Teaching

A group of runners, heavy in body, are shown running along a parklike path.

When Sorrows Come

Until recently, and even in common accounts today, bodily and mental ills were viewed as separate afflictions. Although hysteria and currents of magnetic fluids provided physical hypotheses for some mental disorders, the psychoses that most distorted reality were interpreted as outcomes of warring forces of the psyche, employing energies and entities—libido, cathexis, superego—that could not …

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A couple is shown dancing the tango.

Empathy

The social involvement of our brains is amazing. A thoroughly social brain doesn’t come to us just through biological evolution. A baby’s brain must be shaped by interactions with caregivers for optimal development. That is to say, brain development is not programmed entirely by genes but interacts with the environment beginning in the embryo. This …

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A diagram shows the presynaptic and postsynaptic parts of a synapse.

Glia and Learning

You can’t learn something unless you almost know it already. Decades ago, that principle was known as Martin’s law. There’s a corollary: It’s harder to learn something strange than something familiar; or, new learning builds on old learning. These old observations are true for nonassociative learning, like habituation, and for associative learning, which asserts itself …

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