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The Mind

Out of the mouth of babes

Learning a language is child’s play, but linguists are still trying to understand how children do it so easily

Treating the growing trauma of family separation

War, disasters, trafficking and immigration are tearing millions of children from their parents all around the world. A psychologist explores how to help them recover.

Living with chronic illness: Why some cope and others don’t

What helps some people diagnosed with cancer, heart disease or diabetes stay relatively happy and healthy, while others are devastated? Psychologist Vicki Helgeson explains the traits and mindsets that can make the difference.

Why scientists need to be better at data visualization

The scientific literature is riddled with bad charts and graphs, leading to misunderstanding and worse. Avoiding design missteps can improve understanding of research.  

What electronic games can teach us

Digital play can enhance certain types of learning, but how to harness that potential for the classroom remains a prize question

How maternal mood shapes the developing brain

Stress and anxiety during pregnancy can mean a higher risk of offspring developing ADHD, depression or other conditions. Medical psychologist Catherine Monk explains how prenatal mental care benefits mothers and babies.

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 

Short-circuiting the suicide cascade

Psychologists are seeking better ways to cut the link between dire thoughts and fatal action. Among their strategies: individualized plans for pulling back from the brink, and limiting access to deadly means, especially guns.

Listening to ketamine

The fast-acting drug offers a new way to treat depression and fathom its origins. Recent approval of a nasal spray promises to expand access, but much remains unknown about long-term use and the potential for abuse.

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

Why speech is a human innovation

Many animals have the equipment for spoken language, but only people have all the right neural connections

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.

Reaching out to touch virtual reality

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