Author Archives: Shelby Walia

Get Spotify ASAP

Music has been especially on my mind this past week. Last Friday I had the chance to explore Paris on the day of the Fête de la Musique, a day where people from all cultures and backgrounds sing whatever their heart desires, in different corners of the streets all around Paris. Easily one of the highlights of my time in Paris.

A man singing his heart out on the day of the Fête de la Musique

This area near the Seine was packed with people on the day of the Fête de la Musique

As I was reflecting on how music is part of my daily life, I realized that I have spent a whole lot of time listening to music while studying. In Paris, the days I find a seat on the jam-packed metros, I usually find myself thinking about fairly random things. But since on Thursdays we have quizzes, I refrain from day dreaming and try to review the quiz material while listening to music, while also trying to keep an eye on my bag, and while making sure I don’t miss my stop. Multi-tasking at its best (or worst some could argue) … I started wondering about the possible positive or negative impacts of listening to music, on the brain, more specifically in terms of the impact on learning and cognitive ability.

To investigate this, it is necessary to first gain a general understanding of the important research that is showing mixed results for the effects of background music. The “Mozart effect” has been a topic of great debate. It has been shown that those who listened to the Mozart sonata before performing better on tasks evaluating spatial abilities as compared to the control group that hadn’t listened to any music (Rauscher et al.,1993). What was interesting was that the authors claimed that even though in their experiment they had exposed the participants to the music before the task, music should have the same positive effect while learning too (Lehman and Seufert, 2017).

However, other researchers pushed back on these claims and expanded on the previously done research. The arousal-mood hypothesis suggests that it is not listening to the background music that directly impacts spatial and cognitive abilities (Husain et al., 2002). Instead, it is the impact that background music has on arousal and mood, which may affect learning. Essentially, listening to something pleasant may have a positive impact on cognitive performance and learning (Husain et al., 2002).

Contrarily, Rey (2012) makes the argument that background music could actually negatively impact learning. This was definitely not good news for me… When I started thinking about my own experience, I realized that listening to music while studying does make the process of studying slower, but I have been continuing to do it because the music keeps me entertained while studying! Interestingly, since it can be an additional burden on memory, “distracting” background music has been called a “seductive detail” (Rey 2012). Background music can distract from the main academic task and therefore can negatively impact learning outcomes (Jäncke and Sandmann, 2010; Hallam et al., 2002).

As you can tell, the research on background music has mixed results. Even though there are studies suggesting that listening to music during a learning task may be detrimental to learning, there has been an increasing amount of research on the ways in which listening to music in general, not necessarily during a task, can actually lessen the severity of cognitive aging. But in what way exactly does music impact the brain? One study suggested that music can improve memory performance in older individuals, by decreasing their prefrontal cortex activity (Murray and Ranganath, 2007).  Firstly, what is the general role of the prefrontal cortex and how exactly can its activity be measured? The prefrontal cortex plays an important role in decision making, including more complex decisions. The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), which is the part of the brain that the researchers focus on in this study, is engaged during cognitive tasks that require processing structure and relationships between items (Murray and Ranganath, 2007).

The authors measured the activity of the DLPFC using a functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) system. fNIRS is a non-invasive way to measure brain activity during cognitive tasks (Ferreri et al., 2014). The study by Ferreri et al., (2014) collected fNIRS data, measuring DLPFC activity, from 16 older individuals (around 65 years old) while they were presented with words, with or without a musical background. The adults were better able to remember and describe contextual details when words were presented with music (Ferreri et al., 2014).

The interesting part is that the results from the Ferreri et al., (2014) study were in conflict with previous research that suggests that the DLPFC’s activity usually increases when more structured items are presented (Bor et al., 2003). One of the proposed explanations is that when the DLPFC is deactivated, other brain regions may be activated. The authors suggest that the brain regions that may be activated are the regions of the brain that are implicated in reward (ventral tegmental area and nucleus accumbens), pleasure and memory encoding (Ferreri et al., 2014). This makes complete sense if you think about it in terms of your personal experience: music most definitely evokes emotion. So, the authors propose that deactivation of the DLPFC is accompanied by activation of these pleasure and reward areas that also play a role in memory encoding, resulting in improved learning and memory performance (Ferreri et al., 2014).

“Pleasure/Reward Pathway”: Depicting the prefrontal cortex, nucleus accumbens and ventral-tegmental area

Access to music is inexpensive and widely accessible, making it a great tool for clinical intervention. There is evidence suggesting that music therapy may be useful in slowing cognitive decline in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia (Fang et al., 2017). There was even a study that showed that music can actually be used to stimulate recollection of personal memories in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease (Chevreau et al., 2017)!

So, as you can hopefully tell, intriguing work is being done on the neurological impacts of listening to music but also the potential ways in which music can actually be used as part of clinical treatment or as a therapeutic tool. So now maybe investing in that Spotify subscription is not a bad idea…

Bor D., Duncan J., Wiseman R. J., Owen A. M. (2003). Encoding strategies dissociate prefrontal activity from working memory demand. Neuron 37, 361–36710.1016/S0896 6273(02)01171-6

Chevreau, Priscilia & Nizard, Ingrid & Allain, Philippe. (2017). Retrieval of memories with the help of music in Alzheimer’s disease. Geriatrie et Psychologie Neuropsychiatrie du Vieillissement. 15. 309-318. 10.1684/pnv.2017.0689.

Fang, R., Ye, S., Huangfu, J., & Calimag, D. P. (2017). Music therapy is a potential intervention for cognition of Alzheimer’s Disease: a mini-review. Translational neurodegeneration, 6,2. doi:10.1186/s40035-017-0073-9

Ferreri, L., Bigand, E., Perrey, S., Muthalib, M., Bard, P., & Bugaiska, A. (2014). Less Effort,Better Results: How Does Music Act on Prefrontal Cortex in Older Adults during Verbal Encoding? An fNIRS Study. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 8, 301.doi:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00301

Hallam S, Price J, Katsarou G. (2002). The effects of background music on primary school pupils’ task performance. Educ Stud. 28:111–122. doi: 10.1080/03055690220124551.

Husain G., Thompson W. F., Schellenberg E. G. (2002). Effects of musical tempo and mode on arousal, mood and spatial abilities. Music Percept. 20 151–171. 10.1525/mp.2002.20.2.151

Jäncke, L., & Sandmann, P. (2010). Music listening while you learn: no influence of background music on verbal learning. Behavioral and brain functions : BBF, 6, 3. doi:10.1186/1744-9081-6-3

Murray L. J., Ranganath C. (2007). The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex contributes to successful relational memory encoding. J. Neurosci. 27, 5515–552210.1523/JNEUROSCI.0406 07.2007

Rauscher F. H., Shaw G. L., Ky K. N. (1993). Music and spatial task performance. Nature 365611. 10.1038/365611a0

Pleasure Pathway Image. Retrieved from

All other images taken by me

Language overload!!

The moment I landed in Paris, I was excited to finally use the language that I had been learning for so many years, in a non-classroom setting. During the past few weeks, I have been using all the slang words I’ve learnt.

When I was a kid, my dad was responsible for talking to me in Hindi and my mom in English. If that wasn’t enough, every weekend for around five years, I attended classes at Alliance Française. I don’t even want to calculate how many hours that must add up to… As a kid, at times I dreaded going to these classes (sorry Mom, if you’re reading). But when I started pursuing French as my second major at Emory, I realized how useful it is to know so many languages. After spending these past few weeks in Paris, I was curious to better understand the impact of multilingualism on the brain.

Figure 1: Alliance Française in New Delhi, India – where I spent many, many hours…

Figure 2: Featuring me using my French skills to say “Non merçi” to all the vendors at Sacré Coeur in Paris

Since language is such a critical capability, it is not shocking that an increasing amount of research is being done on the neural substrates of language. The consensus is that there is no “one area” of the brain that is solely responsible for language. It may be helpful to gain a brief overview of the main parts of the brain involved in language. Two of the important brain areas involved in language are Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area. Broca’s area plays a critical role in speech production and Wernicke’s area in speech comprehension (Fujii et al., 2016).  However, these two areas not only “communicate” with each other through the arcuate fasciculus, but they also communicate with other areas in the left and right hemispheres of the brain (Fujii et al., 2016).

Figure 3: Important brain areas for language

But why is knowing multiple languages considered impressive? Apart from enabling communication with people across the world, does being multilingual actually have any positive neurological impact? One study suggested that there may in fact be a neural basis for the ability of “Lifelong bilingualism to maintain youthful cognitive control abilities in aging” (Gold et al., 2013). In this study, 110 participants were asked to engage in task-switching. Task-switching was used since it provides insight into how capable participants are of adjusting to changing stimuli (Gold et al., 2013). But what exactly was the task that the researchers used? Participants were shown objects very quickly in the center of a screen. If the object was blue, they had to respond with one button and if it was red, then with a different button (Gold et al., 2013).  Without any warning, the participants were then asked to react using the same buttons but while concentrating on the shape of the objects (Gold et al., 2013). The results suggested that older adult bilinguals had a decreased reaction time (RT), which means a faster response, than monolinguals when task-switching (Gold et al., 2013).

But how can we know what is going on in the brain while these participants are performing this task? And what do the results really mean? To answer these questions, participants were asked to perform this same task while fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) was performed. fMRI measures brain activity when a person is at rest, to analyze brain activity. The amount of activation of brain areas can be quantified using BOLD signal. A high BOLD signal can be seen when neuronal activity increases in a part of the brain, seen when there is an increase in the cerebral blood flow to that part of the brain (Gold et al., 2013). Similar to the younger adults, bilingual older adults performed better the monolinguals with evidence of less activation (lower BOLD response) in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex (Gold et al., 2013).  These frontal brain regions play critical roles in decision making and “effortful processing” (Gold et al., 2013).  Therefore, less activation of these brain areas may suggest that the reason lifelong bilingualism may be advantageous is because cognitive control processing changes from effortful to “more automatic” (Gold et al., 2013). The authors claim that this provides evidence for increased “neural efficiency” and a “cognitive control advantage” in bilinguals (Gold et al., 2013). This “cognitive control advantage” may enable bilinguals to be better equipped to respond to changing environments and even diminish the possibility of age-related cognitive decline (Gold et al., 2013).

If bilingualism may protect from age-related declines in cognitive control processes why don’t we all just pick up some Rosetta Stone books now? I began to think back to a few years ago when my grandmother was trying to teach me to speak and write in Punjabi. I really tried very hard to learn the alphabet but with slim to no success, to my grandmother’s despair. So, could this mean that it actually becomes more difficult to learn a language as we got older? Researchers at MIT used a quiz to measure the grammatical ability of 670,000 people of various nationalities and ages (K. Hatshorne et al., 2018). The results of the study suggested that children were best at grammar learning and that learning a language before the age of 10 is the best way to attain native level proficiency (K. Hatshorne et al., 2018). I would highly recommend taking this quiz they used!

Figure 4: Quiz used by MIT researchers to assess grammatical ability

However, it seems that this is still a developing field of research. Some are leaning towards focusing on research that suggests that age can be a hindering factor in learning language, while others think that it may be worthwhile to investigate if foreign language training can be used as cognitive therapy for age-related cognitive decline, even if started later during adulthood (Pfenninger et al., 2018).

While we may still be investigating the neurological impacts of multilingualism, I can assure you that knowing more than one language will not only impress your future boss but will also help you (and everyone traveling with you J ), if you decide to study/spend time abroad!

Fujii, M., Maesawa, S., Ishiai, S., Iwami, K., Futamura, M., Saito, K. (2016). Neural Basis of Language: An Overview of An Evolving Model. Neurologia medico-chirurgica, 56(7), 379–386. doi:10.2176/nmc.ra.2016-0014

Gold, B. T., Kim, C., Johnson, N. F., Kryscio, R. J., Smith, C. D. (2013). Lifelong
bilingualism maintains neural efficiency for cognitive control in aging. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 33(2), 387–396. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3837-12.2013

K. Hartshorne, J., & B. Tenenbaum, J., Pinker, S. (2018). A critical period for
second language acquisition: Evidence from 2/3 million English speakers. Cognition. 177. 10.1016/j.cognition.2018.04.007

Pfenninger, S. E., Polz, S. (2018). Foreign language learning in the third age: A pilot feasibility study on cognitive, socio-affective and linguistic drivers and benefits in relation to previous bilingualism of the learner. Journal of the European Second Language Association, 2(1), 1–13. DOI:

Perani D, Farsad M, Ballarini T, Lubian F, Malpetti M, Fracchetti A, Magnani G, March A, Abutalebi J .(2017). The impact of bilingualism on brain reserve and metabolic connectivity in Alzheimer’s dementia. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 114:1690–1695.

Figure 1: Image of Alliance Francaise, New Delhi, India. Retrieved from

Figure 2: Taken by me at Sacré Coeur in Paris

Figure 3: Parts of the brain that control speech. Retrieved from

Figure 4: Quiz used by MIT researchers to assess grammatical ability. Screenshot retrieved from

Apparently hands can “think”..

During my leisurely walk in Arles, away from the hustle bustle of Paris, I came across several different spots where Van Gogh had painted works of art that are now world renowned. Van Gogh was extremely productive during his stay at Arles and he felt so inspired that he created around 300 paintings and drawings there. During my walk with a group of friends, I had mostly anticipated seeing certain spots where several tourists can be found.

Figure 1: The famous Café Van Gogh in Arles, France

Figure 2: Yummy strawberry sorbet

However, when we were exploring the less frequented streets of Arles, not only did I come across an amazing home-made sorbet shop, I came across this sign that caught my attention:

Figure 3: “La main qui pense” sign in Arles

“La main qui pense” translates to “The hand that thinks”. In my neuroscience classes, I had obviously not learnt about a “thinking hand”. But after doing some research, I realized that what neuroscientific/neuropsychological research has to say about the connection between the brain and the hand, actually could explain what it means for “a hand to think” but not in the most “obvious” way.

Firstly, it is important to understand the basic neuroscience behind how the brain and the hand “communicate”. Various types of receptors that innervate our hands and fingers are able to detect a specific form of energy of a stimulus in the environment (G. Jones, 2006). The receptors convert the stimulus energy into electrical energy through a process known as sensory transduction. The receptors and an afferent neuron form what is known as a sensory unit and sensory units are activated in specific areas known as receptive fields (G. Jones, 2006). Tactile information including size, shape, temperature etc., detected by different receptors, is sent to the central nervous system (G. Jones, 2006).

But how is the signal for movement transmitted from the brain to the hand? The motor system of the brain mainly includes the premotor area, involved in planning movements and the primary motor cortex, involved in then sending commands to the spinal cord for execution of movement (Cunnington, 2016). So, the way the brain “communicates” with the muscles, is through motor neurons in the spinal cord which receive the commands from the brain, which then cause contraction and movement of the muscles needed for that particular movement (Cunnington, 2016).

But you might be wondering –  it definitely still seems that the brain is doing the “thinking”… After doing a bit more research, it started to become clearer to me what some researchers meant by “thinking with your hands”.

For artists including Van Gogh, their job involved heavy usage of their hands. Many of us, on the other hand, like to think of our jobs as mind intensive rather than labor intensive. And there is no denying that there is some superiority associated with mind intensive jobs. But where does this belief stem from? Dr. Gaëlle Vallée-Tourangeau and Dr. Frédéric Vallée-Tourangeau highlight that while children are learning, teachers encourage the use of props and in the elderly, props are used to evaluate memory loss (Vallée-Tourangeau, G., & Vallée-Tourangeau, F., 2016c).  But during the time between these two stages, we are often judged for using our hands. Children are expected to do “mental math” and are told to just “do it in their heads”. I distinctly remember hiding my fingers behind my back while doing calculations. Our assumption is that the brain is the source of any and all intelligence (Vallée-Tourangeau, G., & Vallée-Tourangeau, F., 2016c).

This assumption is in line with the evidence found within neuroscience research. Mirror neurons in the brain fire when an animal acts and when the animal sees someone else executing the same action. Researchers including Frédéric Vallée-Tourangeau and Gaëlle Vallée-Tourangeau believe that physically interacting with objects as compared to simply playing out an action in one’s head could more positively impact behavior and actions (Vallée-Tourangeau, G., & Vallée-Tourangeau, F., 2016c).

The study conducted by Vallée-Tourangeau et al. (2016a), consisted of 50 participants trying to find a way to put 17 animals in four pens such that each pen had an odd number of animals. One group of participants used electronic tablets and a stylus to draw the solution and the other group had to use props to physically create a model. The study suggests that irrespective of cognitive ability, the participants using their hands to build models had more success with the task compared to those using the tablets and stylus. Overall, the study suggests that physically interacting with the environment around us can prove even more beneficial than drawing.

Figure 4: One solution was to create overlapping pens for the 17 animals

To further investigate their hypothesis, Vallée-Tourangeau et al. (2016b) conducted another study in which participants were asked to do long sums while repeating a word (Vallée-Tourangeau et al., 2016b). The study suggested that the participants who used number tokens (“high interactivity”) to work out the sums were less affected by the distractor as compared to those who were working out the sums mentally, who showed higher levels of mathematics anxiety (Vallée-Tourangeau et al., 2016b). Further emphasizing that the importance of physically interacting with the environment and using sense of touch cannot be underestimated. Therefore, researchers  like to metaphorically say that the hand “thinks” too.

Juhani Pallasmaa, the author of the book titled The Thinking Hand: Existential and Embodied Wisdom in Architecture, believed that “it is by permanently mobilizing our five senses that the body becomes our own tool for perceiving the world, and it is only through a unity of body and mind that the act of creation can take place” (Acte Sud).

So perhaps Van Gogh had it right. Van Gogh may have been using art as an outlet of his emotions. Or perhaps, engaging his hands while painting and drawing facilitated his thought process. While Van Gogh was suffering through psychiatric illness, it is possible that painting and drawing helped him gain clarity, even though it may have been fleeting.


Acte Sud. « La main qui pense ». Retrieved June 10, 2019, from 

Cunnington, Ross. “How our brain controls movement and makes new connections when parts are damaged” The Conversation, 28 September 2016,

Fernandes, M. A., Wammes, J. D., & Meade, M. E. (2018). The Surprisingly Powerful Influence of Drawing on Memory. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 27(5), 302–308.

G. Jones, Edward. (2006). The sensory hand. Brain. 129. 10.1093/brain/awl308.

Vallée-Tourangeau, F., Steffensen, S. V., Vallée-Tourangeau, G., & Sirota, M. (2016a). Insight with hands and things. Acta Psychologica, 170, 195–205. doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2016.08.006

Vallée-Tourangeau, F., Sirota, M., & Vallée-Tourangeau, G. (2016b). Interactivity mitigates the impact of working memory depletion on mental arithmetic performance. Cognitive research: principles and implications, 1(1), 26. doi:10.1186/s41235-016-0027-2

Vallée-Tourangeau, G., & Vallée-Tourangeau, F. “Why the best problem-solvers think with their hands, as well as their heads” The Conversation, 10 November 2016c,

Figures 1, 2 and 3 – Images taken by me in Arles

Figure 4 – Overlapping pens solution, Retrieved from

Parisians dig cigs

Upon arrival in Paris, all students part of the NBB Paris Program sat through an orientation, during which we essentially received a crash course on French culture and its intricacies. One of the tips we were given was to observe the facial expressions of daily metro riders and to adopt their expressions so as to not look like wide-eyed tourists trying to take in all of our surroundings. I adopted their expressions, but I also found myself eavesdropping on other’s conversations.

Figure 1:Photo of me at The Mazet. Hopefully this confused expression is not the one I have on the metro…

One of the more interesting conversations I heard was between a lady who seemed quite irritated, and her husband. Her words essentially translated to “I’m dying to smoke a cigarette”. It is quite apparent that smoking is fairly common in France, or at least in Paris. I became curious to better understand the neurological effects of smoking.

We all have all too often seen not so subtle “Smoking kills!” warnings in movie scenes. But why exactly is smoking “bad” for you and more specifically, your brain? Before diving into how smoking negatively impacts the brain, it may be helpful to gain a brief overview of the parts of the main parts of the brain involved. The increased activation of the ventral striatum and the nucleus accumbens, in smokers, has been of immense interest because addictive substances such as nicotine, stimulate dopaminergic neurons in these structures, which triggers the brain to think of nicotine as a rewarding stimulus (Benwell et al., 1995). Essentially the brain begins to crave this “reward”.

Figure 2: The Reward Pathway

But in exactly what way does smoking cause damage to the brain? A recent study suggested that smoking decreases brain connectivity. Firstly, what does “brain connectivity” really mean and how it is measured?  Brain connectivity refers to how closely different parts of the brain are “interacting” with each other (Cheng et al., 2019). This can be measured using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging), which measures brain activity when a person is at rest, allowing researchers to analyze patterns of activity in the brain (Cheng et al., 2019). The study by Cheng et al. (2019) used fMRI data of 831 subjects from the Human Connectome Project. The study suggested that smokers had low overall functional connectivity between brain regions as opposed to drinkers who had high overall functional connectivity between brain regions (Cheng et al., 2019).

One of the most interesting findings from the by Cheng et al. (2019) study was that the smoker’s brain regions impacted the most included the lateral orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and inferior frontal gyrus (IFG). The lateral OFC plays a significant role in modifying and inhibiting behavior. So it makes sense that decreased connectivity of the lateral OFC to other parts of the brain, is associated with increased impulsivity (Cheng et al., 2019). Impulsivity was measured using stop-signal tasks that measure response inhibition. Additionally, the researchers make an important point that it is important to consider the possibility that decreased functional connectivity may not just be a result of smoking, but instead could have an impact on the likelihood of smoking (Cheng et al., 2019).This is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the various neurological changes that may occur as a result of smoking.

All these negative impacts yet people still continue to smoke. Is it due to unawareness? Is it due clever advertising? Since I am interested in neuromarketing, I wondered about the history of tobacco advertisements in France. This past semester, I took part in the Intramural Emory Global Health Case Competition and the goal was to offer solutions to address the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems in China’s Guandong Province. Advertising and marketing were essential considerations. I was surprised but at the same time not really surprised by the amount of recent literature and research that exists on “Using Neuroscience to Inform Tobacco Policy Control” (Maynard et al., 2019).

Figure 3: Commonly seen “No smoking” sign in Paris metro stations

In 2010, in France, the Droits des Non-Fumeurs association (Non-Smokers Rights Association) used a suggestive analogy, comparing smoking to sexual slavery, to convey the message that – “Smoking is equivalent to being a slave to tobacco”. It is provocative so fair warning. I will link the image of the advertisement here for those who want to see what the controversy was about. While this advertisement created quite a stir, the ad came to be known as a “prevention flop” (Oullier & Sauneron, 2010).

Figure 4 and 5: Different approaches to anti-smoking advertisements – Non graphic vs. graphic

Dr. Langleben is known for his research on investigating what type of ads have the potential to actually change behavior and not to simply shock the viewer. Dr. Langleben, in collaboration with Wang et al. (2013) observed increased activation in the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dMPFC) when smokers watched an anti-smoking ad with a strong argument as compared to one with a weak argument. “Smoking causes disease and/or death” qualifies as a strong argument whereas “Smoking makes you less attractive to potential partners” qualifies as a weak one (Penn Medicine News, 2013). Increased activation of the dMPFC, which mediates future behavior, may be associated with the study’s finding that the participants who watched the strong argument ads had significantly less of a metabolite of nicotine in their urine, one month later (Wang et al., 2013).

These findings suggest that neuroscience is an extremely useful tool not only in terms of understanding the impacts of smoking on the brain but also in terms of informing the creation of media content. Supporting my (definitely biased) viewpoint that neuroscience applies everywhere!

I guess now I’ll start handing out copies of this blogpost to smokers in the streets of Paris? Stay tuned to see how that goes..

Shelby Walia



Benwell, M. E., Balfour, D. J., & Birrell, C. E. (1995). Desensitization of the nicotine-induced mesolimbic dopamine responses during constant infusion with nicotine. British journal of pharmacology, 114(2), 454–460. doi:10.1111/j.1476-5381.1995.tb13248.x

Cheng, W., Rolls, E. T., Robbins, T. W., Gong, W., Liu, Z., Lv, W., … Feng, J. (2019). Decreased brain connectivity in smoking contrasts with increased connectivity in drinking. eLife, 8, e40765. doi:10.7554/eLife.40765

Karama, S., Ducharme, S., Corley, J., Chouinard-Decorte, F., Starr, J. M., Wardlaw, J. M., …

Deary, I. J. (2015). Cigarette smoking and thinning of the brain’s cortex. Molecular psychiatry, 20(6), 778–785. doi:10.1038/mp.2014.187

Oullier, O., & Sauneron S. (2010). Dans le cerveau du fumeur : neurosciences et prévention du tabagisme. In Nouvelles approches de la préventionen santé publique : L’apport des sciences comportementales, cognitives et des neurosciences (pp. 86-104). Centre d’analyse stratégique, AWS Édition Paris. (French) (English)

Penn Medicine News. (2013, April 23). Anti-Smoking Ads with Strong Arguments, Not Flashy Editing, Trigger Part of Brain That Changes Behavior, says Penn Study [Press release]. Retrieved from releases/2013/april/antismoking-ads-with-strong-ar

Wang, A. L., Ruparel, K., Loughead, J. W., Strasser, A. A., Blady, S. J., Lynch, K. G., Langleben, D. D. (2013). Content matters: neuroimaging investigation of brain and behavioral impact of televised anti-tobacco public service announcements. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 33(17), 7420–7427. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3840-12.2013

Figure 1 – Photo of me taken by friend

Figure 2 – Dopamine Reward Pathway, Indiana Prevention Resource Center, taken from

Figure 3 – France, ile de france, paris 20e arrondissement, bd de menilmontant, station du metro pere lachaise, ratp, Hector Guimard, Date : 2011-2012, taken from

Figure 4 – Tobacco Teeth Anti-smoking Advertising by Miroslav Vujovic, taken from

Figure 5 – Graphic Anti-Smoking Ads May Backfire, Pacific Standard (2017), taken from