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  • May 8, 2011
  • 06:23 PM

Distractibility is Reflected in the Structure and Function of the Parietal Cortex

by Maria P. in noustuff

Sustaining attention and blocking goal-irrelevant information is a crucial function in everyday life. Kanai and colleagues combining neuroimaging, self-report judgements and TMS found evidence that indicates that a region of the left superior parietal cortex mediates this function. The ability to avoid distractibility varies across individuals as measured by the Cognitive Failures Questionnaire (CFQ) (Broadbent [...]... Read more »

Kanai R, Dong MY, Bahrami B, & Rees G. (2011) Distractibility in daily life is reflected in the structure and function of human parietal cortex. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 31(18), 6620-6. PMID: 21543590  

  • May 7, 2011
  • 04:14 PM

Rise of the Rat Brained Robots

by Neurobonkers in Neurobonkers

Kevin Warwick and his team at Reading University have successfully created a robot controlled directly by a rat's brain.... Read more »

Warwick, K., Xydas, D., Nasuto, S. J., Becerra, V. M., Hammond, M. W., Downes, J., Marshall, S., & Whalley, B . Defence Science, 60. (2010) Controlling a mobile robot with a biological brain. Defence Science, 60(1), 5-14. info:/

  • May 7, 2011
  • 12:00 PM

Social cognitive deficits in autism spectrum disorder

by dj in Neuropoly

an fMRI study looks at the neural correlates of social orienting in individuals with autism spectrum disorder... Read more »

Greene DJ, Colich N, Iacoboni M, Zaidel E, Bookheimer SY, & Dapretto M. (2011) Atypical neural networks for social orienting in autism spectrum disorders. NeuroImage, 56(1), 354-62. PMID: 21334443  

  • May 7, 2011
  • 05:01 AM

Owning your actions

by Janet Kwasniak in Thoughts on thoughts

Talking about animals that can learn from experience – there are some besides humans, maybe many – they must have experiences to learn from, a memory of those experiences, some way of evaluating good/bad experiences, and assessment of their action’s part in the outcome. We achieve this by having conscious experience in which we ourselves [...]... Read more »

Kaneko, T., & Tomonaga, M. (2011) The perception of self-agency in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2011.0611  

  • May 6, 2011
  • 08:30 PM

Music and the Brain: Music Processing ≠ Speech Processing

by Luc Duval in The Pedagogic Verses

Two recent studies have begun to nudge the science of music cognition away from a predominant understanding.... Read more »

Corianne Rogalsky, Feng Rong, Kourosh Saberi, & Gregory Hickok. (2011) Functional Anatomy of Language and Music Perception: Temporal and Structural Factors Investigated Using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. The Journal Of Neuroscience. info:/10.1523/​JNEUROSCI.4515-10.2011

Diana Deutsch, Trevor Henthorn, & Rachael Lapidis. (2011) Illusory Transformation From Speech To Song. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 129(4), 2245-2252. info:/

  • May 6, 2011
  • 02:51 PM

Rectal ballon inflation

by Bradley Voytek in Oscillatory Thoughts

In my previous neuroscience life I worked as a radioactive urine cleaner at UCLA.The lab I worked in did some really cool research on the long-term neurological and behavioral effects of methamphetamine abuse. One of the researchers I worked with in that lab, Dr. Berman, was a great guy who had a pretty esoteric research specialty.A few years ago he published an interesting, unique paper in The Journal of Neuroscience titled "Reduced brainstem inhibition during anticipated pelvic visceral pain c........ Read more »

  • May 6, 2011
  • 08:58 AM

Friday Weird Science: I hope you like your sperm, and your cell phones, "neat"

by Scicurious in Neurotic Physiology

Ok, really today's post isn't about that. But it's definitely the one major thing I took away from this paper. This post is actually about the effects of cell phones on semen. But refer to your semen as "neat" once, and well, it sticks with you. (These scientists like their semen the way they like [...]... Read more »

  • May 5, 2011
  • 08:52 AM

Neuroethics: The Brain and Religious Beliefs

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

This is the second in a series of three posts looking at how the brain processes complex beliefs in the domains of morality, religion and politics.  Jordan Grafman, Ph.D. presented at the May 3, 2011 Warren Frontiers of Neuroscience lecture series in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Grafman summarized research he had conducted in these three domains.  An fMRI study published in PNAS in 2009 outlined some of Grafman’s research team efforts related to brain processes and religion.  In the i........ Read more »

Kapogiannis, D., Barbey, A., Su, M., Zamboni, G., Krueger, F., & Grafman, J. (2009) Cognitive and neural foundations of religious belief. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(12), 4876-4881. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0811717106  

  • May 5, 2011
  • 04:09 AM

Revenge Of The Depression Gene

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Last year, the world of psychiatric genetics was rocked by the news that a highly-studied gene, believed to be associated with depression, wasn't in fact linked to depression at all.The genetic variant was 5-HTTLPR. It's a length variant in the gene coding for the serotonin transporter protein (5HTT) which the target of antidepressants like Prozac. There are two flavors of this variant, short and long.Many studies have shown that the short ("s") variant is associated with a high risk of getting ........ Read more »

  • May 5, 2011
  • 04:09 AM

When it hurts so bad, why does my brain light up?

by aatishb in Empirical Zeal

If you’ve ever been rejected by a loved one, you knows that it hurts. Think of the language that we use to describe the feeling – hurt, pain, broken hearts, heartache, and so on. Across cultures, many of the same words are used to describe social rejection and bodily pain. Is this all just metaphor, or are people who have been dumped genuinely feeling physical pain? A recent study by Ethan Kross and colleagues set out to address this question by putting volunteers who had recently experience........ Read more »

Kross E, Berman MG, Mischel W, Smith EE, & Wager TD. (2011) Social rejection shares somatosensory representations with physical pain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108(15), 6270-5. PMID: 21444827  

  • May 4, 2011
  • 11:19 AM

Neuroethics: The Brain and Moral Beliefs

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Jerome Grafman, Ph.D. presented the May 2011 Warren Frontiers in Neuroscience lecture “Brain Regions Supporting the Establishment of Human Beliefs” in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  I have typically summarized these lectures in a single Brain Posts blog posting.  But given the broad character of this presentation, I will break my summary into three parts based on the sections in the presentation: moral beliefs, religious beliefs and political beliefs.  Along with the lecture highlights, I ........ Read more »

  • May 4, 2011
  • 09:50 AM

Speed of illusory body movements alters the passage of time

by Mo in Neurophilosophy

YOUR brain has a remarkable ability to extract and process biological cues from the deluge of visual information. It is highly sensitive to the movements of living things, especially those of other people - so much so that it conjures the illusion of movement from a picture of a moving body. Although static, such pictures trigger dynamic representations of the body, 'motor images' containing information about movement kinematics and timing. Researchers at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience ........ Read more »

  • May 3, 2011
  • 04:27 PM

Psychiatry and Phrenology

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

The notorious John P. "Most Published Research Findings Are False" Ioannidis has turned his baleful statistical gaze upon the literature on brain volume abnormalities in psychiatric disorders.Reports of regional volume differences in the brains of people with mental illness compared to healthy people have appeared in increasing numbers in recent years. Such studies have given plenty of positive results. People with depression have smaller hippocampi. The amygdala is bigger in people with autism......... Read more »

  • May 3, 2011
  • 03:47 PM

Your brain, a fortress against infection

by Connor Bamford in The Rule of 6ix

As genetic parasites, viruses use the cells within our tissues, organs and bodies to replicate. And for the most of it our cells do not like it. The more a virus replicates within a host, the more chance it will have to spread among the population yet a viral infection within a cell may set up a devastating chain of events leading to its ultimate demise.  

A human brain.
For example, the virus can disrupt the structure of the inside of the........ Read more »

Griffin, D. (2011) Viral Encephalomyelitis. PLoS Pathogens, 7(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1002004  

McGavern, D., & Kang, S. (2011) Illuminating viral infections in the nervous system. Nature Reviews Immunology, 11(5), 318-329. DOI: 10.1038/nri2971  

  • May 2, 2011
  • 11:57 AM

Easily distracted? Chances are you're not one of those young kids.

by Scicurious in Neurotic Physiology

When we think of demographics that are easily distracted, we tend to think of younger generations, people on their phones over dinner or texting while driving, or only listening to you with one ear while they listen to their ipod with the other. But when we're talking about cognitive tasks like working memory, the ability [...]... Read more »

  • May 2, 2011
  • 08:01 AM

Tornado Deaths: Limits of Current Technology

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica}p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; min-height: 14.0px} An earlier draft of this article first published as Tornado Deaths and the Limits of Tornado-Related Technologies onTechnorati.Deaths in the southeastern United States related to the April 27, 2011 tornadoes prompt an examination of tornado safety.  A key question is whether modern tornado detection and warning technology significant re........ Read more »

Simmons, K., & Sutter, D. (2005) WSR-88D Radar, Tornado Warnings, and Tornado Casualties. Weather and Forecasting, 20(3), 301-310. DOI: 10.1175/WAF857.1  

Brooks, Harold E. (2002) Deaths in the 3 May 1999 Oklahoma City Tornado from a Historical Perspective. Weather and Forecasting. info:/

  • May 1, 2011
  • 05:07 AM

Mood affects sight

by Janet Kwasniak in Thoughts on thoughts

What affects what we consciously see? In a recent paper (see citation) Jolij and Meurs show that mood must be added to the influences. Here is the abstract:
Visual perception is not a passive process: in order to efficiently process visual input, the brain actively uses previous knowledge (e.g., memory) and expectations about what the world [...]... Read more »

Jolij, J., & Meurs, M. (2011) Music Alters Visual Perception. PLoS ONE, 6(4). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0018861  

  • April 30, 2011
  • 09:05 AM

The Neuro-Recession

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Everyone's favourite British psychopharmacologist David "Ecstasy Vs Horseriding" Nutt joins four other leading neuroscientists to discuss the impact of the financial crisis on neuroscience, in an article over at NR:N: Neuroscience in recession?It's interesting to get an international perspective. Susan Amara, President of the Society for Neuroscience, says that American scientists were encouraged by the surprise $10bn boost to NIH funds that made it into the 2009 economic stimulus package. But t........ Read more »

Amara SG, Grillner S, Insel T, Nutt D, & Tsumoto T. (2011) Neuroscience in recession?. Nature reviews. Neuroscience, 12(5), 297-302. PMID: 21505517  

  • April 29, 2011
  • 08:44 AM

Mental Imagery and the Right Parietal Lobe in OCD

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental illness characterized by unwanted and intrusive thoughts, feelings, or ideas (obsessions), and ritualized behaviors (compulsions) the individual feels driven to perform in order to alleviate the disturbing nature of the obsessions. It is a major anxiety disorder classified in Axis I of the DSM-IV, which can be disabling to those who suffer with it.The specific symptoms of OCD can include fear of contamination (from germs and physical contact with........ Read more »

  • April 29, 2011
  • 08:28 AM

What can the spinal cord teach us about learning and memory?

by Björn Brembs in

Only very few laboratories in the world perform operant conditioning of spinal reflexes. In fact, a quick PubMed search reveals there is only a single lab which has published in this field in the last decade, the lab of Jonathan Wolpaw. Jonathan's review "What Can the Spinal Cord Teach Us about Learning and Memory?" in The Neuroscientist shows what neuroscience is missing out on by not investing more in this fascinating field.Operant conditioning of spinal reflexes is probably the most con........ Read more »

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