Browsing: Cognition

The latest news about cognitive psychology, brain development and neuroscience research

Becoming a vampire without being bitten: Study shows reading expands our self-concepts

In an upcoming study in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, Gabriel and graduate student Ariana Young show what that something is: When we read, we psychologically become part of the community described in the narrative—be they wizards or vampires. That mechanism satisfies the deeply human, evolutionarily crucial, need for belonging.

fMRI shows how mindfulness meditation changes decision-making process

If a friend or relative won $100 and then offered you a few dollars, would you accept this windfall? The logical answer would seem to be, sure, why not? According to research conducted over the last three decades; only about one-fourth of us would say, Sure. Thanks.

Dopamine controls formation of new brain cells

A study of the salamander brain has led researchers at Karolinska Institutet to discover a hitherto unknown function of the neurotransmitter dopamine. In an article published in the prestigious scientific journal Cell Stem Cell they show how in acting as a kind of switch for stem cells, dopamine controls the formation of new neurons in the adult brain. Their findings may one day contribute to new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s.

Nurturing newborn neurons sharpens minds in mice

Adult mice engineered to have more newborn neurons in their brain memory hub excelled at accurately discriminating between similar experiences – an ability that declines with normal aging and in some anxiety disorders. Boosting such neurogenesis in the adult hippocampus also produced antidepressant-like effects when combined with exercise, in the study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Researchers discover universal property of music

Researchers at the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) of the University of Amsterdam have discovered a universal property of scales. Until now it was assumed that the only thing scales throughout the world have in common is the octave.

The evolution of brain wiring: Navigating to the neocortex

A new study is providing fascinating insight into how projections conveying sensory information in the brain are guided to their appropriate targets in different species. The research, published by Cell Press in the March 24 issue of the journal Neuron, reveals a surprising new evolutionary scenario that may help to explain how subtle changes in the migration of guidepost neurons underlie major differences in brain connectivity between mammals and nonmammalian vertebrates.

Why Henry Higgins could tell his barrow girl from his fair lady

When Professor Henry Higgins instructed Eliza Doolittle that it was “Ay not I, O not Ow, Don’t say ‘Rine,’ say ‘Rain'”, he was drawing on years of experience as a professor of phonetics. But research funded by the Wellcome Trust and the European Commission suggests that Higgins’s ability to differentiate expertly between similar sounds may have stemmed from birth.

Why argue? Helping students see the point

Read the comments on any website and you may despair at Americans’ inability to argue well. Thankfully, educators now name argumentive reasoning as one of the basics students should leave school with.

A glove on your hand can change your mind

Unconsciously, right-handers associate good with the right side of space and bad with the left. But this association can be rapidly changed, according to a study published online March 9, 2011 in Psychological Science.

A-ha! The neural mechanisms of insight

Although it is quite common for a brief, unique experience to become part of our long-term memory, the underlying brain mechanisms associated with this type of learning are not well understood. Now, a new brain-imaging study looks at the neural activity associated with a specific type of rapid learning, insight. The research, published by Cell Press in the March 10 issue of the journal Neuron, reveals specific brain activity that occurs during an A-ha! moment that may help encode the new information in long-term memory.

Web-crawling the brain

Researchers in Harvard Medical School’s Department of Neurobiology have developed a technique for unraveling these masses. Through a combination of microscopy platforms, researchers can crawl through the individual connections composing a neural network, much as Google crawls Web links.

1 217 218 219 220 221 224