Kathleen McAuliffe

marlene lopez

(McAuliffe, Kathleen ) Kathleen McAuliffe is a contributing editor to Discover. Her work has appeared in over a dozen national magazines, including Discover, the New York Times MagazineAtlantic, and Smithsonian. From 1999 to 2006, she was also a health columnist for More. Her work has been published in Best American Science Writing, She was interviewed by To the Point, the nationally syndicated Osgood File, and other programs after her 2012 Atlantic feature “How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy” became the second most widely read article in the magazine’s history. This Is Your Brain on Parasites: How Tiny Creatures Manipulate Our Behavior and Shape Society (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) looks closely at how parasites interact with the world. These tiny organisms have many evolutionary motives for manipulating the behavior of their hosts. We humans are hardly immune to their influence. Organisms we pick up from our own pets are strongly suspected of changing our personality traits and contributing to recklessness and impulsivity – even suicide. Parasites influence our species on the cultural level, too. The horror and revulsion we are programmed to feel when we come in contact with people who appear diseased or dirty helped pave the way for civilization, but may also be the basis for major divisions in societies that persist to this day.