Alix Spiegel

NPR correspondent Alix Spiegel works on the Science desk and covers psychology.

Arriving at NPR in 2003, much of Spiegel's reporting has been on emotion mental health. She has reported on everything from the psychological impact of killing another person, to the emotional devastation of Katrina, to psycho-therapeutic approaches to transgender children.

Over the course of her career in public radio, Spiegel has won awards including the George Foster Peabody Award, Livingston Award, and Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award. Spiegel's 2007 documentary revealing mental health issues and crime plaguing a Southern Mississippi FEMA trailer park housing Katrina victims was recognized with Scripps Howard National Journalism Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. Her radio documentary 81 Words, about the removal of homosexuality from psychiatry's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, is being turned into a film by HBO.

Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Spiegel graduated from Oberlin College. She began her career in radio in 1995 as one of the founding producers of the public radio show This American Life. Spiegel left the show in 1999 to become a full time reporter. She has also written for The New Yorker magazine and The New York Times.

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2:41pm

Mon April 1, 2013
Shots - Health News

Mining Books To Map Emotions Through A Century

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 9:18 am

When anthropologists tallied the use of emotional words through a century of literature, they included many books without clear emotional content — technical manuals, for example, and automotive repair guides.
Steve Debenport iStockphotography

Were people happier in the 1950s than they are today? Or were they more frustrated, repressed and sad?

To find out, you'd have to compare the emotions of one generation to another. British anthropologists think they may have found the answer — embedded in literature.

Several years ago, more or less on a lark, a group of researchers from England used a computer program to analyze the emotional content of books from every year of the 20th century — close to a billion words in millions of books.

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3:41am

Mon March 11, 2013
Shots - Health News

New Voices For The Voiceless: Synthetic Speech Gets An Upgrade

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 12:23 pm

Samantha Grimaldo was born with a rare disorder, Perisylvian syndrome, and has never been able to speak.
Ellen Webber for NPR

Ever since she was a small child, Samantha Grimaldo has had to carry her voice with her.

Grimaldo was born with a rare disorder, Perisylvian syndrome, which means that though she's physically capable in many ways, she's never been able to speak. Instead, she's used a device to speak. She types in what she wants to say, and the device says those words out loud. Her mother, Ruane Grimaldo, says that when Samantha was very young, the voice she used came in a heavy gray box.

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3:55pm

Mon February 25, 2013
Shots - Health News

To Spot Kids Who Will Overcome Poverty, Look At Babies

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 5:25 am

For some kids who grow up in poverty, the bond developed with Mom is especially important in dealing with stress.
iStockphoto.com

Why do some children who grow up in poverty do well, while others struggle?

To understand more about this, a group of psychologists recently did a study.

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2:33am

Mon February 11, 2013
Shots - Health News

Why Even Radiologists Can Miss A Gorilla Hiding In Plain Sight

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 8:37 am

Notice anything unusual about this lung scan? Harvard researchers found that 83 percent of radiologists didn't notice the gorilla in the top right portion of this image.
Trafton Drew and Jeremy Wolfe

This story begins with a group of people who are expert at looking: the professional searchers known as radiologists.

"If you watch radiologists do what they do, [you're] absolutely convinced that they are like superhuman," says Trafton Drew, an attention researcher at Harvard Medical School.

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2:25am

Mon January 28, 2013
Shots - Health News

No Mercy For Robots: Experiment Tests How Humans Relate To Machines

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 4:15 pm

Could you say "no" to this face? Christoph Bartneck of the University of Canterbury in New Zealand recently tested whether humans could end the life of a robot as it pleaded for survival.
Christoph Bartneck

In 2007, Christoph Bartneck, a robotics professor at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, decided to stage an experiment loosely based on the famous (and infamous) Milgram obedience study.

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