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Explanation: How Brain Training Can Make You Significantly Smarter. Psychopathic Traits Linked to Brain Reward System - NIH Research Matters. March 29, 2010 People who scored high on a test that measures impulsive and antisocial traits had exaggerated brain responses to certain “rewards,” like winning money or taking stimulant drugs.

Psychopathic Traits Linked to Brain Reward System - NIH Research Matters

The new study provides evidence that a dysfunctional brain reward system may underlie vulnerability to a personality disorder known as psychopathy. Impulsive and antisocial personality traits correlate with amphetamine-induced dopamine release (red and yellow) in the brain. Image by Buckholtz et al. Psychopathy is characterized by a combination of superficial charm, manipulative and antisocial behavior, impulsivity, blunted empathy and shallow emotional experiences. Jill Bolte Taylor's stroke of insight.

Advice vs. experience: Genes predict learning style. Researchers at Brown University have found that specific genetic variations can predict how persistently people will believe advice they are given, even when it is contradicted by experience.

Advice vs. experience: Genes predict learning style

The story they tell in a paper in the April 20 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience is one of the byplay between two brain regions that have different takes on how incoming information should influence thinking. The prefrontal cortex (PFC), the executive area of the brain, considers and stores incoming instructions such as the advice of other people (e.g., "Don't sell those stocks. ") The striatum, buried deeper in the brain, is where people process experience to learn what to do (e.g., "Those stocks often go up after I sell them. ") Researchers including Michael Frank, assistant professor of cognitive, linguistic, and psychological sciences at Brown, have studied the striatum intensely, but have been curious about the effect that the advice-influenced PFC has on its function. Sharpened focus: Improving the numbers, utility of medical imaging. Mind-Controlled Musical Instrument Helps Paralysis Patients Rehabilitate. Music Through the Mind Eduardo Miranda Paralysis patients could play music with their minds , using a new brain-control interface that senses brain impulses and translates them into musical notes.

Users must teach themselves how to associate brain signals with specific tasks, causing neuronal activity that the brain scanners can pick up. Then they can make music. It’s a pretty unique use of brain-computer interfaces, which are already being used to do things like drive cars , control robots and play video games. The device was developed by Eduardo Miranda , a composer and computer-music specialist at the University of Plymouth, UK. Patients with neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s can use music to walk to a rhythm or even to trigger memories or emotions. Silicon Chips Wired With Nerve Cells Could Enable New Brain/Machine Interfaces. It's reminiscent of Cartman's runaway Trapper Keeper notebook in that long-ago episode of South Park, but researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison may be scratching the surface of a new kind of brain/machine interface by creating computer chips that are wired together with living nerve cells.

Silicon Chips Wired With Nerve Cells Could Enable New Brain/Machine Interfaces

A team there has found that mouse nerve cells will connect with each other across a network of tiny tubes threaded through a semiconductor material. It's not exactly clear at this point how the nerve cells are functioning, but what is clear is that the cells seem to have an affinity for the tiny tubes, and that alone has some interesting implications. To create the nerve-chip hybrid, the researchers created tubes of layered silicon and germanium that are large enough for the nerve cells' tendrils to navigate but too small for the actual body of the cell to pass through.

What isn't clear is whether or not the cells are actually communicating with each other they way they would naturally. Your flaws are my pain: Experience of vicarious embarrassment is linked to empathy. Today, there is increasing exposure of individuals to a public audience.

Your flaws are my pain: Experience of vicarious embarrassment is linked to empathy

Television shows and the Internet provide platforms for this and, at times, allow observing others' flaws and norm transgressions. Regardless of whether the person observed realizes their flaw or not, observers in the audience experience vicarious embarrassment. For the first time, such vicarious embarrassment experiences as well as their neural basis have been investigated in research published in the open-access, peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE. The research was led by Sören Krach and Frieder M. How beliefs shape effort and learning. If it was easy to learn, it will be easy to remember.

How beliefs shape effort and learning

Psychological scientists have maintained that nearly everyone uses this simple rule to assess their own learning. Now a study published in an upcoming issue Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, suggests otherwise: "Individuals with different theories about the nature of intelligence tend to evaluate their learning in different ways," says David B.

Miele of Columbia University, who conducted the study with Bridgid Finn of Washington University in St. Louis and Daniel C. Video: Powerful Magnets Pointed At British Editor's Head Prevent Him From Reciting A Nursery Rhyme. 'Thunder' protein regulates memory formation. Researchers at Johns Hopkins have discovered in mice a molecular wrecking ball that powers the demolition phase of a cycle that occurs at synapses -- those specialized connections between nerve cells in the brain -- and whose activity appears critical for both limiting and enhancing learning and memory.

'Thunder' protein regulates memory formation

The newly revealed protein, which the researchers named thorase after Thor, the Norse god of thunder, belongs to a large family of enzymes that energize not only neurological construction jobs but also deconstruction projects. The discovery is described in the April 15 issue of Cell. "Thorase is vital for keeping in balance the molecular construction-deconstruction cycle we believe is required for memory formation," explains Valina Dawson, professor of neurology and neuroscience in the Johns Hopkins Institute of Cell Engineering. The enzyme is one of many AAA+ ATPases that drive the assembly of proteins needed to form specialized receptors at the surfaces of synapses.

Inability to detect sarcasm, lies may be early sign of dementia, study shows. By asking a group of older adults to analyze videos of other people conversing -- some talking truthfully, some insincerely -- a group of scientists at the University of California, San Francisco has determined which areas of the brain govern a person's ability to detect sarcasm and lies.

Inability to detect sarcasm, lies may be early sign of dementia, study shows

Some of the adults in the group were healthy, but many of the test subjects had neurodegenerative diseases that cause certain parts of the brain to deteriorate. The UCSF team mapped their brains using magnetic resonance imaging, MRI, which showed associations between the deteriorations of particular parts of the brain and the inability to detect insincere speech. "These patients cannot detect lies," said UCSF neuropsychologist Katherine Rankin, PhD, a member of the UCSF Memory and Aging Center and the senior author of the study. "This fact can help them be diagnosed earlier. " "We have to find these people early," said Rankin. Rising star of brain found to regulate circadian rhythms. The circadian system that controls normal sleep patterns is regulated by a group of glial brain cells called astrocytes, according to a study published online on April 14th in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication.

Rising star of brain found to regulate circadian rhythms

Neuroscientists from Tufts University School of Medicine found that disruption of astrocyte function in fruit flies (Drosophila) led to altered daily rhythms, an indication that these star-shaped glial cells contribute to the control of circadian behavior. These results provide, for the first time, a tractable genetic model to study the role of astrocytes in circadian rhythms and sleep disorders. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, more than 40 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders. 'First Comprehensive Gene Map' of the Brain Shows How Genes Express Themselves Neurologically. Hooking a 9-Volt Battery To Your Brain Improves Your Video Game Skills, Researcher Finds. We've already seen how magnets hovering close to a person's head can affect speech, behavior and learning patterns.

Hooking a 9-Volt Battery To Your Brain Improves Your Video Game Skills, Researcher Finds

Now it appears zapping your brain with a 9-volt battery will make you better at video games, at least according to one researcher. Don't try this yourself, though. Neuroscientists at the University of New Mexico asked volunteers to play a video game called "DARWARS Ambush! ", developed to help train American military personnel. Half of the players received 2 milliamps of electricity to the scalp, using a device powered by a simple 9-volt battery, and they played twice as well as those receiving a much tinier jolt.

This type of brain stimulation, called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), is controversial but could show promise for treatment of various neurological disorders and cognitive impairments. It's different from transcranial magnetic stimulation, in which a magnetic coil running at high voltage is positioned close to the head. [Nature News] Memory sticks: Can I expand my short-term memory? - life - 09 April 2011. Never mind mastering a second language or a subject syllabus, most us have enough difficulty remembering the orders for a round of drinks at the pub.

Memory sticks: Can I expand my short-term memory? - life - 09 April 2011

That's because the average short-term, working memory can only hold five to seven pieces of information at any one time. This limit constrains pretty much everything you want to do with your brain, so wouldn't it be great if you could overcome it? Unfortunately, past attempts by cognitive scientists to increase people's working memories have largely failed. Although subjects trained in specific strategies, such as rehearsing long strings of numbers, often improved their performance on the particular task at hand, they were no better at other problems.

As a result, researchers are now testing the effect of more variable and demanding tasks. Cell Phone Radiation Spurs Brain Activity. Though the health risks of cell phone radiation exposure are still "up in the air," scientists have finally figured out that it is doing something. According to a new study, the radio waves emitted by mobile devices cause a light flurry of activity in nearby brain tissue, causing it to burn 7 percent more energy than it would normally. "We have no idea what this means yet or how it works, said Nora Volkow, a neuroscientist at the National Institutes of Health and lead author of the study.