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The default-mode network of the brain shows increased activity when subjects read stories that deal with their core values. Image courtesy of Sarah Gimbel/USC.

Deep thinking in the brain may be spurred by stories with moral quandaries

January 11, 2016

Everyone has at least a few non-negotiable values. These are the things that, no matter what the circumstance, you’d never compromise for any reason — such as “I’d never hurt a child,” or…

Emily Liman: Sparkling Study

Neurobiology scientists discover new mechanism for detecting sour taste

January 4, 2016

Researchers have discovered a new way that taste cells detect sourness, a sensation that is linked to acidity. Of the five basic tastes, sour remains the most mysterious — to the point that the tongue’s sour…

Anxiety raises risk of dementia, psychology researchers find

Anxiety raises risk of dementia, psychology researchers find

December 22, 2015

People who experienced high anxiety any time in their lives had a 48 percent higher risk of developing dementia compared to those who had not, according to a new study led by USC researchers. The findings were based on an…

This Leiopathes coral is estimated to be more than 4,200 years old.

Oceanic fossils suggest current climate models misrepresent El Niño

December 17, 2015

An analysis of fossil corals and mollusk shells from the Pacific Ocean reveals there is no link between the strength of seasonal differences and El Niño, a complex but irregular climate pattern with large impacts on…

USC Dornsife's Scott Kanoski studies the way the brain controls how and why we eat. Photo by Gus Ruelas.

‘Hunger hormone’ turns eating less into eating more

December 15, 2015

Looking to avoid overeating during those big holiday meals? You might want to avoid fasting in the days beforehand. Cycles of food restriction unleash a “hunger hormone” that increases the capacity to eat more…

The nuclear membrane previously was thought to be mostly just a protective bubble around the nuclear material. Illustration by Taeyhun Ryu, Brett Spatola, Laetitia Delebaere and Irene Chiolo.

Nuclear membrane repairs the ‘dark matter’ of DNA

November 30, 2015

Scientists have found a new function of the nuclear membrane, the envelope that encases and protects DNA in the nucleus of a cell — it fixes potentially fatal breaks in DNA strands. The nuclear membrane previously was…

National Book Award winner Robin Coste Lewis is a doctoral student at USC Dornsife. Photo by Amanda Schwengel, courtesy of Hampshire College.

USC Dornsife doctoral student wins the National Book Award

November 24, 2015

USC Dornsife doctoral candidate Robin Coste Lewis has won the National Book Award for Poetry, one of the nation’s most prestigious literary prizes. Lewis received the award for her debut book, Voyage of the Sable Venus…

An image made by Aztec artists from the Codex Mendoza, an early cultural encyclopedia dating from ca. 1542 that traveled widely in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Scholars gain insight from the geographical and cultural movement of artifacts

November 19, 2015

When preserved specimens of birds of paradise — prized throughout 17th-century Europe for their vivid plumage, rarity and distant origins — were exported from their native Papua, New Guinea, by the Dutch, their…

Alzheimer’s disease can affect men and women differently. Photo by Mark Spearman.

Men with Alzheimer’s gene at risk of brain bleeding

November 16, 2015

A common genetic variation that is linked to Alzheimer’s disease greatly raises the likelihood of tiny brain bleeds in some men, scientists have found. These “microbleeds” leave small points of damage…

“Eye Window” (detail) by Lorie Novak. www.lorienovak.com

Through the Lens

November 16, 2015

Mirrored Images By Geoff Dyer Two related questions: How long do we have to go back to trace the origins of what happened last year in Ferguson, Mo.? And when does the aftermath of what happened begin? In terms of narrative…