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The Mind

Total recall: A brilliant memory helps chickadees survive

In winter, the birds must remember where they’ve hidden tens of thousands of seeds. Biologist Vladimir Pravosudov explains what this can teach us about how the brain evolves.

The brain, the criminal and the courts

States of mind that the legal system cares about — memory, responsibility and mental maturity — have long been difficult to describe objectively, but neuroscientists are starting to detect patterns. Coming soon to a courtroom near you?

Sex strategies of the evolutionary kind

For women, a short-term fling may involve a quest for good genes or just a good time. It’s a puzzle for the researchers looking at how people choose mates.

Always look on the bright side of life

How a positive outlook may buffer us from stress and ward off health problems 

Watching Alzheimer’s in action

A look inside the brains of engineered mice suggests therapies might need to target two key proteins — tau and amyloid-beta — at the same time

The quest for autism’s causes, and what it reveals about all of us

The more researchers look, the more multifaceted the risk factors appear — and the more we learn about how the brain works and develops

The inheritance enigma

Retirement is a time for spending, not saving. And yet many people hold on to their wealth. Understanding why, and where that money ends up, is of increasing importance as the US population ages. 

The power of brands, conscious and unconscious

Economists explore the complex forces that shape what ends up in your shopping cart and how that might change in the online marketplace 

Sounding out the brain

Ultrasound isn’t just for images. Sonogenetics and other promising technologies let researchers use focused sound waves to control genes and entire cells deep in the tissues of living animals, without surgery.

Why forgetting may make your mind more efficient

Evidence builds for ways that the brain actively erases memories

Reaching out to touch virtual reality

New technologies mean we won’t just see and hear digital information. We’ll also feel it.

When the brain’s waste disposal system fails

Marco Sardiello explains how problems with the cell’s lysosomes lead to disease

Bypassing paralysis

By decoding brain activity with electrical implants, computers can help disabled people move a robotic arm — or their own

How a second language can boost the brain

Being bilingual benefits children as they learn to speak — and adults as they age

A long-overlooked brain region may be key to complex thought

The thalamus has traditionally been viewed just as the brain’s sensory relay station. But it may also play an important role in higher-level cognition, MIT’s Michael Halassa explains in a Q&A.

The mind of an anthill

Can we use the tools of psychology to understand how colonies of social insects make decisions?

Top 10 secrets about stress and health

The strain of life — from everyday conflicts to major losses — can stretch our well-being to the breaking point. Here’s what scientists know, and still don’t know, about the stress-illness connection.

Fighting urban violence, one empty lot at a time

Could cleaning up neighborhoods make cities safer? Researchers are looking at novel, inexpensive solutions to crime that everyone can agree on.