The Frontal Cortex

Archives for August, 2009

Harold and the Purple Crayon

One of my favorite aspects of the modern cognitive sciences (and a big part of the reason I can’t stop writing about them) is the way they shed new light on old rituals. Why, for instance, are so many games for young children centered around impulse control? (Consider “Simon Says” or “Duck-Duck-Goose” – these activities…

Information Addiction

I finally got the internet setup in my new apartment – I won’t bore you with my customer service complaints – and I’ve never been so delighted to waste time on the web. At first, my information vacation was lovely, charming, an experiment in vintage living. It was like traveling back in time to 1994…

Identity Delusions

Benedict Carey at the Times has an interesting article documenting the harrowing story of Adam Lepak, who has struggled with identity delusions since 2007, when he was involved in a serious motorcycle accident: The diagnosis [given to Adam] was diffuse axonal injury. “The textbook definition is essentially a blow that shuts down the bundle of…

The Perry Preschool

Sometimes, while working on a story one comes across a data set that’s so interesting it just has to be shared. Unfortunately, it can’t quite be shoehorned into the tight narrative of the article. That’s why God invented the sidebar. My recent story on grit included a sidebar on some incredibly important work from the…

Los Angeles

Apologies for the radio silence – I’ve been moving across the country, my life in a big metal box. I’m leaving Boston (sadly) and just arrived in Los Angeles, my old hometown and new home. Whenever I first arrive in LA, I’m always struck by the same two thoughts: 1) it really is a beautiful…

Grit

I had an article in Boston Globe Ideas section on the psychology of grit. For more on the subject, check out the incredibly interesting work of Angela Duckworth. You can also take the grit survey here. It’s the single most famous story of scientific discovery: in 1666, Isaac Newton was walking in his garden outside…

Ketchup

I’m a ketchup fiend. When I was a little kid, I was famous for squirting my plastic bottle of Heinz on everything, from spaghetti to vanilla ice cream. I’ve seen become slightly less disgusting – I no longer eat frozen dairy products with the condiment – but I still go through a disturbing number of…