In 2005 neuroscientist Rodrigo Quian Quiroga published a paper identifying single neurons that would light up in an individual's brain every time that person saw a particular celebrity—Jennifer Aniston and Michael Jordan were two examples. As amusing and remarkable as this finding seemed, even more than a decade later, researchers are still no closer to understanding how neurons firing in certain brain areas leads to recognition of faces or, most important, how the brain controls specific behaviors in the human body.
Looking for new ways to study this mystifying organ, researchers are now turning to computer science algorithms to help them gather data on the brain. Their discoveries could mean big strides in creating brain-controlled prosthetic devices. Helen Shen covers these exciting new findings in this issue’s cover story, “Cracking the Brain’s Enigma Code.”
There are other surprising findings this month. In “The Importance of Fostering Emotional Diversity in Boys,” June Gruber and Jessica L. Borelli reveal new research that suggests that boys may be more emotional than girls but are culturally trained away from displaying those emotions. As David Z. Hambrick and Madeline Marquardt write in “Bad News for the Highly Intelligent,” people with higher IQs tend to be more successful and longer-lived but also grapple with more mental health disorders. And Angus Chen examines the nuanced psychological impacts of our smartphone culture (“Social Notworking: Is Generation Smartphone Really More Prone to Unhappiness?”). As always, enjoy!