February 4, 2014 |
Memory can be altered by new experience, and isn't nearly as accurate as courtroom testimony might have us believe, a new study suggests. The results suggest a cheeky answer to the question posed by comedian Richard Pryor: "Who you gonna believe: me, or your lyin' eyes?" Turns out, Pryor was onto something. The brain behind our eyes can distort reality or verify it, based on subsequent experience. And somewhat paradoxically, the same area of the brain appears to be strongly involved in both activities, according to a study published online Tuesday in the Journal of Neuroscience.
September 13, 2012 |
Inside the human skull lies a 3-pound mystery. The brain - a command center composed of tens of billions of branching neurons - controls who we are, what we do and how we feel. "It's the most amazing information structure anybody has ever been able to imagine," says Dr. Walter Koroshetz, deputy director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda, Md. For centuries, the brain's inner workings remained largely unexplored. But all that is changing.
June 22, 2012 |
Does depth perception develop in humans as a result of nature or nurture? It's a question scientists have wondered about. And a new study comes to a surprising conclusion: Babies acquire binocular vision as a result of viewing the world around them, not merely thanks to genetic programming. "My guess was that it was going to be something in between nature and nurture," said study leader Ilona Kovacs, a psychologist at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics in Hungary.
April 19, 2012 |
In some ways, parties seem like the worst possible places to socialize. A cacophony of voices -- not to mention a blaring stereo system -- make for a noisy environment in which to hear what a friend is saying. Hence the term "the cocktail-party effect," which refers to people's ability to focus on one speaker and tune out another. Now Nima Mesgarani and Edward F. Chang of UC San Francisco have figured out how the brain accomplishes this feat of selective hearing: The auditory cortex, which processes sounds, favors the voice that it needs or wants to hear.
September 14, 2012 |
A group of scientists created a novel brain implant that improves cognitive performance and decision-making in a monkey. The device, developed in part by researchers at USC, manipulates ongoing brain activity to guide the animal away from mistakes and toward a correct decision. The study, published this week in the Journal of Neural Engineering, marks an important step toward implantable devices that could one day help people with brain injuries better perform basic tasks. The field of "brain prosthetics" has been dominated by efforts to restore physical abilities, like devices that use brain activity to move a robotic arm or a cursor across a screen.
April 24, 2013 |
Want a better grip on your memory? A study suggests clenching a fist could play a role in how well you recall information. The study , published Tuesday in the journal PLOS ONE, was funded partially by the U.S. Army. It examined whether clenching the right or left fist could stimulate brain regions possibly connected to memory. Researchers recruited 51 right-handed individuals for the experiment, and asked them to squeeze a pink rubber ball for 90 seconds before they were shown a list of 36 words.
June 27, 2012 |
How does the formidable human brain organize its memories? A new study used electrical activity of the brain to investigate. The resulting report shows that when people think of words that are linked by their meanings -- "apple" and "orange," for example -- the brain often exhibits similar patterns of activity. There's a futuristic, Big Brother-ish dimension to the work: The authors argue that down the road, their results might be useful in mind-reading approaches that rely on connecting measurements of brain activity to what a person is thinking.
January 14, 2011 |
Fearful memories acquired early in life may be temporarily forgotten, researchers suggested this week. Although the study is in mice, it raises the question of whether humans may suppress or recall memories at different times of life. The researchers, from Cornell, Brown and New York University, conducted a series of experiments in early-, mid- and late-adolescent mice. As the mice entered adolescence, previously formed fearful memories were suppressed. But the mice could recall the fearful memory -- after being exposed to the context of the situation as a reminder -- once they entered adulthood.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 7, 1991
A UC Irvine scientist has won a $165,000 grant to help develop a revolutionary technique for mapping brain activity, university officials announced. Ron Frostig, an assistant professor of psychobiology at UCI, received the award recently from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation. He plans to use the funds to continue research into the way various parts of the brain reflect light.
November 9, 2010 |
Fear is a complicated emotion, and scientists have recruited a scary laboratory aide ? the Brazilian salmon pink tarantula ? to help map out how the feeling is processed in the brain. Using video of the 8.7-inch-long arachnid, British researchers showed that the human brain engages several different systems when evaluating threats. For instance, the part of the brain that engages when a threat is approaching is different from the part that is activated when a threat is receding, they reported Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.