing experiences. Why does music have such a powerful affect on our brain? [ … ]

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Colorful Language: How Synesthetes Perceive Words

Although the phenomenon of synesthesia has been known for centuries, it is only in the last 20 years or so (since scientists developed brain-imaging technology) that synesthesia has been seriously studied. In 1995, Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen, a Cambridge University neuroscientist, headed a team that undertook brain-imaging studies [ … ]

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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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Game Theory: A Q&A with Dr. Adam Gazzaley

Dr. Adam Gazzaley has studied attention, memory, and perception for 25 years. He earned his M.D. and Ph.D. in neuroscience at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York before completing a clinical residency in neurology at the University of Pennsylvania and postdoctoral training in cognitive neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley. [ … ]

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Until Inspiration Comes Along: 5 Habits of Creative People

You may still be a writer in search of an agent, or an artist in search of a patron, but you’re determined to get that first creative endeavor finished some time this year and show the world what you’ve got. Here are just a few habits that creative people — many of them well-known — practice daily. Feel free to make them your own, and pretty soon you’ll be creating your masterwork. [ … ]

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Finding the Spark: 5 Myths About Creativity

Our brains have the power to find a path where none is visible, and to make new paths where none have been set. But we tend to be confined to the personality we have experienced, to the self we know, and find it difficult to move beyond it. This limits our own creativity. It is when we go beyond what [ … ]