From defensive molecules to cultural conquest, the story of psychedelics is quite the trip — and it’s not over yet.

The year was 1502. Montezuma was preparing to inherit the Divine Seat, an honor that for 16 years prior belonged to Ahuitzotl, another formidable battle warrior. The transfer of power was set to make Montezuma king of the Aztecs for years to come. A vast ceremony would follow.

Among those…

The battle over selfies rages on, but this time science weighs in

Whether scrolling through photos on Instagram or swiping through matches on Coffee Meets Bagel, we’ve all seen them before: selfies. While most of us situate the photos neatly at the butt of jokes, we can’t seem to escape them. Here, I aim to explain the science behind their typically distasteful…

How An Unencumbered Guffaw Might Help You Climb the Social Ladder

We humans crave social status. We fight for money, promotions, fancy titles—anything for social prestige. We’re like a tamed version of the vicious macaque monkey: constantly clawing for a better spot in the hierarchy.

This ascension up the social ladder isn’t always easy. It often involves the acquisition of expertise…

Those thoughts you have while asleep mean far less than you think

Amy was falling. The air was dark all around her. As she plummeted through the empty void, she realized the pavement coming up beneath her. Her speed gained as she grew more aware of her plight. When the moment came for her to finally hit the ground, she woke up.

On the origins, mechanics, and defeat of our least favorite trait

Ideally, we would never procrastinate. We’d live in a world where obligations came first, personal desires second, and all of our deadlines were met with elegance and ease. Unfortunately, nobody lives in such a world.

The tendency to procrastinate is consistently annoying. Whether we’re avoiding bills, the dentist, or struggling…

Sex, development, and the varieties of human anatomy

Your brain and the pancreas aren’t much different. Both are formed prenatally, both are bodily organs, and both interact with the rest of anatomy to give us complex physiological systems. But, unlike the pancreas, the brain also gives us sex.

Sexual differentiation in the brain is the product of a…

Coffee, terror, and the push toward caffeinism

You’ve just had your fifth double espresso. Things are getting weird: you can’t focus, your chest is tight, and for whatever reason you keep twitching your toes. These are just a few of the myriad ways in which caffeine can make life difficult. They’re each less fun than the last.

Taylor Mitchell Brown

I used to drum in a hair metal band. Now I read and write. Get my work for free on Twitter @toochoicetaylor. | Biology | Evolution | Neuroscience |

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