Last week, a manatee was found in Florida waters, with the word ‘Trump’ scraped on its back. Although this kind of ruthless mutilation is horrific in itself, I started wondering if the animal felt any kind of pain. I must admit, up until I came across the news about what happened to the manatee in … More On the nature of pain
Our experience with animals has shown us that they are not mindless creatures, functioning solely based on their instincts, as Skinner’s behaviourism suggests. In fact, many animals exert characteristics generally thought to be uniquely human. This idea is important not only because it challenges our efforts to answer the ancient question of what actually makes … More Animals are more than we think: Empathy and social intelligence in animals
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common mood disorder and a great cause of disability worldwide. Biological factors implicated in MDD range from neural imbalances to signaling dysregulations (which are partly grounded in genetic predispositions). As shown in Figure 1, the socio-cognitive and biological deficiencies involved in MDD appear to influence each other in a … More The biological implications of meditation practices in the treatment of depression
This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! […] The dark thought, the shame, the malice. Meet them at the door laughing and invite them in. Be grateful for whatever comes. Because … More The biology of meditation. How meditating can change your brain
We, as scientists, have become desensitized to the pain, the distress and the physical and emotional damage that we inflict on laboratory animals. So much so, that we constantly find justifications for our cruel experiments in the goal of finding cures for the illnesses of our conspecifics, and in the rules and regulations that authorize … More Forced to suffer for science: From animal cruelty and experimental inefficiency to a change of perspective.
In this article, I will tell you guys about my clinical experience in an extotic and remarkable country. In November 2018, I completed a four-week Mental Health Foundation Placement in Sri Lanka, as a volunteer for the organisation SLV.Global. When I decided to join this placement, I was extremely interested in the culture of this … More Volunteering in Sri Lanka
While most of us would be able to describe what being affectively close to someone feels like, we might find it harder to explain why and how such a connection forms. Why do we love and what makes us love certain people? Why is love so different depending on the subject of our affection? Is … More Oxytocin and Social Bonding
What is fear? Why are we sometimes afraid? Can fear be inhibited? What produces fear – the brain or the heart? It is definitely the brain! More exactly, something in the brain – a tiny, almond-shaped structure, which sits anteriorly to the hippocampus, called the amygdala. This small part of our brain is to blame for … More Fear and the amygdala
If you were to answer the question “What differentiates humans from other organisms on Earth?”, you would probably list a number of things, including the ability of humans to make “free choices” dictated by their consciousness, rather than by something organic. Am I right? What if someone told you that this is not actually the … More Consciousness – Who decides, you or your brain?
I’m warning you, this is going to be a long one! But it’s interesting, I promise. There is a lot of confusion and mixed opinions when it comes to depression. Some people use the term inappropriately, to describe what is in fact grief (the feeling of sadness that humans, and presumably other animals, experience after … More Depression and why some of us are SAD