Psychological ‘signature’ for the extremist mind uncovered

Science Daily  February 21, 2021 Using an unprecedented number of cognitive tasks and personality surveys, along with data-driven analyses including drift-diffusion and Bayesian modelling, an international team of researchers (UK, USA – Stanford University) has uncovered the specific psychological signatures of political, nationalistic, religious, and dogmatic beliefs. Cognitive and personality assessments consistently outperformed demographic predictors in accounting for individual differences in ideological preferences by 4 to 15-fold. The data-driven analyses revealed that individuals’ ideological attitudes mirrored their cognitive decision-making strategies. Conservatism and nationalism were related to greater caution in perceptual decision-making tasks and to reduced strategic information processing, while dogmatism […]

Controlling attention with brain waves

MIT News  December 4, 2019 In a new study, the researchers found that people can enhance their attention by controlling their own alpha brain waves based on neurofeedback they receive as they perform a task. They found that when subjects learned to suppress alpha waves in one hemisphere of their parietal cortex, they were able to pay better attention to objects that appeared on the opposite side of their visual field. This suggests that it may be possible for people to learn to improve their attention through neurofeedback. There’s a lot of interest in using neurofeedback to try to help […]

Mesmerizing Video Shows Waves of Spinal Fluid Washing Over The Brain During Sleep

Science Alert  November 11, 2019 Previous studies have suggested that cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is important for waste removal in the brain. A team of researchers in the US (Boston University, Massachusetts general Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center) has now observed this pulsing action. In combination with the slow wave brain activity (which is partly for fixing our memories in place) and the decrease in blood flow that happens while we sleep, these CSF waves look to be washing out unnecessary proteins and other redundant debris. As slow brain wave frequency drops as we get older, the […]

Hearing through the clatter

MIT News  September 9, 2019 A team of researchers in the US Columbia University, MIT, Harvard University) found that the auditory cortex responds differently to the presence of background noise, suggesting that auditory processing occurs in steps that progressively hone in on and isolate a sound of interest. They found that the primary and non-primary regions of the auditory cortex responded differently to natural sound depending upon whether background noise was present. Music, speech, or a squeaky toy all activated the non-primary cortex region similarly, whether or not background noise was present. Attention is not driving this aspect of sound […]

How does the brain learn by talking to itself?

Medical Express  January 2, 2019 Researchers in Switzerland previously showed that synaptic learning mechanisms in the brain’s cortex are dependent on feedback from deeper brain regions. They have now deciphered how this feedback gates synaptic strengthening by switching particular inhibitory neurons on and off. They have identified which neurons are involved in this mechanism in mouse. They will test their results in “real life” to check whether the inhibiting neurons will behave as predicted when a mouse needs to learn new sensory information or when it discovers new aspects in its tactile environment. The findings might be relevant for unsupervised […]

Electrical Pulses and Neural Code Boost Memory Storage

IEEE Spectrum  April 6, 2018 A team of researchers in the US (Wake Forest School of Medicine, UCLA, Virginia Tech, University of South Carolina) recorded the brain activity associated with the storage of specific information, mathematically modeled and decoded that activity, and then wrote the code back into brain to make existing memory work better. With the electrical boost, volunteers’ memory performance improved by 35 percent. The research is one of several approaches that could one day lead to “brain prostheses” to fill in for lost memory. The study was funded by DARPA through its Restoring Active Memory, or RAM […]

Honeybees may unlock the secrets of how the human brain works

Science Daily  March 27, 2018 An international team of researchers (UK, Italy) studied a theoretical model of how honeybees decide where to build their nest and viewed the bee colony as a single superorganism which displays a coordinated response to external stimuli — similar to the human brain. Such behavior, suggests that these laws arise from fundamental mechanisms of information processing and decision-making. Studying superorganisms such as bee colonies is much simpler than watching brain neurons in action when a decision is being made…read more. Open Access TECHNICAL ARTICLE