Mind

Mind

20 We often refer to a strong sexual attraction as animal magnetism, but arousal involves more than just base instinct. At the Mind Science lecture series, psychologist Stephanie Ortigue will describe how desire depends on complex mental processing. Her talk, “The Consciousness of Desire,” will reveal the brain regions associated with longing and how they are influenced by mirror neurons—brain cells that fire when we either perform or observe an action.
San Antonio, Tex.

Change the structure of a gene, and you change its function. But that is not the only way to alter what a gene does. The emerging field of epigenetics explores how our lifestyle and environment can change gene expression, for example, by adhering molecules such as methyl groups to the DNA strand. The Behavioral Epigenetics conference, hosted by the New York Academy of Sciences and the University of Massachusetts Boston, is one of the first to examine how epigenetic changes take place, how they alter behavior, and how they can trigger the onset of disorders such as schizophrenia and depression. [For more about epigenetics, see “The New Genetics of Mental Illness,” by Edmund S. Higgins; Scientific American Mind, June/July 2008.]

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