Reading a horse’s mind and brain

I cannot say that I have ever given horse brains much thought. Monkey brains, rat brains, even sea slug brains have played a much greater role in our understanding of modern neuroscience. Horses do make at least one appearance in psychology, in the form of the cautionary tale of Clever Hans, who demonstrated that horses are at the very…

Not quite ready to call squishing bugs “sadism”

I admit, I have sometimes wondered what leads people into the career euphemistically we might euphemistically call “pest control” or more realistically declare “extermination”. I have been greatly relieved that people have chosen such career paths and are so available to handle wasp nests in my attic, and unable to fathom why anyone would opt to spend…

Of Mice and Humans

I can usually predict how my students will react to claims about brains and development that are based on rodent research – and no, it has nothing to do with a squeamishness about mice. If they think the ultimate claim being made is cool and interesting, like the way that mice seem to genetically inherit…

Inheriting Your Parents’ Learning

In my favorite fantasy world, the Discworld, Death – yes, the skeleton with the robe and scythe – has a granddaughter, Susan, and Susan has an unusual birthmark: when she gets angry, and her face flushes red, and three white lines appear on her cheek, almost like an afterimage of being slapped. Susan was raised…

The brain within the brain

Fractals are fascinating because no matter how close you zoom in, you find a crystal clear picture just as complex as the original – often sharing the same structure as the original. Look closely at the brain fractal below, and you will see many smaller brains inside it; if not for the limits of JPEG…

A Stegosaurus and Octopus Get Into a Brain Fight

One of the young boys in my family is currently all about dinosaurs (and monster trucks, living up to all little boy traditions). He is knowledgable enough about them to name the lovely specimen with the incredibly long neck an Apatosaurus, not Brontosaurus, putting his knowledge a caliber above mine at that age. But he…