Neuroscience

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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. What exactly is 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 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. 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. No single ‘God spot’ in human brain No single ‘God spot’ in human brain
Your IQ Depends on a Single Gene SExpand I worked for many years at a research place that employs a high percentage of people with advanced degrees; 50% had a Masters and 25% a PhD. I've known some very, very smart people and I have an observation to make. I think there is an optimal range of intelligence for getting along in the world and being useful. Obviously unfortunates with low intelligence have difficulty, but some of the smartest people I've met have almost as much trouble with working or social relationships, and in communicating the relevance of their work. A good friend at this R&D place has an IQ of 185; he could just barely communicate with his colleagues. 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 Some People May Literally Just Be Born Nicer
Our Most Important Memories Live in Just a Few Neurons Not to be overly critical, but there are a number of things that don't make sense in your explanation, which is fine seeing as generally scientific writing is rather difficult to understand (too much jargon, too dense, etc.), even to people in the field. I haven't actually read this paper, so I'm going to make a couple of assumptions based off of the info that you've provided to try and clarify a few things. One, the whole premise you set up in the second paragraph makes no sense. Optogenetics, as you point out, is a tool that we use to either stimulate or inhibit neurons with a light source (it can be a laser or an LED or some other light source of the appropriate wave length). The purpose is not to visualize cells "lighting up," as you put it, when they're active. 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. “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.” There’s math hiding in the music we love
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. Metaphors actually trigger the sensory parts of our brains
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? 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. 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. Smells, great and gross, reshape the brain 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. 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 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
How exactly do neurons pass signals through your nervous system?