The Strange Brain of Alex Honnold


Inside the tube, Honnold is looking at a series of about 200 images that flick past at the speed of channel surfing. The photographs are meant to disturb or excite. “At least in non-Alex people, these would evoke a strong response in the amygdala,” says Joseph. “I can’t bear to look at some of them, to be honest.” The selection includes corpses with their facial features bloodily reorganized; a toilet choked with feces; a woman shaving herself, Brazilian style; and two invigorating mountain-climbing scenes.

“Maybe his amygdala is not firing—he’s having no internal reactions to these stimuli,” says Joseph. Story at Nautilus