By: Jordan Gaines Lewis, 4th year PhD candidate in the Neuroscience Graduate Program
Penn State College of Medicine is located in Hershey, the “Sweetest Place on Earth.” We’re surrounded by references to chocolate everyday—from the smell of it in the air to Kiss-shaped streetlamps to chocolate-brown paved roads. It’s a pretty sweet life.
So when The Hershey Company unveiled their new logo last month, I didn’t find anything unusual about it.
Credit: The Hershey Co.
That is, of course, until the Internet began comparing it to the poo emoji, popularized by Apple. Even after seeing the comparison, I still didn’t know what the big stink was about, so to speak.
Poo Emoji (WonderHowTo)
Why did some people immediately see a big, steaming turd when, obviously, it’s supposed to be a drop of chocolate topped with the iconic Kiss flag? Actually, understanding the cognitive processes behind visual recognition can explain everything from Hershey Kiss poop emojis to why we perceive animals in clouds and Mother Mary’s face in a piece of toast.
By: Lina Jamis, 2nd year student in the Anatomy Graduate Program
As much as we may enjoy denying it, our hearing is slowly, but surely, leaving us. In fact, considering how we often may follow the adage “louder is better,” we’re probably headed for hearing aids sooner than we think. (That goes doubly for you, Skillrex fans).
…which is why we must thank our stereocilia and the proteins that are tasked with maintaining them.
I’d like to introduce you to myosin: the protein responsible for muscle contraction, force generation, maintenance of posture, the beating of our hearts, and oh hey, busting a move on the dance floor. Myosin proteins were originally thought to be restricted to muscle cells (hence, myo, meaning “originating in muscle”), but research has revealed that not all myosins are created equal. In fact, there is a large superfamily of myosins that, while sharing the same basic properties, are distributed in other tissue.
By: Amanda White, Research Technologist in the Department of Psychiatry
A day in the life.
Autumn has arrived, bringing with it some of my favorite scents: bonfire smoke, pumpkin spice (DON’T JUDGE!), and, most of all, crisp autumn air. Stepping outside on an October morning and breathing instantly transports me back in time.
I’m at Penn State. It’s a cool, crisp morning and there’s not a cloud in the sky as I walk up Shortlidge Road. I’m a freshman on my way to class and I’m a little nervous, but overall I’m excited to be in a new place on my own and for the future.
That complex emotion and memory can be triggered by a simple sensory cue: the smell of autumn air. How do smells trigger such strong emotions and memories?