Sign in

Your life, sourced by science. A publication from Medium about health and wellness.


In Elemental. More on Medium.

Let’s end the year with a moment of gratitude

Photo: Hakase_/Getty Images

This is a modified excerpt from Inside Your Head 🧠, a weekly newsletter exploring why your brain makes you think, feel, and act the way you do, written by me, Elemental’s senior writer and a former brain scientist. Subscribe here so you won’t miss the next one.

I’ve been thinking a lot about altruism recently. Early on in the pandemic, I spoke with Stanford psychologist Jamil Zaki, PhD, an expert in empathy. …

The ability to understand another person can do a lot of good. Perhaps even stop a spreading virus.

Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

In March, as the pandemic spread its roots worldwide and public health experts began touting the benefits of social distancing, Stefan Pfattheicher, PhD, an associate professor in the department of psychology and behavioral sciences at Aarhus University in Denmark, wondered how the public could be motivated to adhere to such safety precautions. “We know that empathy toward vulnerable people in general promotes prosocial behavior across many different occasions,” he says. …

Science explains why there’s a loss of human compassion during pandemics

Illustrations: Virginia Gabrielli

Since Washington state, where I live, instated its stay-at-home order over 100 days ago, I’ve noticed a number of changes in my behavior. First, the novelty of the Zoom hangouts wore off, and I found connecting with friends and family over video chat left me feeling more drained than fulfilled. I found this baffling, especially as an extrovert. Next, my fiancé noticed that I was getting snippier. …

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store