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Composing Your Thoughts - Issue 2: Uncertainty 1. Unshaven and one bit short To death and taxes, Benjamin Franklin’s binary list of life’s certainties, add the expectation that this six-note sequence: Will continue with this: Although we ponder ways to avoid or evade Franklin’s list of unavoidable events, we generally accept this more benign certainty as immutable. The penultimate note of the tune generates such strong and specific anticipation that you are likely finding it difficult to continue reading without resolving the sequence. The ubiquitous “Shave and a Haircut” and its aborted variant provide ideal stimuli to study how the brain responds to violated expectations. 2. Contrary to the proverbial tree-falling-in-the forest quandary, a musical note that fails to materialize is at least as present in our brain as it would be had it actually sounded. In the 1970s, psychologists Robert Rescorla and Allan R. I have shown that effect in my own studies at Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics. 3.

Instant Expert 31: The human brain Cookies on the New Scientist website close Our website uses cookies, which are small text files that are widely used in order to make websites work more effectively. To continue using our website and consent to the use of cookies, click away from this box or click 'Close' Find out about our cookies and how to change them Log in Your login is case sensitive I have forgotten my password close My New Scientist Look for Science Jobs Instant Expert 31: The human brain (Image: Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging)It took thousands of years, but our understanding of how the brain works has brought us to the brink of enlightenment. Milestones of neuroscience We now have a detailed understanding of the brain's building block – the neuron. More than one way to map a mind Injuries were once the key to learning how the brain worked, but advanced imaging techniques are now giving us detailed maps of where our skills ariseRead more From tiny neurons to expansive minds Looking over the neuroscience horizon Death

Endogenous opioids The physiologic modulation of noxious stimuli involves a highly complex system that integrates the actions of multiple opioid receptors and endogenous opioid peptides. Endogenous opioid peptides Opioid peptides that are produced in the body include: - Endorphins - Enkephalins - Dynorphins - Endomorphins Each family derives from a distinct precursor protein and has a characteristic anatomical distribution. The precursors, prepro-opiomelanocortin (POMC), preproenkephalin and preprodynorphin which are encoded by three corresponding genes code for the endorphins, enkephalins, and dynorphins respectively. Each precursor is subject to complex cleavages and post-translational modifications resulting in the synthesis of multiple active peptides. Following the biochemical purification and characterization of the three endogenous opioid peptide families much progress has been made in mapping the specific locations of opioid peptides and their binding site distributions throughout the brain.

The 6 Most Mind-Blowing Animal Senses You probably already know that when it comes to everything but intellectual pursuits and wearing cardigans in a knot over one's shoulders, animals have humans beat. All of your senses together can't match what a dog can pick up with its nose, for instance. But every now and then, an animal's sensory superiority goes above and beyond the usual and takes a turn for the bizarre and/or terrifying. #6. Wikipedia Vampire bats are the only mammals that subsist entirely on blood -- otherwise, we'd just call them "bats." Livescience.comBats only appear on film as 1980s school photos. That nose that God forgot actually does more than just invite business cards of bat plastic surgeons -- it can sense the heat of your blood flowing through your veins. Its nose-lip combo contains infrared heat cells that can sense the warmth of the blood at a distance. WikipediaIt's the fact that they refuse to eat or drink unless it's served to them in a sterling silver bowl. #5. Photos.com #4. Wikipedia

More Left Brain / Right Brain Nonsense This is one of those memes that refuses to die. It’s a zombie-meme, the terminator of myths, one of those ideas of popular culture that everyone knows but is simply wrong – the idea that individuals can be categorized as either left-brain or right-brain in terms of their personality and the way they process information. Related to this is the notion that any individual can either engage their left brain or their right brain in a particular task. The most pernicious myths tend to have a kernel of truth, but are misleading or oversimplified in a significant way. For example, language function lateralizes to the dominant hemisphere, which is the left hemisphere for most people. That is as far as the left-brain/right-brain popular belief goes. In order to see each hemisphere operating on it’s own you need to specifically create a situation in which they do not communicate. I recently encountered two instances of the left-brain/right-brain myth, prompting this post.

Rubber Hand Trick Reveals Brain-Body Link | Wired Science The rubber hand illusion is more than a vaguely creepy parlor trick. It’s a window into relationship between our mental and physical self-conception. During the illusion, a participant’s hand is hidden, and a rubber hand positioned so that it appears as her own. She knows that it’s fake — but when both hands are stroked simultaneously, what’s seen and felt becomes blurred. Suddenly the rubber hand literally feels like it belongs to her. Consciously she knows it’s not true, but that doesn’t matter. Scientists have now shown that the hidden hand’s temperature drops during the illusion: its effects aren’t simply mental, but physical as well, and could even hint at as-yet-unknown processes of disease. "These findings show that the conscious sense of our physical self, and the physiological regulation of our physical self, are linked," write a team of researchers led by Oxford University’s G. Video: New ScientistImage: PNAS See Also:

10 theories that explain why we dream Kinja is in read-only mode. We are working to restore service. I like #7 and #8 of sorts, as they sort of fit in with the kinds of dreams I have. Fixing things, solving thing, experimenting with situations, and learning. That said, I know that differs a lot from the kind of dreams I probably had as a child, so there really can't be a single answer to this I guess. On that note after seeing Inception I loved the comments about how our dreams are basically "filled in" with familiar places/things to make them feel more complete. Flagged

5 Mind-Blowing Ways Your Senses Lie to You Every Day #2. Your Brain Changes the Size of Objects Around You Yuliya Chsherbakova/Photos.com Your eyes are lying to you right now about something as basic as the size of the stuff you're looking at. Don't believe us? Mighty Optical IllusionsSpoiler: You're about to feel dumb. If you answered the one on the right, congratulations, you're completely normal, and also completely wrong. Mighty Optical Illusions They're the exact same size. The above photograph is an example of the Ponzo illusion, which occurs when an image's context tricks your brain into seeing size differences. QuiaPoint all you want, kid, it'll always be shorter. So where have you seen this type of illusion in real life? If you see four at the same time, though, you probably need new glasses. But here's the weirdest part: Because these illusions are based on context, how badly they fool you depends on what you're used to seeing ... meaning that city dwellers are more vulnerable to being tricked. #1. Jupiterimages/Photos.com

The world that only formerly-blind people can see Applies to hearing, too. I recently got a new hearing aid. The old one was about 15 years old and had been degrading in performance for at least half its life. Also, in the past 15 years, there have been advances in hearing aid technology. When I first got the thing, I didn't really notice that dramatic a difference, except I was hearing a lot of "white noise" — that was new. The audiologist explained that my brain was learning how to process the new input that it wasn't getting before. It's actually pretty wonderful, but at the same time, it can be overwhelming, particularly in crowds/group situations.

5 Mind-Blowing Ways Your Senses Lie to You Every Day We are so completely dependent on our five senses every moment of the day that we totally forget how full of shit they can be. Your reality is cobbled together from a bunch of different parts of your brain working in conjunction, and often it's like a bickering conference room full of uncooperative co-workers. In fact, we're pretty sure the thing your brain does best is convince you that it works. But it doesn't take much to spot the bizarre little flaws in your gray matter. #5. Photos.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images When you hear someone talk, the whole process is pretty straightforward, right? Short answer: your eyes. In the clip, you see (and hear) a guy saying "bah bah bah" over and over. BBCYour brain also gave the "fah" version a tan, for unknown reasons. This illusion is called the McGurk effect, and the creepiest part is that, even knowing know full well what's going on, you can't get your ears to hear the correct sound. But that's not the only time your eyes screw you over ... #4.

Memory implantation is now officially real In this study, the mouse is now afraid of an environment in which it never received pain, and would therefore not associate pain with it. By artificially activating the neurons associated with the pain-free environment in a new context with a foot shock, a fear response is now elicited the original context where no shock or pain occurred. The experiment takes advantage of associations, but uses optogenetic activation to make the mouse remember shock where shock never occurred (false memory). But the environment could be similar enough that it thinks it may be get a shock anyways. umm, yeah, but the mouse still recieved pain from simply thinking of or remembering the environment. Of course you would be scarred shitless if you were forced into this bedroom, which the simple act of thinking of causes physical pain. The conclusion that it created a false memory is a huge assumption. I agree with this person...

3D map of human brain is the most detailed ever - health - 20 June 2013 The folds, creases and intricate internal structures that make up the human brain are being revealed in unprecedented detail. A new three-dimensional map called BigBrain is the most detailed ever constructed, and should lead to a more accurate picture of how the brain's different regions function and interact. Until now, the precise placement of the neurons that make up our brain circuitry has been difficult to map, largely because the human brain's surface is covered with folds and creases. Slicing a brain exposes only two dimensions, so it is often unclear where and how the cells within these folds are organised in three-dimensional space. To make the new map, Katrin Amunts of the Jülich Research Centre in Germany and her colleagues embedded a 65-year old woman's brain in wax, sliced it into more than 7400 sections each 20 micrometres thick – one-fifth of the width of a human hair – and made digital images of the slices, also at a resolution of 20 micrometres. Tour de force

Scientists can implant false memories into mice 25 July 2013Last updated at 15:28 ET By Melissa Hogenboom Science reporter, BBC News Optical fibres implanted in a mouse's brain activated memory forming cells False memories have been implanted into mice, scientists say. A team was able to make the mice wrongly associate a benign environment with a previous unpleasant experience from different surroundings. The researchers conditioned a network of neurons to respond to light, making the mice recall the unpleasant environment. Reporting in Science, they say it could one day shed light into how false memories occur in humans. The brains of genetically engineered mice were implanted with optic fibres in order to deliver pulses of light to their brain. Unreliable memory Continue reading the main story “Start Quote Our memory changes every single time it's being recorded. End QuoteDr Xu LiuMassachusetts Institute of Technology When this was brought to public attention, eyewitness testimonies alone were no longer used as evidence in court.

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