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Responses to Pain: What accounts for certain differences?

This semester, our class attemptedto tackle the perception of pain. Where exactly does it come from? Moreimportantly, what is pain?

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The Accidental Mind

In almost every piece of literatureon the brain that I have encountered during my short time as a neurobiologystudent has described the design of the brain in a rather organized manner,implying that the brain is a perfectly systematic entity. For the bookcommentary assignment, I decided to read The Accidental Mind: How BrainEvolution Has Given Us Love, Memory, Dreams and God by David Linden, a scientific novel that contests the idea of thebrain as a perfectly organized entity and how its evolving design overthousands of years lead to certain phenomenon of the brain that cease to amazeeven to this day.

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So, I'm really, really afraid of spiders: Phobias and the Brain

        While having a picnic in a park one sunny afternoon, a small spider crawls onto the picnic blanket of two friends. From a distance,both friends are noticeably afraid of the spider, but upon further observation,one of the friends is displaying fear solely in reaction to the spiderappearing on the blanket while the other is panic stricken. What is the cause of the different reactions?

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Savant

 

 

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This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession

Having the opportunity to take Biology 103 this semester has allowed me to take on a whole new perspective on Biology, and life, in general. I found that in my traditional biology class in high school, we were simply taught certain things about life but not taught to think about why these things have come to be. In the beginning of this course, we tackled with the question of evolution. We knew that evolution was a good story to explain the diversity of life on Earth but had to figure out if it explained the ‘clumpy’ organization of life. Evolution is, in fact, an

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Building Mental Bridges: Episodic Memory In Animals

I have had my cat, Tiger, for nine years and often I wonder how much of the nine years he remembers. Being able to remember our past is one of the many attributes that makes us unique as humans but one has to wonder: do animals have memories? There is no doubt that animals-especially house pets- can remember certain things, such as tricks to receive treats and the time of day in which they are fed, but can they use these memories as advantages for the future? This phenomenon, first coined episodic memory in 1972 by Canadian psychologist Endel Tulving, is defined as “a type of long term memory…characteristically stored

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Over 36 million people wear them, but how do they work?

My mother could not believe my decision, she thought I was crazy. But I was going to be a junior in high school and I thought this decision would make my life so much easier. So, at the dismay of my mother, I went to the vision center closest to my home, sat in front of my optometrist and said to him “I want contact lenses”. It took me about a week of putting the lenses in and taking them out for me to be completely comfortable with placing my finger near my eyeball, a practice that my mother found repulsive. I’m not judging her opinion, as an avid eyeglass wearer since the fifth grade; I too thought the

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The Brain and Lefties: What is the Connection?

            For as long as I could remember, I was just like my elementary and middle school classmates. We played the same games, enjoyed the same songs and laughed at the same jokes but it was not until I walked in the classroom on the first day of high school did I know I was different. My difference did not have to do with my clothes or the kind of backpack I decided to wear that day but simply with the hand I had chosen to write with: my left hand. I scanned the classroom for a left-handed desk, but to no avail. I was forced to sit uncomfortably at a

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