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Pioneers of Brain-Computer Interfaces
By Elissa Welle — Statnews
They blazed a trail by having their brains linked to computers. Now they want to help shape the field’s future.
Brain Region Weighs Information from Different Sources
By Neuroscience News
The posterior inferior parietal lobe plays a critical role in integrating information from different sources during decision-making tasks.
Sometimes when making decisions, we have to draw on both our memories and the current facts in front of us. One example is attempting to decipher a hastily scribbled note while simultaneously trying to recall what we were writing about. To arrive at a decision, our brains assign levels of confidence to the two sources of information and then combine them.
“The world of learning is so broad, and the human soul is so limited in power! We reach forth and strain every nerve, but we seize only a bit of the curtain that hides the infinite from us.”
— Maria Mitchell, 1854
Learning Is Based on Neurons’ Ability to Cooperate for Survival
By Neuroscience News
Exploring systemwide intracellular metabolic cooperation as a mechanism for learning offers promise for a better understanding of how memory and learning occur in the brain. The emerging trend in neuroscience is to consider the work of neurons as anticipatory and future oriented.
9 Ways to Improve Brain Health
Your brain is an amazing thing. Your brain filters out the noise, allowing you to focus on what’s important. Your brain makes calculations and connections that enable you to think critically, solve problems, and develop new ideas, and it keeps your body functioning, coordinating all your muscles and organs. So it’s no wonder you want to do everything you can to protect your brain and keep it in good health. Here are nine ways you can improve your brain health.
Top 5 Foods for Better Brain Health
Do you want to make sure your brain stays healthy into your golden years? Are you curious about which foods are best for a healthy brain? Look no further.
You are what you eat. The food we eat has a direct impact on our bodies, including our brains. Nutritionists argue that our diets are even more important to the overall health and condition of our brain as we get older, making it even more vital to make sure you’re eating the right foods.
essential to human adaptive success
By University of Cambridge — MedicalXpress
Cambridge researchers studying cognition, behavior and the brain have concluded that people with dyslexia are specialized to explore the unknown. This is likely to play a fundamental role in human adaptation to changing environments.
They think this ‘explorative bias’ has an evolutionary basis and plays a crucial role in our survival.
Overlooked Strengths of Dyslexia
essential to human adaptive success
By University of Cambridge — SciTechDaily
Researchers say people with Developmental Dyslexia have specific strengths relating to exploring the unknown that have contributed to our species’ successful adaptation and survival.
Can We Think Without Using Language?
Science suggests that words aren’t strictly necessary for reasoning
By Joanna Thompson — LIVESCIENCE
What goes on inside our own heads when we think?
Humans have been expressing thoughts with language for tens (or perhaps hundreds) of thousands of years. It’s a hallmark of our species — so much so that scientists once speculated that the capacity for language was the key difference between us and other animals. And we’ve been wondering about each other’s thoughts for as long as we could talk about them.
Silence for Thought
Special Interneuron Networks in the Human Brain
By Irina Epstein — Neuroscience Research News
The analysis of the human brain is a central goal of neuroscience. However, for methodological reasons, research has largely focused on model organisms, in particular the mouse.
Now, neuroscientists gained novel insights on human neural circuitry using tissue obtained from neurosurgical interventions. Three-dimensional electron microscope data revealed a novel expanded network of interneurons in humans compared to mouse.
The Believing Brain
From ghosts and gods to politics and conspiracies
By Michael Shermer
How we construct beliefs and reinforce them as truths.
In this work synthesizing thirty years of research, psychologist, historian of science, and the world’s best-known skeptic Michael Shermer upends the traditional thinking about how humans form beliefs about the world.
Simply put, beliefs come first and explanations for beliefs follow.
We Are Fictional Characters
of Our Own Creation
By Nick Chater — BIG Think
We imagine and debate the inner lives of literary characters, knowing there can be no truth about their real motives or beliefs. Could our own inner lives also be works of fiction?
- Data suggests that the stories we tell ourselves about our motives, beliefs, and values are not merely unreliable but entirely fictitious.
- Our brains are such master storytellers that they even are able to justify choices that we never made.
- Introspection is not some strange inner perception; it is the human imagination turned upon itself.
Theory of Mind
what chess and drug dealers can teach you about manipulation
By Jonny Thomson — BigThink
Theory of mind is the ability we all have to see things from another’s point of view. It’s essential in all our interactions.
Thinking ahead is one hallmark of intelligence. Without it, we’re simply slaves to our instincts and reflexes. The role of forward thinking when dealing with others is addressed in a recent study out of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. It shows just how far ahead we think when we interact with — and manipulate — other people.
The Secret Lives of the Brain
By David Eagleman
If the conscious mind—the part you consider to be you—is just the tip of the iceberg, what is the rest doing?
This book, the navigates the depths of the subconscious brain to illuminate surprising mysteries: Why can your foot move halfway to the brake pedal before you become consciously aware of danger ahead? Why do you hear your name being mentioned in a conversation that you didn’t think you were listening to? And how is it possible to get angry at yourself—who, exactly, is mad at whom?
The Neuroscience of Optical Illusions
“Reality” is constructed by your brain. Here’s what that means, and why it matters.
By Brian Resnick — Vox
“It’s really important to understand we’re not seeing reality,” says neuroscientist Patrick Cavanagh, a research professor at Dartmouth College and a senior fellow at Glendon College in Canada. “We’re seeing a story that’s being created for us.”
The Neural Architecture of Intelligence
Finding solutions to the diverse problems we encounter in life
By Marianna Pogosyan Ph.D. — Psychology Today
The human brain is home to around 100 billion neurons. That’s roughly the number of stars the Milky Way harbors. Compared to most stars that like to drift through the galaxy by their lonesome selves, our neurons are champion extroverts. They like to make connections; 10^15 of them. Thanks to the miraculous chemical and electrical choreography that our networking neurons stage on any ordinary day, we are able to write love letters, calculate gratuities, and cure diseases.
- General intelligence is our general problem-solving aptitude.
- Intelligence doesn’t reside in one particular region or network of the brain.
- Brain plasticity is central to general intelligence.
- General intelligence reflects individual differences in the efficiency and flexibility of brain networks.
Exploring Artificial Consciousness
in the context of the film “Being John Malkovich”
By Ingrid Fadelli — Tech Xplore
Computer scientists and neuroscientists have been pondering on the difference between intelligence and “consciousness,” wondering whether machines will ever be able to attain the latter. Amar Singh, Assistant Professor at Banaras Hindu University, recently published a paper in a special issue of Springer Link’s AI & Society that explores these concepts by drawing parallels with the fantasy film “Being John Malkovich.”
The Third Man Factor
Surviving the Impossible
By John Geiger
An extraordinary account of how people at the very edge of death often sense an unseen presence beside them who encourages them to make one final effort to survive.
This incorporeal being offers a feeling of hope, protection, and guidance, and leaves the person convinced he or she is not alone. There is a name for this phenomenon: it’s called the Third Man Factor.
Third Man Syndrome
In Life Or Death Scenarios, Survivors Report A Helpful Person Appearing
By Jack Dunhill — IFLSCIENCE!
Survivors have come forward to explain a bizarre phenomenon known as Third Man Syndrome, an unexplainable “apparition” that appears only in the worst circumstances.
So, what is the Third Man Factor? No one really knows, and almost no scientific explanations have been put forward. It is likely a hallucination in response to extreme stress, but the idea that it puts forward reasonable information in times of extreme pressure suggests it is some sort of survival resource.
Who could it be now?
Why Some People Are More Prone to Believing Conspiracy Theories
a neuroscientist explains it
By Francesca Benson — IFLSCIENCE!
Recently, droves of people have hurled themselves headfirst into the rabbit hole of conspiracy theories. While some of the more outlandish theories make for a fun read, many take them completely seriously, declaring that they see a sinister underbelly to everyday life.
Neuroscientist Shannon Odell explains why in this video from Inverse.
Conspiracy Theories Are a Mental Health Crisis
The complex relationship between mental health, conspiracy theories, and disinformation that no one’s talking about.
By Rebecca Ruiz — Mashable
Every day, people who spend time online face a deluge of conspiracy theories, misinformation, and disinformation. Plenty of them move along, clicking past outlandish or false content that’s designed to lure them in. Some, however, become ensnared for reasons experts don’t fully understand. People quickly slip into dark corners of the internet and find a community of believers, or even zealots, who swear they’ve discovered hidden truths and forbidden knowledge.
Why Do We Believe Liars?
By F. Diane Barth — NBC News
Denying reality, or not crediting something we know is true, is a way to unconsciously protect ourselves from the pain of an untruth.
It is not unusual for people to believe someone, even when they have substantial proof that the are being lied to. Why do we continue to believe someone, even when we have rational and substantial evidence that they are lying to us?
With denial we can reassure ourselves that everything is okay, even when it is not. The reassurance can give a frightened psyche time and space to work on possible solutions, which is harder to do when you are in a state of panic, anxiety or dread.
Moonwalking with Einstein
The art and science of remembering everything
By Joshua Foer
The blockbuster phenomenon that charts an amazing journey of the mind while revolutionizing our concept of memory
Moonwalking with Einstein recounts Joshua Foer’s yearlong quest to improve his memory under the tutelage of top “mental athletes.” He draws on cutting-edge research, a surprising cultural history of remembering, and venerable tricks of the mentalist’s trade to transform our understanding of human memory. From the United States Memory Championship to deep within the author’s own mind, this is an electrifying work of journalism that reminds us that, in every way that matters:
We are the sum of our memories.
Reading Transforms Us
How books can help us develop our key emotional and cognitive skills.
By Marianna Pogosyan Ph.D. — Psychology Today
- Reading fiction can spur growth and self-development.
- Exiting our self-narratives and simulating others’ mental states is behind the mechanism of fiction’s transformational powers.
- Reading fiction can help increase cognitive empathy and teach us about ourselves.
Why Do We Forget Books We’ve Read?
the information is still there, but it’s tucked away in long-term memory
By Coco Kahn — The Guardian
Ever thought about a book you’ve read, and had no recollection of the plot? Or followed a recommendation to watch a TV show, only to find you’ve already seen it? We live in an age of mass content, with TV, books and films consumed at some of the highest levels in recent years. Could this be wreaking havoc with our ability to remember them?
Why Your Brain Loves Good Storytelling
By Paul J. Zak — Harvard Business Review
Many business people have already discovered the power of storytelling in a practical sense – they have observed how compelling a well-constructed narrative can be.
But recent scientific work is putting a much finer point on just how stories change our attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.
Why Your Brain Loves Good Storytelling
By Scott Myers
Your Protagonist, must resonate with a reader.
What that boils down to is creating a sense of empathy on the part of the reader.
The Fascination of Serial Killers & True Crime Stories
By Dr. Tarra Bates-Duford – Your Tango
Most serial killers appeared quite charming, intelligent, attractive, and engaging.
Often, serial killers are able to blend in with everyone else. Some of them can be so charismatic that we secretly desire to be just like them — before we realize they are serial killers.
People gravitate to them, and they are usually the life of the party.
The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness
By Peter Godfrey-Smith
Philosopher Peter Godfrey-Smith dons a wet suit and journeys into the depths of consciousness in Other Minds!
Although mammals and birds are widely regarded as the smartest creatures on earth, it has lately become clear that a very distant branch of the tree of life has also sprouted higher intelligence: the cephalopods, consisting of the squid, the cuttlefish, and above all the octopus.
In captivity, octopuses have been known to identify individual human keepers, raid neighboring tanks for food, turn off lightbulbs by spouting jets of water, plug drains, and make daring escapes.
How is it that a creature with such gifts evolved through an evolutionary lineage so radically distant from our own? What does it mean that evolution built minds not once but at least twice?
The octopus is the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien. What can we learn from the encounter?
How Squid and Octopus Get Their Big Brains
By Juan Siliezar – Harvard — Neuroscience
Neural stem cells of cephalopods act in a similar way to those of vertebrates during nervous system development.
Cephalopods — which include octopus, squid, and their cuttlefish cousins — are capable of some truly charismatic behaviors. They can quickly process information to transform shape, color, and even texture, blending in with their surroundings. They can also communicate, show signs of spatial learning, and use tools to solve problems. They’re so smart, they can even get bored.
It’s no secret what makes it possible: Cephalopods have the most complex brains of any invertebrates on the planet. What remains mysterious, however, is the process. Basically, scientists have long wondered how cephalopods get their big brains in the first place?
Thinking Is for Suckers
but if you’re an octopus, suckers are for thinking
By A.J. Fillo — NOVA PBS
Octopuses “think” with neurons so distributed throughout their bodies that sometimes the left hand literally doesn’t know what the…left hand is doing.
Like humans, octopuses are incredibly intelligent. But an octopus’ mind is about as alien to the human mind as the human mind is…well, to an alien’s.
“I like to [ask], ‘How are they intelligent?’ rather than ‘How intelligent are they?’” says Dominic Sivitilli, a behavioral neuroscientist and astrobiologist at the University of Washington who presented a new octopus cognition model at the AbSciCon 2019 conference this week.
The Soul of an Octopus
a surprising exploration into the wonder of consciousness
By Sy Montgomery
In pursuit of the wild, solitary, predatory octopus, popular naturalist Sy Montgomery has practiced true immersion journalism.
From New England aquarium tanks to the reefs of French Polynesia and the Gulf of Mexico, she has befriended octopuses with strikingly different personalities—gentle Athena, assertive Octavia, curious Kali, and joyful Karma.
Each creature shows her cleverness in myriad ways: escaping enclosures like an orangutan; jetting water to bounce balls; and endlessly tricking companions with multiple “sleights of hand” to get food.
Octopus Brain and Human Brain
Share the Same Jumping Genes
By International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA) — PHYS.ORG
The octopus is an exceptional organism with an extremely complex brain and cognitive abilities that are unique among invertebrates. So much so that in some ways it has more in common with vertebrates than with invertebrates.
The neural and cognitive complexity of these animals could originate from a molecular analogy with the human brain.
Your Brain Operates at the Edge of Chaos
why that’s actually a good thing
By Monisha Ravisetti — CNET
We derive a wealth of benefits from teetering between calmness and mayhem.
Your brain is constantly perched on the edge of chaos. And it’s not because you’re behind on 47 laptop updates or obsessing over that typo in an email you sent your boss.
No, because even at your most zen, your 86 billion brain cells strut along a tightrope between calm and catastrophe; serenity and disarray; order and disorder. At any moment, they could domino into disaster. But no need to panic.
This tricky brain stunt is actually a good thing.
The Memory of Fear
Why It is Seared Into Our Brains
By Barri Bronston — MedicalXpress
Experiencing a frightening event is likely something you’ll never forget. But why does it stay with you when other kinds of occurrences become increasingly difficult to recall with the passage of time?
A team of neuroscientists from the Tulane University School of Science and Engineering and Tufts University School of Medicine have been studying the formation of fear memories in the emotional hub of the brain—the amygdala—and think they have a mechanism.
The Complexity of the Brain
By Complexity Science Hub Vienna — Medical Xpress
A recent study out of the Complexity Science Hub (CSH) Vienna paves the way to a deeper insight into the complexity of the human brain, one of the largest and most sophisticated organs in the human body. The study develops a mathematical and computational framework for analyzing neural activity.
Mysteries of the Brain
A collection of articles about they mysterious brain.
The Quantum Origin of Consciousness
the collapse of a leading theory
By Foundational Questions Institute — PHYS.ORG
The origin of consciousness is one of the greatest mysteries of science. One proposed solution, first suggested by Nobel Laureate and Oxford mathematician Roger Penrose and anesthesiologist Stuart Hammeroff, at the University of Arizona, in Tucson, attributes consciousness to quantum computations in the brain.
This in turn hinges on the notion that gravity could play a role in how quantum effects disappear, or “collapse.”
But a series of experiments in a lab deep under the Gran Sasso mountains, in Italy, has failed to find evidence in support of a gravity-related quantum collapse model, undermining the feasibility of this explanation for consciousness.
The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us
By Robert D. Hare
Most people are both repelled and intrigued by the images of cold-blooded, conscienceless murderers that increasingly populate our movies, television programs, and newspaper headlines.
With their flagrant criminal violation of society’s rules, serial killers like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy are among the most dramatic examples of the psychopath.
Individuals with this personality disorder are fully aware of the consequences of their actions and know the difference between right and wrong, yet they are terrifyingly self-centered, remorseless, and unable to care about the feelings of others.
Perhaps most frightening, they often seem completely normal to unsuspecting targets–and they do not always ply their trade by killing.
Biological Difference Between Psychopaths and Normal People
By NANYANG TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY — ScienceTechDaily
A new study has shown that psychopathic people have a bigger striatum area in their brain.
Neuroscientists using MRI scans discovered that psychopathic people have a 10% larger striatum, a cluster of neurons in the subcortical basal ganglia of the forebrain, than regular people. This represents a clear biological distinction between psychopaths and non-psychopathic people.
The Empty Brain
By Robert Epstein — Pocket
Your brain does not process information, retrieve knowledge, or store memories. In short: Your brain is not a computer.
No matter how hard they try, brain scientists and cognitive psychologists will never find a copy of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony in the brain – or copies of words, pictures, grammatical rules or any other kinds of environmental stimuli.
The human brain isn’t really empty, of course. But it does not contain most of the things people think it does – not even simple things such as ‘memories’.
Why Idiots Think They’re Smart
Dunning On The Dunning–Kruger Effect
By Tom Hale — IFLSCIENCE
“I know that I am intelligent because I know that I know nothing,” a wise guy once said.
Have you ever noticed that the person with the least amount of knowledge on a subject is often the most confident to blast you with their opinion about it?
This is a well-known experience that can perhaps be explained by the Dunning-Kruger effect, a cognitive bias whereby people with limited ability in a given field tend to greatly overestimate their own competence. The less ability, the more they tend to overestimate their competence.
How the Brain Changes During Treatment
By UBC Faculty of Medicine — SciTechDaily
Researchers have for the first time shown what occurs in the brain during repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, a treatment for depression (rTMS). When other strategies, such as medications, have failed to help a patient with their depression, rTMS is often used as a treatment.
Socially Isolated People Have Differently Wired Brains
and poorer cognition
By Barbara Jacquelyn Sahakian, Christelle Langley, Chun Shen, and Jianfeng Feng — Neuroscience News
Summary: Social isolation is linked to alterations in brain structure and cognitive deficits. Additionally, social isolation can increase the risk of developing dementia as a person ages.
Why do we get a buzz from being in large groups at festivals, jubilees and other public events? According to the social brain hypothesis, it’s because the human brain specifically evolved to support social interactions.
Studies have shown that belonging to a group can lead to improved well-being and increased satisfaction with life.
Unfortunately though, many people are lonely or socially isolated.
How Dogs Think of Their Toys
a glimpse into the dog’s mind
By Sara Bohm — Neuroscience News
Summary: Dogs have multi-modal mental imagery of items and objects that are familiar to them. When a dog thinks about an object, they imagine the object’s different sensory features.
In a new study just published in the journal of Animal Cognition, researchers from the Family Dog Project (Eötvös Loránd University University, Budapest) found out that dogs have a “multi-modal mental image” of their familiar objects.
This means that, when thinking about an object, dogs imagine the object’s different sensory features. For instance, the way it looks or the way its smells.
The Brain Has a “Low-Power” Mode
that bunts our senses
By Matt Curtis — Quanta Magazine
When our phones and computers run out of power, their glowing screens go dark and they die a sort of digital death. But switch them to low-power mode to conserve energy, and they cut expendable operations to keep basic processes humming along until their batteries can be recharged.
Our energy-intensive brain needs to keep its lights on too. Brain cells depend primarily on steady deliveries of the sugar glucose, which they convert to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to fuel their information processing.
When food has been in short supply for a long time and body weight falls below a critical threshold, the brain reduces its energy consumption by changing how it processes information.
Cosmological Thinking Meets Neuroscience
By Nanci Bomphey — Neuroscience News
A new mathematical model that identifies essential connections between neurons reveals some neural networks in the brain are more essential than others.
After a career spent probing the mysteries of the universe, a Janelia Research Campus senior scientist is now exploring the mysteries of the human brain and developing new insights into the connections between brain cells.
Octopuses May Be So Terrifyingly Smart
because they share humans genes for intelligence
By Donavyn Coffey — LiveScience
Genetic sequences called transposons help regulate learning.
Octopuses are brainy creatures with sophisticated smarts, and now scientists have uncovered a clue that may partly explain the cephalopods’ remarkable intelligence: Its genes have a genetic quirk that is also seen in humans, a new study finds.
New Form of Dementia
It’s shockingly common
The symptoms of Limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy (LATE) are comparable to those of Alzheimer’s disease, involving memory loss and issues with thinking and reasoning in old age.
A recent study indicates the prevalence of brain changes from limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy might be approximately 40% in older adults and as high as 50% in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the researchers, the paper, which will soon be published in Acta Neuropathologica, is the most comprehensive evaluation of the incidence of a kind of dementia identified in 2019 and now known as LATE. According to the findings, the prevalence of LATE-related brain changes may be about 40% in older adults and up to 50% in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
What Causes the Brain’s Emotional Hub to Switch to Negative States?
By Lisa LaPoint — Neuroscience News
Tucked into the temporal lobe, near the base of our brain, sits a small, almond-shaped region called the amygdala that processes our emotions.
Neuroscientists at Tufts University have been investigating the symphony of signals created within a subsection of this area—the basolateral amygdala—to better understand how they contribute to negative feelings such as anxiety and fear.
My Dark Self
My … Self Series Book 1
By Jessica Huntley
A Riveting Psychological Thriller That Will Make You Think Twice About The Voice Inside Your Head
Two people sharing one body. What could possibly go wrong?
My name is Josslyn and I’m a psychopath. Actually, that’s not technically true … let me explain.
My True Self
My … Self Series Book 2
By Jessica Huntley
Now that the psychopath has control no one is safe, but whose side are you on?
My name is Alicia, and I am a psychopath.
All I want is the chance at a normal life. Josslyn is still in my head, and she has forgiven me … mostly, but my stalker will not leave me alone. Peter has found me, and he is willing to do anything to get Josslyn back.
My Real Self
My … Self Series Book 3
By Jessica Huntley
The Final Instalment Will Leave You Questioning Everything You Have Read Before
My name is Alicia … but you already know that by now. I am … not normal, but am I truly a psychopath as I have always believed?
Josslyn and I used to be enemies, then friends, then sisters, and now … I finally know the truth about who she really is. But it is not about us anymore. It is about putting an end to an evilness that I know is there, and which is far too close for comfort. I cannot accomplish this mission alone … everyone was against me, but now I have allies.