In This Issue: Hacking the Soul
Neuroscience’s New Toolbox
Optogenetics and other new techniques mean scientists can begin to pinpoint the function of the thousands of different types of neurons among the roughly 86 billion in the human brain.
Shining Light on Madness
Drugs for psychiatric illnesses aren’t very effective. But new research is offering renewed hope for better medicines.
The Thought Experiment
In a remarkable study, a paralyzed woman used her mind to control a robotic arm. If only there were a realistic way to get this technology out of the lab and into real life.
Searching for the “Free Will” Neuron
Gabriel Kreiman’s single-neuron measurements of unconscious decision-making may not topple Descartes, but they could someday point to ways we can learn to control ourselves.
What Am I Thinking About You?
Knowing how the brain deals with other people could lead to smarter computers.
The Importance of Feelings
The neuroscientist Antonio Damasio explains how minds emerge from emotions and feelings.
The Promise and Perils of Manipulating Memory
Fundamental discoveries about the nature of memory could lead to new treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, and anxiety.
Eavesdropping on Neurons
A new automated version of one of neuroscience’s most important techniques, patch clamping, makes it much easier and faster for scientists to tap into the inner workings of brain cells.
The Cross-Section of Memory
Neuroscientists at MIT’s Picower Institute have demonstrated that optogenetics can be used to place false memories in the brains of lab rodents.