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Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy

            As someone who spends a good deal of her time daydreaming, sleeping, and generally just being sleepy, I am fascinated by sleep and sleep disorders. The fact that some people need less sleep than others (e.g., my mom only sleeps five hours a night and is fine the next day) confuses me a little. And the fact that some people (like me) can sleep twelve hours and wake up feeling as though they have just run a marathon. However, what I find the most fascinating is narcolepsy. Why do some people just fall asleep in the middle of an activity? What is it that makes them do that? What do we know about the causes and/or treatments of this? Is it a brain injury? Does this disorder affect the quality of sleep of those suffering from it?

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Malcolm Gladwell's Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking

Antonia Jauregui

Professor Grobstein

Neurobiology of Behavior

18 April 2007

 

Book Review: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

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Music and Emotional Responses in the Brain

Music is an integral part of human existence. People have made and listened to music for centuries. Different rhythms and tones evoke different responses in different people – while someone may feel nostalgia upon hearing a certain song or piece of music, someone else may feel happiness, sadness, or anger. However, relatively little research has been done until recently regarding how music affects the brain – what parts of the brain process it, if different kinds of music activate different parts of the brain, why music evokes an emotional response – to name only a few questions.

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Psychopathy and the Brain

I’ve always wondered about people who can kill and feel no remorse. It just seems incomprehensible to me. Because I don’t understand this at all, I want to know more about the brain structure of someone that we may loosely term “a psychopath.” The DSM-IV does not use this term, so I will also be talking about “antisocial disorders” at times. The two are not synonymous, but it seems clear that a psychopath must suffer from some kind of an antisocial disorder. Therefore, the neurobiological studies of antisocial disorders may have some bearing on the brain structure of psychopaths as well.

First, it is important to provide a loose definition of a psychopath. Psychopaths tend to be cruel and manipulative, and may enjoy causing pain to others. They also tend to lie compulsively, believe themselves to be perfect, and feel no remorse. (1). Psychopaths are often violent criminals, but there is also evidence that many are able to control their violent tendencies, and simply find other outlets for cruelty. They may harm animals, or be psychologically manipulative of those around them, instead of being violent. The most common characteristic of psychopaths is a lack of conscience.

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