Blame the Brain, Not Bolsonaro, for Brazil’s Riots

Neuroscience Shows That We’re Wired to Rebel—But Also That We’ve Evolved to Do Better

Why do people take part in insurrections, like the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the storming of the presidential residence in Sri Lanka, or January’s sacking of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the presidential palace in Brazil?

Sometimes, that question is answered by pointing to precipitating events—elections and their results, protests that descend into anger, or the speeches of powerful demagogues. On other occasions, we blame insurrections on prejudices, or bigotries—racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, white nationalism.

I’d suggest that we think about insurrections differently—because they originate in our brains.

Indeed, I’d …

How the Evolution of the Human Brain Led Us to God

Advances in Neuroscience Link Our Cognitive Development to Our Idea of the Divine

The human brain is the most intriguing object in the universe, populated with 100 billion neurons connected by nerve fibers, which, if laid end to end, could circle the earth …

Empathy’s Evolution in the Human Imagination

What Began as an Aesthetic Response to Art Is Now a Highly Complex Neurochemical Reaction

Empathy seems to be one of the most “natural” emotions, but before 1908, no one in the English-speaking world had heard of it.

And when it did appear, “empathy” was …

Does Philosophy Hold Crucial Insights for the Neuroscience of Inspiration?

How Charles Taylor's Exploration of Language is Shedding Light on the Link Between Reading and Big Ideas

In a passage in Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert wrote one of history’s most beautiful descriptions of language: “Human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we beat crude rhythms …

Why People Abandon High-Tech Prosthetics

That Luke Skywalker Prosthetic Arm May Strike the Average User as Less Than Sensational

You’ve probably seen the Frozen, Iron Man, and Star Wars prosthetics—intended to boost the confidence of kids with missing limbs. Now you can even meet the first man with the …