Are you good with faces? Would you be able to recognise someone you’ve only met once before? Some of us are better at remembering faces than others. But most of us take for granted being able to recognise our family and friends. What if you couldn’t? Face-blindness Being able to recognise my partner, kids and parents is something I completely take for granted. But for one in fifty people, it’s by no means a given. That’s how […]
Making eye contact with someone is powerful: at the very least, it shows you’re listening attentively. But how long before holding someone’s gaze starts to feel uncomfortable? And why is it hard to maintain eye contact and think at the same time? Can’t take my eyes off you From birth, we prefer looking at faces that look directly at us. And from a very early age, our brains respond more to a face looking […]
Is it a bird? Or a plane? No, it’s a baby. When we think of babies, it’s easy to focus on all the things they can’t do – walk, talk, look after themselves, or think like we do. But there are also plenty of things babies can do that we can’t. And few of us are aware of the ‘superpowers’ we’ve lost. Seeing is believing Are you good at remembering faces? Most of us do a decent […]
We’ve all heard about ‘clever’ animals... learning to use tools, communicate complex information and solve problems. But can animals count?
Do you doodle? Sketch? Or like many people, were you told at some point you were bad at drawing and gave it up completely? While virtually all kids draw, few adults do. But there’s good evidence we should all pull out our coloured pencils: drawing and doodling improve focus and memory and can help us learn. Is drawing a thing of the past? In days gone by, drawing was an important and valued skill in a variety […]
Got any bad habits? Smoking, biting your nails, compulsively checking your email or heading to the vending machine every day at 3pm? We’ve all got habits we’d like to break. Perhaps there are a few new habits you’d like to adopt too. What can science tell us about how to do it? Your brain on autopilot Ever arrived somewhere in your car and realised you have no memory of having driven there? Do you remember […]
Do you often forget things? Wish you had a better memory? Me too. But there’s a far more sinister way your memory may be failing you. Being positive you remember an event is actually no guarantee it ever happened. Your memory is fickle It’s tempting to think our memories work like video recorders: faithfully recording our surroundings, thoughts and feelings. We can accept our brains might not have room for everything, so we end up holding […]
Your panic is rising. The walls are closing in. You’re sweating, trembling, having trouble breathing and on the verge of fainting. It’s claustrophobia and it’s all-consuming. Many people experience claustrophobia and it can be utterly debilitating. Why, and what can be done? When the ceiling is too close Last week, I had an MRI. And for the first time, I had an inkling of what claustrophobia must feel like. I couldn’t see out either end of […]
You may not have noticed, but you spend about ten per cent of the time you’re awake with your eyes closed. I’m talking about the fact you blink your eyes every few seconds. Why do we blink so often and why don’t we notice the world plunge into darkness every time we do? Be clean, eyeball If you’re awake for 16 hours a day, you have your eyes closed for more than an hour and […]
Virtually all amputees experience ongoing sensations in their missing limb, and many also experience intense pain: phantom limb pain. How on earth can you treat pain in a body part that doesn’t exist? And what is causing the pain in the first place?