Kayt Sukel

Kayt Sukel, journalist and science writer, shares insights into the neuroscience of risk-taking and how play during childhood and adulthood impacts the way we make decisions as adults.

“There is great benefit to taking risks in both work and play—even when they result in you falling flat on your face.”
— Kayt Sukel


Kayt Sukel tackles interesting and often taboo subjects in her writing, including love, sex, out of body experiences, and adventurous single mother travel. Based in Houston, her work has appeared in a diverse array of publications including the Atlantic Monthly, New Scientist, and National Geographic Traveler. She is a frequent contributor to the Travel Savvy Mom website, as well as the Dana Foundation’s science publications. Her first book, Dirty Minds (retitled as This Is Your Brain On Sex in paperback), is an irreverent and funny tome that takes on the age-old question, “What is love?” from a neurobiological perspective. Her forthcoming book is about the science of risk taking.


The Rewards of Risk-Taking
Q&A with Kayt on the TEDMED blog

The Art of Risk: The New Science of Courage, Caution and Chance
Sukel K. National Geographic. 2016

Risky play prepares kids for life
Voce A. The Guardian. 2008.

Free Range Kids
How to raise safe, self-reliant children (without going nuts with worry)

The neurogenetics of exploration and exploitation: Prefrontal and striatal dopaminergic components
Frank MJ, Doll BB, Oas-Terpstra J and Moreno F. Nature Neuroscience. 2009;12:1062-1068. 

Evidence for a distributed hierarchy of action representation in the brain. 
Grafton ST, Hamilton AF. Human Movement Science. 2007;36:590-616.

Extended practice of a motor skill is associated with reduced metabolic activity in M1
Picard N, Matsuzaka Y and Strick PL. Nature Neuroscience. 2013, 16(9): 1340-1347.

London taxi drivers and bus drivers: A structural MRI and neuropsychological analysis
Maguire EA, Woollett K and Spiers HJ. Hippocampus. 2006, 16: 1091-1101.

Extensive piano practicing has regionally specific effects on white matter development
Bengtsson SL, Nagy Z, Skare S, Forsman L, Forssberg H and Ullen F. Nature Neuroscience. 2006;8:1148-1150.

Practice effects in the brain: Changes in cerebral activation after working memory practice depend on task demands
Jolles DD, Grol MJ, Van Buchern MA, Rombouts SARB and Crone EA. NeuroImage. 2010;52: 658-668.

Optimal Experience: Psychological studies of flow in consciousness
Csikszentmihayli M, Csikszentmihayli IS, (eds.) Cambridge University Press. 1988.

Neural substrates of spontaneous music performance: An fMRI study of jazz improvisation
Limb CJ and Braun AR. PLoS ONE. 2008: 3(2): 2-9.

Attention training and attention state training 
Tang YY, Posner MI. Trends in Cognitive Science. 2009;13:222-227.

Self-efficacy, risk taking and performance in rock climbing
Llewellyn DJ, Sanchez X, Asghar A, Jones G. Personality and Individual Differences. 2008;45: 75-81

Sukel_photo credit Dave Dillon.jpg Web_0051_KaytSukel-color.pdf.jpg

Edgy Science Writer