Mind/Brain



4 July 2014

Biological basis for magic mushrooms' mind-expansion revealed


For the first time, researchers have measured the level of entropy for different networks in the brain under the influence of psilocybin. They found that activity in the more primitive brain network linked to emotional thinking became more pronounced - a pattern of activity similar to that observed in people who are dreaming...

10 June 2014

Could "free will" arise from random brain noise?


Free will, the ability that we believe we have to make choices - and mistakes - might arise from simple random fluctuations in the brain's background electrical noise, say neuroscientists from the University of California, Davis...

23 April 2014

Speed-reading apps hinder comprehension, say researchers


Speed-reading apps for phones and tablets work by eliminating the time we supposedly waste moving our eyes as we read. But new research suggests that the eye movements we make during reading actually play a vital role in our ability to understand what we're reading...

31 January 2014

Scans reveal frenzied activity inside the autistic brain


Neuroscientists say that the brains of autistic children generate significantly more information in a resting state, a discovery that helps explain the most typical characteristic of autism - withdrawal into one's own inner world...

8 December 2013

Gene expression altered with meditation


Previous studies have shown that meditation can trigger changes in the brain and body but the biological mechanism for these effects has remained a mystery. Now, researchers are reporting the first evidence of specific molecular changes in the body following a period of meditation...

3 December 2013

"Striking" differences between brains of men and women


Scientists studying brain connectivity have found significant differences in the neural wiring of men and women that lends credence to some commonly-held beliefs about gender traits and behaviors...

27 October 2013

Brain's processing power vastly under-estimated, suggests new study


In work that could change the way we think about how neural circuitry functions in the brain, scientists have shown that dendrites, long thought to be passive wiring in the brain, actually process information...

18 September 2013

Effects from Toxoplasma gondii infection appear to be permanent


Surprising new research has revealed the neural effects of toxoplasmosis infection appear to be permanent, persisting long after the parasitic infection is cleared from the body...

5 September 2013

Inner-ear disorders may be key to ADHD


Behavioral abnormalities are traditionally thought to originate in the brain, but researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine have found that inner-ear dysfunction can directly cause neurological disorders such as hyperactivity...

9 August 2013

Who'd have thunk it? Scientists reveal how overthinking handicaps human performance


A new University of California study reveals why under certain circumstances paying full attention and trying hard can actually impede performance...

10 July 2013

Brain mapping gets a reality check


The idea that researchers can unravel different brain functions by performing MRI scans while subjects perform tasks is deeply flawed, say scientists in a scathing critique of recent studies that rely on neuroimaging...

9 July 2013

Brain-training claims questioned


Brain-training companies claim scientific studies back the effectiveness of their programs, but according to a new report, most studies like these have a critical flaw - they do not account for the placebo effect...

24 June 2013

Eyes used to measure pleasure response


The brain's pleasure response to tasting food can be accurately measured through the eyes using a common, low-cost ophthalmological tool, say researchers who believe the method could be used by both food scientists and clinicians...

11 April 2013

This is your brain on iTunes


Researchers have been using an MRI scanner to work out what happens in our brain when we decide to purchase a piece of music after we hear it for the first time. The study pinpoints the specific brain activity that makes new music rewarding and predicts the decision to purchase music...

28 March 2013

Future criminal behavior predicted with brain scan


Researchers say neuroimaging data can predict the likelihood of whether a criminal will reoffend following release from prison...

20 March 2013

Brain wave trajectories challenge area-specific notion of brain activity


Our understanding of brain activity has traditionally been linked to specific brain areas - an area associated with speech, vision, etc. - but Belgian scientists say this view may be overly rigid. Their experiments reveal waves of activity across the entire cerebral cortex when a given task is initiated...

6 March 2013

Sports brain injury may actually be an autoimmune phenomenon


U.S. medicos have proposed a radical new way of thinking about concussions: that the brain degeneration observed among professional football players could result from an out-of-control immune response, similar to that which multiple sclerosis patients experience. If so, they suggest that vaccines or drug therapies could be used to prevent the resultant cognitive degeneration...

18 February 2013

Appreciation of musical harmony is nurture, not nature, say Aussie scientists


Our love of music and appreciation of musical harmony is learnt and not based on natural ability, according to Australian researchers at the University of Melbourne...

13 January 2013

Republicans' brains wired for fight-or-flight


Measuring the brain activity of Republicans and Democrats while they played a simple gambling game has revealed striking differences in each group's cognitive functioning...

27 January 2013

Synesthesia traced to childhood toy


Experiencing a color when viewing particular letters or numbers - known as color-grapheme synesthesia - may partly be a learned behavior, say researchers who uncovered startlingly similar color-letter pairings amongst a number of color grapheme synesthetes who played with the same childhood toy...

23 January 2013

Multitasking: you're bad at it


Most people believe they can multitask effectively, but a new University of Utah study indicates that the people who multitask the most are the people least capable of doing so...

22 November 2012

Rhythmic nature of consciousness probed


Understanding how our brains encode thoughts at the cellular level may be a step closer after neuroscientists at MIT discovered groups of neurons encoding specific behavioral rules by oscillating in synchrony, a finding that suggests conscious thought emerges from oscillatory cycles in the brain...

16 November 2012

"Uncommon features" in Einstein's brain revealed


Researchers who have just completed a new analysis of the famous scientist's grey matter say portions of Albert Einstein's brain were unlike those of most people and could be related to his extraordinary cognitive abilities...

22 October 2012

Spatial awareness skewed by fear


Fear can dramatically skew our perception of approaching objects, causing us to underestimate the distance of a threatening one, but researchers are unsure whether fear makes the object appear to travel faster, or whether that fear makes the viewer expand their sense of personal space...

8 October 2012

Neuroscientists observe "novel" activity in brain during sleep


For the first time, researchers have measured the activity of a brain region known to be involved in learning and memory during sleep and discovered that it behaves as if it's remembering something, a finding that counters conventional theories about memory consolidation during sleep...

3 September 2012

Alcohol rewires brain for PTSD


Heavy drinking appears to impair the brain's ability to recover from trauma and may put people at greater risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), say scientists from the University of North Carolina and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism...

17 July 2012

Inaccuracy of brain's language processing revealed


A new study using electroencephalography to explore what is happening in our brains when we process sentences containing semantic illusions (After a plane crash, where should the survivors be buried?) has shown human listening to be shallow and incomplete at best...

25 June 2012

Experiment reveals workings of Freudian unconscious


New experimental findings show a causal link between unconscious conflict and the conscious symptoms experienced by people with anxiety disorders, lending weight to one of Sigmund Freud's key theories...

20 June 2012

Scientists block aggression


Pathological rage can be blocked in mice by shutting down a specific receptor in the brain, report US researchers who believe the finding could lead to new treatments for aggression and hostile overreactions to stress...

7 May 2012

Robot probe maps brain neuron activity faster, more accurately


Researchers at MIT and the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a robotic probe to automate the process of finding and recording information from neurons in the living brain...

18 April 2012

Food and sex behaviors predicted with MRI


Scientists using MRI brain scans to investigate the areas of the brain to do with reward and self-control found they could predict the subjects' levels of weight gain and sexual desires six months into the future...

6 April 2012

Brain scans hint at root of consciousness


Imaging internal brain activity under anesthesia has provided researchers with revealing insights into what happens when the subjective phenomenon of consciousness first vanishes and then re-emerges...

27 March 2012

Antidepressant use primes brain for placebo effect


Putting a twist in a run-of-the-mill medication-versus-placebo trial has revealed that prior treatment with antidepressants appears to prime the brain to exhibit a much stronger response to a placebo...

23 March 2012

False memories implanted in mammalian brain


By exerting control over specific neurons in the brain, scientists have successfully generated synthetic memory traces in mice, leading the rodents to believe they were somewhere they weren't...

27 February 2012

Rosemary's curious psychoactive effects explored


Hailed since ancient times for its medicinal properties, scientists are now uncovering how rosemary oil improves cognitive performance through its effect on mood...

24 February 2012

Dopamine therapy turbocharges artistic drive


Pathological gambling and hypersexuality are two of the better documented side-effects of Parkinson's disease medication, but researchers say that dopamine therapy can also trigger the relentless pursuit of artistic endeavors...

14 February 2012

How to spot Internet dating liars


A linguistic analysis carried out by US communications experts has revealed a list of tell-tale language traits that liars use in their online dating profiles...

8 February 2012

Stimulants' ADHD calming mechanism revealed


The counterintuitive calming effect of amphetamines was first observed in a group of hyperactive children more than 70 years ago, but the actual physiological mechanism at work has remained a mystery until now...

26 January 2012

Magic mushrooms get MRI treatment


Brain scans have revealed that psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, makes users' memories more vivid by suppressing activity in certain areas of the brain...

11 January 2012

Disrupted biological clock damages brain


For the first time, scientists at Oregon State University have shown that disrupting the biological clocks found in many animals can cause accelerated neurodegeneration, loss of motor function and premature death...

10 January

Nicotine patches reduce senior moments


Older people may benefit from the regular use of nicotine patches, according to a study that showed improvements in memory and brain function in a group of senior non-smokers who were suffering mild cognitive impairment...

13 December 2011

Automated Matrix style learning demonstrated


A US-Japanese team of researchers have demonstrated a system that uses fMRI imaging feedback to attune a person's visual cortex to match the brain patterns needed to perform various high-performance tasks with little or no conscious effort...

28 November 2011

Dreams shown to provide daily stress-busting therapy


Dreams provide us with a form of overnight therapy, say researchers who have discovered that during dreams our stress chemistry shuts down while the brain processes emotional experiences and takes the painful edge off difficult memories...

21 November 2011

Forgetful? Blame your house


Everyone has experienced the frustration of entering a room and forgetting what we were planning to do in there. The reason, say psychologists, is that entering or exiting household doorways serves to create "event boundaries" in the mind...

7 November 2011

T. gondii brain parasite found to alter dopamine production


The brain parasite Toxoplasma gondii, infecting an estimated 15 percent of the population, has been found to dramatically increase the production of dopamine, one of the brain's key chemical messengers...

21 October 2011

Autism's facial characteristics revealed


Researchers from the University of Missouri have identified the differences between the facial characteristics of children with autism and those of typically developing children...

3 October 2011

Scale of epigenetic changes observed in stimulated brain is "mind boggling"


In a discovery with major implications for treating psychiatric diseases and neurodegenerative disorders, neurologists have established that non-dividing brain cells, thought to be inherently stable, can instead undergo large-scale dynamic changes as a result of brain stimulation...

15 September 2011

Self-delusion a winning strategy in life


A mathematical model that simulates the effects of overconfidence shows that harboring a mistakenly inflated belief that we can easily meet challenges or win conflicts is beneficial in business, sport and war...

7 September 2011

Fattening-up with Facebook


Social and physical environments can have a profound effect on metabolic processes, say the scientists behind rodent experiments that showed how an engaging social environment can burn more fat than a treadmill...

2 September 2011

Gettin' drunk and fallin' down; who cares?


In a fascinating new study, researchers have shown that contrary to previous research, alcohol doesn't reduce your awareness of mistakes - it reduces how much you care about making those mistakes...

12 July 2011

Drugs of addiction hijack our love of salt


Scientists have found that addictive drugs appear to hijack the same nerve cells and connections in the brain that serve a powerful, ancient instinct: our appetite for salt...

6 July 2011

Forget about it


The notion that we can intentionally forget unwanted memories has been controversial ever since Freud proposed it at the beginning of the 20th century. Now, a neuroimaging study shows that Freud was correct and we can control what we forget...

4 July 2011

Nicotine receptors found to play key role in social behaviors


French researchers say the nicotinic receptors in the prefrontal cortex are essential for social interaction in mice and that this area of the brain is necessary for adapted and balanced social interactions to occur...

21 June 2011

IT-rich region revealed to be autism hotspot


Cambridge University researchers have found that autism diagnoses are more common in IT-rich regions, a finding that has important implications for service provision in those regions and also for the "hyper-systemizing" theory of autism...

16 May 2011

Alzheimer's risk gene begins disrupting brain 50 years before disease hits


Degeneration of myelin in the brain's white-matter fiber pathways is increasingly considered to be a key component of Alzheimer's disease and researchers now say that it begins when we are young and nearly 90 percent of Caucasians are vulnerable...

14 March 2011

Researchers speculate that hormonal imbalances might create geniuses


The discussion about whether genius is a byproduct of good genes or good environment may take an entirely new direction, say Canadian researchers who contend that hormonal influences in the womb may play an important role in creating intellectually gifted individuals...

17 February 2011

Text messaging modifying our emotional responses


Experiments by German psychologists indicate that text messaging is subtly changing the way our brains respond to certain number combinations...

3 February 2011

Brain's neurons found to communicate via electric fields


Neurons in the brain had been thought to communicate exclusively via the physical connections that are known as synapses, but Caltech researchers say they have uncovered strong evidence that neurons also communicate with each other via weak electric fields, a finding that could help us understand how biophysics gives rise to cognition - the holy grail of neuroscience...

26 January 2011

Couples' language use predicts relationship success


People tend to be attracted to those who resemble themselves in terms of personality, values, and physical appearance. Now, researchers say that the ways that people talk are also important, and that people who speak in similar styles are more compatible...

25 January 2011

Fear of spiders, snakes is learnt... very quickly


A new meta-study appearing in Current Directions in Psychological Science reviews a number of studies with infants and finds that we aren't born afraid of spiders and snakes, but we can learn these fears very quickly...

20 December 2010

Study identifies key aspects of music that evoke emotions in brain


Using fMRI neuroimaging, scientists have identified key aspects of musical performance that cause emotion-related brain activity, and they have shown for the first time how these small nuances work in the brain, in real-time...

9 July 2010

Alzheimer's breakthrough: A chemical to make brain cells grow


"It was blind luck," say the researchers who discovered a chemical that makes new neurons grow in the part of the brain that is integral to learning and memory...

4 June 2010

Markedly higher risk of suicide in men with low IQ scores


Even after adjusting for factors such as age and socioeconomic status, researchers found that men with lower IQ scores were significantly more likely to have attempted suicide at least once - usually by taking an overdose of medication...

28 May 2010

Bone marrow transplant cures mental illness


For the first time, a team of geneticists has shown that there is a direct cause-and-effect link between a psychiatric disorder and the immune system, a discovery that could herald new treatments for mental illness...

30 April 2010

Oxytocin found to impact learning processes


Released on a massive scale during orgasm, the neuropeptide oxytocin is also known to trigger childbirth and strengthen the emotional bond between a mother and new-born child. Now, researchers have found that it can also have a dramatic effect on men's emotional empathy and learning processes...

20 April 2010

Eating disorders lurking in most women


When women with eating disorders viewed an image of an overweight person, MRI scans revealed their brains "lighting up" in ways that suggested extreme unhappiness and self-loathing. But the researchers were astonished to observe the same responses from women with no history of eating disorders and no apparent body image issues...

9 April 2010

Autism may be reversible thanks to newly identified DNA "tag"


Scientists have discovered that drugs which affect the methylation state (so-called "DNA tagging") of genes could reverse autism's effects...

30 March 2010

Magnetic field alters moral judgments


US neuroscientists have shown they can influence people's moral judgments by temporarily disrupting the right temporo-parietal junction of the brain, a finding that helps reveal how the brain constructs morality...

25 November 2009

Consciousness: Big brain not necessary


A bigger brain doesn't mean more intelligence, say biologists in the UK who suggest that insects could be as intelligent as much bigger animals and that only a few thousand neurons may be necessary to generate consciousness...

14 October 2009

Uncanny valley response observed in monkeys


The uncanny valley, a phrase that describes the disquieting feeling that occurs when viewers look at (almost) realistic human-like animated characters or androids, has now been observed in monkeys...

16 September 2009

Surreal experiences boost brain power


Psychologists have found that exposure to surrealism, by say, reading a book by Franz Kafka or watching a film by director David Lynch, enhances the cognitive mechanisms that oversee some of the learning functions in the brain...

10 September 2009

Mind-reading through the eyes


Scientists say they may be able to glean information about stored memories and past events by tracking a subject's eye movements, even when the subject is unable - or unwilling - to describe what they remember...

3 September 2009

Those blinded by brain injury may still "see"


Researchers say they have compelling evidence for the existence of ancient visual pathways in the brain that bypass the main visual areas that allow us to "see" and instead directly influence the movements of our limbs to enable obstacle avoidance...

23 June 2009

Brain treats tools as body parts


When we use a tool - even for just a few minutes - it changes the way our brain represents the size of our body, with the tool becoming an integrated component of our body schema...

14 April 2009

Tweet this: Rapid-fire media confuses our moral compass


A new study raises important questions about the emotional cost - particularly for the developing brain - of our increasingly heavy reliance on a rapid stream of news snippets obtained through television, online feeds and social networks such as Twitter...

7 April 2009

The neurobiology of wisdom


A new meta-study just completed by University of California neurologists sought to determine if specific brain circuits and pathways might be responsible for wisdom - once the sole province of religion and philosophy. The researchers argue that there may indeed be a basis in neurobiology for wisdom's most universal traits...

19 March 2009

New clues in understanding face perception


Humans excel at recognizing faces but neuroscience doesn't know how we accomplish it. Now, in an effort to explain our success in this area, researchers are taking a closer look at how and why we fail at face recognition. Specifically, our impaired ability to recognize faces in photographic negatives...

17 March 2009

Guitarists' brains synchronized


When guitarists play along together it isn't just their instruments that are in time - their brain waves are too, say researchers who have been analyzing EEG readouts from pairs of guitarists...

4 March 2009

Musicians' brains optimized to identify emotion


In research that may lead to new therapies for children with autism and Asperger's syndrome, researchers have found the first biological evidence that musical training enhances an individual's ability to recognize emotion in speech...

26 February 2009

Simplicity of brain's odor encoding revealed


A new theory of how animals smell may be in the offing as scientists reveal that the brain encodes the complex patterns of odors using surprisingly little neural machinery...

15 January 2009

Asymmetrical brain gives up its secrets


Two newly identified proteins are responsible for the tug-of-war between the two sides of the developing human brain that causes it to become asymmetrical, a property that is critical in allowing the two brain hemispheres to specialize and operate more efficiently...

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