Neuroscience

Facebook Twitter

What exactly is déjà vu? James M.

What exactly is déjà vu?

Lampinen, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Arkansas, supplies the following answer: Déjà vu is a strong sense of global familiarity that occurs in a seemingly novel situation. The familiarity experienced in déjà vu is global in that it seems as if the entire event--every detail--has happened before, despite the knowledge that the event is unique. The experience is frequently disconcerting and is often accompanied by a sense of unreality. Most people experience déjà vu at some point in their lives--surveys indicate that a majority of respondents have experienced at least one episode of déjà vu. A brief guide to neuroscience. By Vaughan Bell, The ObserverSunday, April 29, 2012 8:34 EDT It is the boom area in science.

A brief guide to neuroscience

Vaughan Bell explains why What is neuroscience? No single ‘God spot’ in human brain. U.

No single ‘God spot’ in human brain

MISSOURI (US) — New research challenges the idea that the human brain has a “God spot,” a distinct area responsible for spirituality. Work by University of Missouri researchers indicates spirituality is a complex phenomenon, and multiple areas of the brain are responsible for the many aspects of spiritual experiences. Based on a previously published study that indicated spiritual transcendence is associated with decreased right parietal lobe functioning, the team replicated their findings. In addition, the researchers determined that other aspects of spiritual functioning are related to increased activity in the frontal lobe. The findings are reported in the International Journal of the Psychology of Religion. Your IQ Depends on a Single Gene. Some People May Literally Just Be Born Nicer.

Our Most Important Memories Live in Just a Few Neurons. There’s math hiding in the music we love. MCGILL (CAN) / STANFORD (US) — After analyzing close to 2,000 compositions, researchers have uncovered a mathematical formula governing the rhythmic patterns in music.

There’s math hiding in the music we love

“One of the things that we’ve known about music for a couple of decades is that the distribution of pitches and loudness in music follow predictable mathematical patterns,” says Daniel Levitin, a neuroscientist at McGill University and co-author of the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “Rhythm is even more fundamental to our enjoyment of music: it’s rhythm that infants respond to first, it’s rhythm that makes you want to get out of your chair and move, and so it’s not really a surprise to discover that rhythm, too, is governed by a similar mathematical formula.” Metaphors actually trigger the sensory parts of our brains. What does science have to learn from philosophy?

Metaphors actually trigger the sensory parts of our brains

Now, now, they could just be epistemically testing the theoretical hypotheses put forth by Kant, or, more recently by people like Lakoff & Johnson specifically about metaphor. Why else would they even be bothering to study the connection between sensory/affective experience and metaphoric function? I'm assuming some architect of the study had the seed planted in her/his head by some philosophy. Neuroscience the new face of warfare: experts. How does your brain create short-term memories? If you know you have to remember, say, a phone number for longer than that you will probably be aware of "rehearsing" the number string until you have a chance to write it down.

How does your brain create short-term memories?

Short term memory only lasts for a handful of seconds (a more precise figure would require me looking it up), but this is if you don't rehearse the information. This is measured by showing someone something to remember, and then giving them a distractor task to stop them rehearsing (like counting down from 673 in steps of three). Rehearse it for long enough and it's coded into your long term memory. Like when you're revising for finals. Actually, short term (or working memory) isn't so much defined by time as it is by amount of information. Smells, great and gross, reshape the brain. CALTECH (US) — Based on a new study with locusts, researchers better understand how the brain adapts to remember new and specific smells.

Smells, great and gross, reshape the brain

The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) study focuses on a key feature of human and animal brains—that they are adaptive. They are able to change their structure and function based on input from the environment and on the potential associations, or consequences, of that input. “Although these results were obtained from experiments with insects, the components of the mechanism exist also in vertebrate, including mammalian, brains which means that what we describe may be of wide applicability,” says Stijn Cassenaer, senior research fellow in brain circuitry at Caltech and lead author of a paper—published in the journal Nature —that outlines the findings. The study focused on insects because their nervous systems are smaller, and thus likely to reveal their secrets sooner than those of their vertebrate counterparts.

Human Nature and the Neurobiology of Conflict. Each image depicts the arousal response of conservatives (triangle dots) and liberals (square dots) to images that are disgusting or appealing.

Human Nature and the Neurobiology of Conflict

Image: Dodd et al. /Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society BAreas of inquiry once reserved for historians and social scientists are now studied by neuroscientists, and among the most fascinating is cultural conflict.Science alone won't provide the answers, but it can offer new insights into how social behavior reflects -- and perhaps even shapes -- basic human biology. An upcoming issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B features a collection of new studies on the biology of conflict. On the following pages, Wired looks at the findings.Above:Left versus Right, in the BrainResearch has already shown that, compared to liberals, conservatives display heightened responses to threatening images.

This is what your brain on drugs really looks like. This actually raises several questions... 1.

This is what your brain on drugs really looks like

Where did they get the drugs to begin with? And how do you go about getting "permission" from the government (which I assume they had) to conduct these experiments? When the brain refuses to take the cash. EMORY (US) — Brain images show personal values that people refuse to disavow—even when offered cash to do so—are processed differently than values that are willingly sold.

When the brain refuses to take the cash

“Our experiment found that the realm of the sacred—whether it’s a strong religious belief, a national identity or a code of ethics—is a distinct cognitive process,” says Gregory Berns, director of the Center for Neuropolicy at Emory University and lead author of the study published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. Sacred values prompt greater activation of an area of the brain associated with rules-based, right-or-wrong thought processes, the study shows, as opposed to the regions linked to processing of costs-versus-benefits. Berns headed a team that included economists and information scientists from Emory University, a psychologist from the New School for Social Research, and anthropologists from the Institute Jean Nicod in Paris, France.

When It Comes To Depression, Serotonin Isn't The Whole Story : Shots - Health Blog. Hide captionThe antidepressant Prozac selectively targets the chemical serotonin. Paul S. Howell/Getty Images. Neural network gets an idea of number without counting - tech - 20 January 2012. AN ARTIFICIAL brain has taught itself to estimate the number of objects in an image without actually counting them, emulating abilities displayed by some animals including lions and fish, as well as humans. Because the model was not preprogrammed with numerical capabilities, the feat suggests that this skill emerges due to general learning processes rather than number-specific mechanisms.

"It answers the question of how numerosity emerges without teaching anything about numbers in the first place," says Marco Zorzi at the University of Padua in Italy, who led the work. The finding may also help us to understand dyscalculia - where people find it nearly impossible to acquire basic number and arithmetic skills - and enhance robotics and computer vision.

The skill in question is known as approximate number sense. A simple test of ANS involves looking at two groups of dots on a page and intuitively knowing which has more dots, even though you have not counted them. How exactly do neurons pass signals through your nervous system?