Collective Mental Time Travel Can Influence the Future

Collective Mental Time Travel Can Influence the Future

We’re often customs to “be here now.” Yet the mind is rarely tethered in place. We take mental trips to our past, revisiting what happened yesterday or when we were children, or we project into an imagined future: tomorrow’s dinner date, the trajectory of our career at age 50. Rather than a diversion from the … Read more

TikTok’s Greatest Asset Isn’t Its Algorithm—It’s Your Phone

TikTok’s Greatest Asset Isn’t Its Algorithm—It’s Your Phone

TikTok’s Ascent Two becoming the most popular site on the internet has sparked endless discussions about its stickiness—as if it were capable of hacking our normal cognitive pathways and transmitting messages straight into our brains. For the most part, critical analysis attributes the platform’s effectiveness to its seemingly all-powerful algorithm. Technology critics like Eleanor Cummins … Read more

This Brain Molecule Decides Which Memories Are Happy—or Terrible

This Brain Molecule Decides Which Memories Are Happy—or Terrible

Further evidence of this bias comes from the reaction of the mice when they were first put into learning situations. Before they knew whether the new associations would be positive or negative, the release of neurotensin from their thalamic neurons decreased. The researchers speculate that new stimuli are assigned a more negative valence automatically until … Read more

The Quest to Treat Binge-Eating and Addiction—With Brain Zaps

The Quest to Treat Binge-Eating and Addiction—With Brain Zaps

“It may be that stimulation of the nucleus accumbens altered the reward circuitry in the brain such that it turned down the volume on the pleasurable craving that patients with alcohol use disorder feel when they see or are around alcoholic beverages,” says Nir Lipsman, the study’s principal investigator and a neurosurgeon at Sunnybrook Health … Read more

‘The Last of Us’ Makes Players Feel Really Bad—And That’s Great

‘The Last of Us’ Makes Players Feel Really Bad—And That’s Great

An enemy combatant pokes their head over the barrier they’re hiding behind. With one shot they crumple to the ground, dead. As their companions scramble to attack or flee, they’re quickly dispatched as well. In the course of just minutes, a dozen formerly living beings lay strewn lifelessly across a room. This scenario plays out … Read more

What It Means to ‘Feel Normal’ Online

What It Means to ‘Feel Normal’ Online

Despite the flood of investigative exposés on dataveillance, users in the United States seem more enmeshed than ever in those infrastructures, as if they are responding with a collective shrug—“I know, but all the same.” It’s not just naivete on the part of users; it’s more accurate to think of big data as something that … Read more

The High Cost of Living Your Life Online

The High Cost of Living Your Life Online

To pray online is to be constantly exposed. While it may seem normal, it’s a level of exposure we’ve never dealt with before as human beings. We’re posting on Twitter, and people we’ve never met are responding with their thoughts and criticisms. People are looking at your latest Instagram selfie. They’re literally swiping on your … Read more

The Problem With Mental Health Bots

The Problem With Mental Health Bots

Teresa Berkowitz’s experiences with therapists had been hit or miss. “Some good, some helpful, some just a waste of time and money,” she says. When some childhood trauma was reactivated six years ago, instead of connecting with a flesh-and-blood human, Berkowitz—who’s in her fifties and lives in the US state of Maine—downloaded Youper, a mental … Read more