Neuroscience on a Budget

This past spring I had to uninstall Dots on my phone because it was devastating my battery life and my pride. It’s a ludicrously simple game. The objective is to make as many squares as you can in a minute by connecting like-colored dots on a grid. I got really good at it. So good I was ashamed. If I noticed a person on the subway looking over my shoulder as I played Dots, I would tone down my fiendish thumbwork, purposely throw the game, pretend to be bored, open The New Yorker app, stare at the words and think about Dots. At night, when I was in that weird state between wakefulness and sleep, I would see pastel-colored dots falling into place on the back of my eyelids. I…

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