The murky waters of moral mornings

This is the final entry of a three-part series of blog entries based on a series of three articles in which two teams of researchers go back and forth on what they think is the influence of time on day on our decisions. You can refresh on the original study here, and the counterargument that…

Mornings are only moral for morning people

This is Part II of a series of three blog entries, based on a series of three articles in which two teams of researchers go back and forth on what they think is the influence of time on day on our decisions. Part I was posted last Thursday, and Part III will be posted this…

Getting ZZZs to Get More As

My students have sometimes been quick to dismiss some scientific finding as obvious:¬†“Why did someone even need to do a study to show this? It’s just common sense!” Except, common sense isn’t always correct sense. And over the weekend while studying for exams, I think a great many of our students might have gone wrong…

Let sleeping babies lie in peace

Most parents are probably cautious and quiet around a sleeping baby, worried that the slightest sound will jar them from their slumber. Now, there’s even more reason to watch what you say when a sleeping baby is around,¬†because we know that even if it doesn’t wake them up, they can still hear it – and…

The Power of a Bedtime Story

My 4-year-old nephew has an eclectic taste in bed-time stories. One week my sister will find herself reading the adventures of Spryo versus The Mega Monsters, the next week recounting the emotional journey of Mo Willem’s Knuffle Bunny, and the next reading captions out of Smithsonian’s Human: The Definitive Visual Guide. (Yes, at my nephew’s…

To Wake, Perchance to Remember (Your Dreams)

My morning coffee is often accompanied by a series of text messages from my sister relaying her latest bizarre dream. The latest installments the Annals of Sisterly Nighttime Hallucinations have featured piano sheet music composed by threading different colors of cross-stitch floss, a dryad guilt-tripping her for standing on rotten acorns, being left to be…

How many states of consciousness?

Although I have let doctors administer drugs that would alter my consciousness – most notably, nitrous oxide for a wisdom tooth extraction – I have not yet had a compelling reason to let them remove me from consciousness entirely. Which is just as well, since anesthesia has only been around since 1846¬†(younger than 28 states)…

Mindfully balancing work and life

The buzzword of modern America seems to be “work-life balance”. While some have stepped forward to say that we’re thinking about the relationship between work and life all wrong, they are still a minority whose voices are drowned out by the thunderous advice from the news media, therapists, and even some employers about how we…

Asleep in the MRI Scanner

When I half-woke in the middle of a very vivid dream, I made a sleepy mental note to look into the neurological research of dreaming. I could almost still see the vibrant colors and meticulous detail of the pins and fabric around my sewing machine, and I was certain neurons in my visual cortex must…

To Sleep, Perchance to Learn

As adorable newborn babies are when they sleep, it can sometimes be baffling that they spend so much of their days in this state – and not just because that means they don’t spend enough of their nights asleep. They don’t seem to have done enough work to be exhausted, and they have so much…