Letter-Color Synaesthesia For as long as I can remember, I've had this implicit sense of a relationship between letters and colors. To me, every letter seems to have a color of its own. When I think of a word, I am aware of its color and the color of its component letters. Webster's Dictionary defines synaesthesia as "the production of a mental sense-impression relating to one sense by the stimulation of another sense." The effect is completely involuntary. Here's an approximation of the basic mapping of the letters and numerals, taken individually, to colors: Here they are again, over a dark background: This may seem odd, but it gets stranger. First of all, vowels almost always fade into the background in the presence of consonants. In longer words, the repetition of a single letter can even influence the other consonants, as in this case: However, this is less often the case in a word that begins with a vowel. The color effect has very little to do with the pronunciation of a word.
12.08.2010 - Our brains are wired so we can better hear ourselves speak, new study shows Like the mute button on the TV remote control, our brains filter out unwanted noise so we can focus on what we’re listening to. But when it comes to following our own speech, a new brain study from the University of California, Berkeley, shows that instead of one homogenous mute button, we have a network of volume settings that can selectively silence and amplify the sounds we make and hear. Activity in the auditory cortex when we speak and listen is amplified in some regions of the brain and muted in others. In this image, the black line represents muting activity when we speak. (Courtesy of Adeen Flinker) Neuroscientists from UC Berkeley, UCSF and Johns Hopkins University tracked the electrical signals emitted from the brains of hospitalized epilepsy patients. Their findings, published today (Dec. 8, 2010) in the Journal of Neuroscience, offer new clues about how we hear ourselves above the noise of our surroundings and monitor what we say.
Less Empathy Toward Outsiders: Brain Differences Reinforce Preferences For Those In Same Social Group An observer feels more empathy for someone in pain when that person is in the same social group, according to new research in the July 1 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. The study shows that perceiving others in pain activates a part of the brain associated with empathy and emotion more if the observer and the observed are the same race. The findings may show that unconscious prejudices against outside groups exist at a basic level. The study confirms an in-group bias in empathic feelings, something that has long been known but never before confirmed by neuroimaging technology. Researchers have explored group bias since the 1950s. "Our findings have significant implications for understanding real-life social behaviors and social interactions," said Shihui Han, PhD, at Peking University in China, one of the study authors. Other recent brain imaging studies show that feeling empathy for others in pain stimulates a brain area called the anterior cingulate cortex.
5 Ways To Hack Your Brain Into Awesomeness Much of the brain is still mysterious to modern science, possibly because modern science itself is using brains to analyze it. There are probably secrets the brain simply doesn't want us to know. But by no means should that stop us from tinkering around in there, using somewhat questionable and possibly dangerous techniques to make our brains do what we want. We can't vouch for any of these, either their effectiveness or safety. All we can say is that they sound awesome, since apparently you can make your brain... #5. So you just picked up the night shift at your local McDonald's, you have class every morning at 8am and you have no idea how you're going to make it through the day without looking like a guy straight out of Dawn of the Dead, minus the blood... hopefully. "SLEEEEEEEEEP... uh... What if we told you there was a way to sleep for little more than two hours a day, and still feel more refreshed than taking a 12-hour siesta on a bed made entirely out of baby kitten fur? Holy Shit!
8 Things Everybody Ought to Know About Concentrating “Music helps me concentrate,” Mike said to me glancing briefly over his shoulder. Mike was in his room writing a paper for his U.S. History class. On his desk next to his computer sat crunched Red Bulls, empty Gatorade bottles, some extra pocket change and scattered pieces of paper. Mike made a shift about every thirty seconds between all of the above. Do you know a person like this? The Science Behind Concentration In the above account, Mike’s obviously stuck in a routine that many of us may have found ourselves in, yet in the moment we feel it’s almost an impossible routine to get out of. When we constantly multitask to get things done, we’re not multitasking, we’re rapidly shifting our attention. Phase 1: Blood Rush Alert When Mike decides to start writing his History essay, blood rushes to his anterior prefrontal cortex. Phase 2: Find and Execute Phase 3: Disengagement While in this state, Mike then hears an email notification. The process repeats itself sequentially. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
How music touches the brain Finnish researchers have developed a new method that makes it possible to study how the brain processes various aspects of music such as rhythm, tonality and timbre. The study reveals how a variety of networks in the brain, including areas responsible for motor actions, emotions, and creativity, are activated when listening to music. According to the researchers, the new method will increase our understanding of the complex dynamics of brain networks and the way music affects us. Responding to Argentinian tango Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the research team, led by Dr. "Our results show for the first time how different musical features activate emotional, motor and creative areas of the brain", says Professor Petri Toiviainen of the University of Jyväskylä, who was also involved in the study. This figure shows that listening to music activates not only the auditory areas, but large networks throughout the brain. The whole brain reacts to music Professor Petri Toiviainen
ASMR Research & Support How to increase serotonin in the human brain without drugs Future - The brain’s miracle superpowers of self-improvement For years she had tried to be the perfect wife and mother but now, divorced, with two sons, having gone through another break-up and in despair about her future, she felt as if she’d failed at it all, and she was tired of it. On 6 June 2007. Debbie Hampton, of Greensboro, North Carolina, took an overdose. That afternoon, she’d written a note on her computer: “I’ve screwed up this life so bad that there is no place here for me and nothing I can contribute.” But then she woke up again. It was around this time that she tried a new treatment called neurofeedback. You’re not stuck with the brain you’re born with – Debbie Hampton After reading Doidge’s book, Debbie began living what she calls a “brain-healthy” life. ‘Series of miracles’ Debbie’s not alone in her enthusiasm for neuroplasticity, which is what we call the brain’s ability to change itself in response to things that happen in our environment. Debbie’s story is a mystery. Gloomy prognosis Rewired brains False hopes
A sophisticate’s primer on empathy – and its limits Empathy, the sharing of feelings with another person and consequently caring about them, is typically a virtue in our society. ‘I hear you’ and ‘I feel your pain’ are said with a sense of compassion and concern for the welfare of others. We embrace the ‘Golden Rule’ to treat others as we would want to be treated. And when we feel empathy, we are inclined to do good things. One of the leading psychology scholars on empathy, C Daniel Batson, points out that, although definitions of empathy vary, all share the view that empathy is a process through which we experience and understand the feelings of others, and that can move us to respond in considerate and concerned ways. Caring about others is a good thing. Empathy helps people to share the experiences of other people and different groups. Empathy is not imagining how you might feel in the place of another. The building blocks of empathy take shape in infancy and develop through a lifetime of learning. Updates on everything new at Aeon.