It turned out that it wasn’t magnetic intervention alone that could make the subjects less aware of their partners’ feelings. Reducing the time they were exposed to the images and the tactile stimuli and rushing them to guess about their partner’s emotions did too. The more time and attention they could devote to thinking empathically, the more sensitive they became.

— Bunnies, Stinkbugs and Maggots: The Secrets of Empathy

Cognitive Taxes

In a series of experiments run by researchers at Princeton, Harvard, and the University of Warwick, low-income people who were primed to think about financial problems performed poorly on a series of cognition tests, saddled with a mental load that was the equivalent of losing an entire night’s sleep. Put another way, the condition of poverty imposed a mental burden akin to losing 13 IQ points, or comparable to the cognitive difference that’s been observed between chronic alcoholics and normal adults.

— How Poverty Taxes the Brain

In the Lead

The lead paint industry may, in fact, be on the verge of defeating the last major legal assault by municipalities and states seeking damages to pay for lead removal.

The industry has prevailed in past cases despite evidence that executives knew more than a century ago that lead paint is hazardous, yet audaciously promoted it as healthful…

— How the Paint Industry Escapes Responsibility for Lead Poisoning

Musical Memory

When British conductor and musician Clive Wearing contracted a brain infection in 1985 he was left with a memory span of only 10 seconds.

The infection — herpes encephalitis — left him unable to recognise people he had seen or remember things that had been said just moments earlier.

But despite being acknowledged by doctors as having one of the most severe cases of amnesia ever, his musical ability and much of his musical memory was intact.

Martin Vennard: How can musicians keep playing despite amnesia?