Why Buying an Animatronic Second Head Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

An Expert on the Neuroscience of Impulse Control Explains His Craziest Purchase

Everybody has one head. I’ve got two!

One sits atop my neck, the other stares back at me. A constant reminder of my craziest-ever impulse buy.

Let me explain.

A few years ago, I impulsively purchased a life cast head fitted out with electronics. My animatronic doppelgänger can blink, wink, and move its lips in sync with my recorded voice. It is an altogether strange and rather disturbing companion that each time we exchange glances makes me wonder what ever possessed me to buy it in the first place.

I tell …

Black and White Aren’t Opposites After All

Neuroscientists Are Still Cracking the Puzzle of Why Our Brains Process Light and Darkness Asymmetrically

Most people see the world in color, yet artists can conjure up whole worlds—both realistic and imaginary—by using black pigments on white paper. Our ability to understand these drawings suggests …

When You Say Go Jump Off a Cliff, I Feel It

Benjamin K. Bergen Explains the Astonishing Workings of Language in Homo Sapiens

In Squaring Off, Zócalo invites authors into the public square to answer five questions about the essence of their books. For this round, we pose questions to UC San Diego …

You Won’t Sound Like Santana-At First

Psychologist Gary Marcus On Learning When Old (or Older)

What inspired an accomplished scientist with no known musical aptitude to learn to play guitar just before turning 40? At an event co-presented by Kaiser Permanente in front of a …