Take an interactive look inside an anxious brain with Neurotic Neurons

What our brains learn, they can also unlearn—including what makes us anxious. That's the idea behind Neurotic Neurons, an interactive work by Nicky Case that explores the neuroscience of anxiety, and particularly the theory of Hebbian learning, wherein "neurons that fire together, wire together" and create associations in the mind.

Click on a star-shaped neuron in the simulation and you'll hear a satisfying snap, as it reaches out and forms a connection to another neuron; in the anxious mind, Case explains, this can mean connecting "innocent" thoughts to upsetting thoughts.

Case, who co-created the interactive social bias experience Parable of the Polygons, also explores how the brain can "unlearn" and break associations as well, and how this is used therapeutically to treat phobias, anxiety disorders and PTSD. Although Case notes that some aspects of the model are simplified—and that rewiring your own brain is neither easy nor quick—it's something that they can speak to personally as well, after years of struggling with persistent anxiety. "I'm proof," says Case. "It can be done."