What exactly is déjà vu? James M. 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.
By Vaughan Bell, The ObserverSunday, April 29, 2012 8:34 EST It is the boom area in science. Vaughan Bell explains why What is neuroscience? A brief guide to neuroscience
U. MISSOURI (US) — New research challenges the idea that the human brain has a “God spot,” a distinct area responsible for spirituality. No single ‘God spot’ in human brain
Your IQ Depends on a Single Gene
SExpand We all have that one friend who never shit-talks anyone, discreetly volunteers at the dog shelter every weekend, and refuses to steal olives from the food court — and she's not even annoying about any of it because she's just so goddamned nice. What's her deal? Was she raised differently? 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.
Metaphors actually trigger the sensory parts of our brains Metaphors and other figurative language are deeply woven into the fabric of human communication, as this very sentence actually demonstrates. But how do our brains translate these metaphors into something they can understand? There's a longstanding debate among neuroscientists regarding that question. Let's look at the word "rotten", which literally means "spoiled" but whose metaphorical usage has expanded its definition to include anything bad or unpleasant.
Neuroscience the new face of warfare: experts
The brain's long-term memory allows us to hold onto experiences long after we initially encountered them. But short-term memory is a more fleeting and mysterious phenomenon, allowing us to hang onto a thought only until we're distracted by something else. While the basics of how the brain creates long-term memories is decently well understood - it's basically just a question of encoding data in the brain so that it can be recalled later - short-term memory is harder to understand. After all, the whole point of short-term memory is that nothing is being recorded, at least not for more than about twenty to thirty seconds. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics - which is one of the more awesome things a Max Planck Institute can be for - decided to get to the bottom of this mystery. How does your brain create short-term memories?
CALTECH (US) — Based on a new study with locusts, researchers better understand how the brain adapts to remember new and specific smells. The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) study focuses on a key feature of human and animal brains—that they are adaptive. Smells, great and gross, reshape the brain
Human Nature and the Neurobiology of Conflict | Wired Science Areas 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. Michael Dodd of the University of Nebraska wanted to explore this in finer detail: He showed 46 left- or right-leaning Nebraskans a series of images alternately disgusting (spiders on faces, open wounds) and appealing (smiling children, cute rabbits.)
This is what your brain on drugs really looks like SExpand Scientists this week published a study that reveals what the human brain looks like under the influence of psilocybin, the hallucinogenic chemical found in magic mushrooms. The study has turned a few heads, and raised some interesting questions. What does the human brain look like during a mushroom trip?
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. “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. When the brain refuses to take the cash
hide captionThe antidepressant Prozac selectively targets the chemical serotonin. Paul S. Howell/Getty Images When It Comes To Depression, Serotonin Isn't The Whole Story : Shots - Health Blog
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. Neural network gets an idea of number without counting - tech - 20 January 2012
SExpand You probably think of your nervous system as a kind of computer network, or some kind of electrical system that passes nerve impulses around. But in reality, the miraculous journey of a signal thorough your nervous system is a story that involves cell biology, chemistry and physics. Your brain contains 30 billion neurons, and each of them is a staggering achievement. How exactly do neurons pass signals through your nervous system?