Many of the choices we make are informed by experiences we’ve had in the past. But occasionally we’re better off abandoning those lessons and exploring a new situation unfettered by past experiences. Scientists at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Research Campus have shown that the brain can temporarily disconnect information about past experience from decision-making circuits, thereby triggering random behavior.
Showing 86 posts tagged neurosci
The study from researchers at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom included 147 adults between the ages of 20 and 84. Researchers examined the link between sleep difficulties, such as having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night, and brain volume.
Ah, the internet. It lets us do so many things: from ordering pizza to browsing endless cat pictures and now… telepathy?
A study by a group of international scientists published in PLOS One found a brain could transmit a message to another brain through internet channels, and as if that weren’t enough — they did it across continents.
“As children learn basic arithmetic, they go from solving problems by counting on their fingers to pulling facts from memory,” researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine said. “The shift comes more easily for some kids than for others, but no one knows why,” the researchers said.
The study also adds to previous research into the differences between how children’s and adults’ brains solve math problems, he noted. Children use certain brain regions, including the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex, very differently from adults when the two groups are solving the same types of math problems, the study showed.
A new study by UC Irvine neurobiology professor Michael Yassa indicates that repetition may have negative effects on memorization, at least when it comes to remembering details.
Repeating information improves recall of main themes and factual content, but can actually damage recollection of nuanced details. During the study, subjects were tested on their memories of images — multiple views made it harder for participants to reject “imposter” pictures of similar subjects with changed details.
image via flickr:CC | Photo Extremist
New research indicates that practicing the right way is crucial to learning new skills.
“The study suggests that learning can be improved,” said Stafford. “You can learn more efficiently or use the same practice time to learn to a higher level. As we live longer, and more of our lives become based around acquiring complex skills, optimal learning becomes increasingly relevant to everyone.
image via flickr:CC | giulia.forsythe
For the first time ever, a paralyzed man can move his fingers and hand with his own thoughts thanks to a new device. A 23-year-old quadriplegic is the first patient to use Neurobridge, an electronic neural bypass for spinal cord injuries that reconnects the brain directly to muscles, allowing voluntary and functional control of a paralyzed limb.
On average, one or two kids in every U.S. classroom has dyslexia, a brain-based learning disability that often runs in families and makes reading difficult, sometimes painfully so.
Compared to other neurodevelopmental disorders like ADHD or autism, research into dyslexia has advanced further, experts say. That’s partly because dyslexia presents itself around a specific behavior: reading — which, as they say, is fundamental.
Now, new research shows it’s possible to pick up some of the signs of dyslexia in the brain even before kids learn to read. And this earlier identification may start to substantially influence how parents, educators and clinicians tackle the disorder.
A new study reports a potential link between stress hormones and short-term memory loss in older adults. The study reveals that having high levels of cortisol—a natural hormone in our body whose levels surge when we are stressed—can lead to memory lapses as we age.
image via flickr:CC | Alan Cleaver
A controlled study using functional MRI brain imaging reveals a possible biological link between early musical training and improved executive functioning in both children and adults, report researchers. The study uses functional MRI of brain areas associated with executive function, adjusting for socioeconomic factors.
image via flickr:CC | ChimpLearnGood
By grade 5 or 6, children have had an actual childhood and are starting to bump up against puberty. The pre-adolescent brain gains significantly increased capacity for abstraction and needs complex challenges. Computer skills, including internet research and coding, can draw students back into the world of learning, just as young adolescents are asserting themselves and detaching from childhood ways. There’s no downside to putting off computers, except the inconvenience to adults.
But elementary public schools have no choice but to plug kids in. Third-graders must be ready to be successful on online standardized tests. So little ones, kindergartners, prepare for computer-based tests from the moment the schools can get them started. If schools don’t, the kids’ poor results will feed the naming-and-shaming frenzy that characterizes the education-industry’s punitive use of otherwise interesting data.
image via flickr:CC | Foomandoonian
Stanford scientists have developed faster, more energy-efficient microchips based on the human brain — 9,000 times faster and using significantly less power than a typical PC. This offers greater possibilities for advances in robotics and a new way of understanding the brain. For instance, a chip as fast and efficient as the human brain could drive prosthetic limbs with the speed and complexity of our own actions.
image via flickr:CC | A Health Blog
A little education goes a long way toward ensuring you’ll recover from a serious traumatic brain injury. In fact, people with lots of education are seven times more likely than high school dropouts to have no measurable disability a year later.
"It’s a very dramatic difference," says , an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins and the lead author of a new study. The finding suggests that people with more education have brains that are better able to “find ways around the damage” caused by an injury, he says.
image via flickr:CC | jetheriot
New research shows that the part of the brain called the hippocampus stores memories by their ‘temporal context’ — what happened before and what came after.
“We need to remember not just what happened, but when,” said Liang-Tien (Frank) Hsieh, a graduate student at the University of California, Davis, Center for Neuroscience and first author on the study.
image via flickr:CC | pahouayang93
Although choosing to do something because the perceived benefit outweighs the financial cost is something people do daily, little is known about what happens in the brain when a person makes these kinds of decisions. Studying how these cost-benefit decisions are made when choosing to consume alcohol, a researcher identified distinct profiles of brain activity that are present when making these decisions.