Everyone experiences some degree of anxiety in life, but what does it look like in the brain? Interactive artist Nicky Case explores the neuroscience of anxious thoughts in a new project called Neurotic Neurons.
In Case’s animation, the neurons kind of resemble a Newton’s cradle, that desktop favorite boasting metal balls that click back and forth. The graphic provides a bit of Brain Science 101—click on individual neurons in the interactive graphic to make them fire, and receive a visual lesson in how neurons connect, and how the brain's learning process influences anxiety.
Case walks us through the neuronal basics of treatments like exposure therapy, during which repeated exposure to a once-scary stimulus without the negative experience can help the brain unlearn fears and anxieties. Play with it for yourself here.