The week of April 10, 2016

Mysteries of the Brain

The promise and peril of DIY electrical brain stimulation

By Anna Denejkina

While transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has shown some effectiveness in treating mood disorders, some manufacturers tout tDCS devices as cognitive cure-alls. That has scientists worried.

Features

The harsh truth about speed-reading

By Simon Oxenham

Spoiler alert: despite a plethora of apps and techniques, it doesn’t work, as new research proves once again. So why do people continue to believe in it?

Experimenting with nootropics, the so-called smart drugs

By Taylor Hatmaker

A faceless collective of armchair scientists are testing the effects of DIY—and sharing the results online.

How horror movies warp your brain

By Cynthia McKelvey

Keep telling yourself, “It’s only a movie. It’s only a movie.”

This is your brain on virtual reality

By Dennis Scimeca

VR developers know how to make your brain think what they want it to think.

Opinion

Why we’re living in an era of neuroscience hype

By Neuroskeptic

From “brain training” apps to concussion-preventing chocolate milk, we’re surrounded by dubious, pseudoscientific claims. What’s behind all this neurobunk?