Michele W. Berger
Science News Officer
Michele covers Anthropology, Criminology, Digital Humanities, Economics, Linguistics, Philosophy, Psychology, and Sociology in the School of Arts and Sciences, as well as the Perelman School of Medicine, the School of Nursing, the Population Studies Center, the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, and the Penn Institute for Urban Research.
Names prompt distinct brain activity in preschoolers
A study from Penn and CHOP found that when preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder hear their name, their neural patterns match those of their typically developing peers. The finding held regardless of whether the child’s mom or a stranger called the name.
With unprecedent threats to nature at hand, how to turn the tide
One million plant and animal species are on the verge of extinction due to human activity, according to a U.N. assessment issued earlier this month. Here, experts highlight the report’s major messages and offer ideas for moving from inertia to action to stem threats to biodiversity.
Training physician-scholars to see patients as people, not categories
The anthropology M.D.-Ph.D. program, recently graduating its first two students, combines clinical and ethnographic skills aimed at working with and caring for society’s marginalized.
Pokémon activates a unique part of the brain, offering insights into its structure
In a study of adults who played the game extensively as children, Penn and Stanford researchers discovered that a particular area of the visual cortex lights up when players view characters from the original version.
Kurdish is the newest class on the global language roster
A course taught by Annenberg doctoral student Mohammed Salih offered, for the first time at Penn, entrée into the basics of a language spoken by 30 million people worldwide.
Looking beyond the disease to the person living with it
In a new course taught by PIK Professor Jay Gottfried, students lead discussions on cognitive neuroscience topics and then meet patients who have relevant neurologic conditions.
For Kennett Square’s mushroom farmworkers, healthy interventions come directly to the workplace
With the President’s Engagement Prize, seniors José Maciel and Antonio Renteria plan to bring subjects like nutrition and sleep to the workers, reinforcing preventive screenings already provided by a local, federally qualified health center.
Brain regions linked to memory and emotion help humans navigate smell
The work points to the existence of a grid-like hexagonal structure in olfactory-related brain areas, similar to mapping configurations previously found to support spatial navigation in animals.
In the pursuit of happiness, a new class leads the charge
The course, taught by Positive Psychology’s James Pawelski, not only gives students an intellectual understanding of the subject but asks them to practice what they’re learning.