The past couple weeks have been a scramble for me (the end of the school year tends to crash like a rogue wave into the lives of parents). During that time, I’ve written a couple new “Matter” columns for the New York Times, both of which concerning how our brains work:

–Last week, I took a look at the first attempts to scan the brain of creative writers. While the research is ambitious, some skeptical scientists don’t think we can dissect the anatomy of creativity.

–This week, I look at our penchant to see order where there’s only randomness. Psychologists call this the “hot hand phenomenon,” named for the conviction people have that basketball players can get on streaks. An experiment on monkeys adds to the evidence suggesting that this phenomenon is an ancient bias in the workings of our brains, which emerges from the way our ancestors hunted for food.


Originally published June 27, 2014. Copyright 2014 Carl Zimmer.