Archive for October, 2011

Brain Scans & Lucid Dreams

The brain activity of lucid dreamers – people who become aware that they’re in a dream state – shows some interesting similarities with that of people who are awake, says a new study. By studying the brain activity of lucid dreamers under electroencephalograms (EEGs) and fMRI scans, researchers have found that activity in the somatosensory […]

Surprising Synchrony

Our corpus callosum is a bundle of fibers that allows our brains’ left and right hemispheres to communicate – but even in people born without these connections, the hemispheres are still somehow able to synchronize their activity, reports a new study. The brains of people born with a condition called agenesis of the corpus callosum (AgCC) […]

Autistic Development

Certain regions of the brains of autistic children develop much more slowly than in non-autistic brains, a new study reports. As most of our brains mature throughout our adolescent years, our white matter – the tissue that connects separate brain regions and allows them to communicate with one another – undergoes vast amounts of growth, as […]

Hypnotized Eyes

A state of hypnosis creates detectable changes in a person’s eye movement patterns, says a new study. The “glazed” look of a person who’s been hypnotized can be linked to measurable, quantifiable changes in the patterns of that person’s reflexive eye movements – changes that non-hypnotized people aren’t able to replicate. The exact nature – and even […]

One Eye at a Time

Even as we look at the world through both eyes, our brains can tell which eye is taking in what information – and can direct each eye separately to focus on certain details, says a new study. The more one of our eyes is focused on details in its visual field, the more sensitive it […]

Digital Friendships

Those of us who have loads of Facebook friends tend to have greater development in several specific brain regions, says a new study. Researchers have found a strong correlation between large numbers of Facebook connections and increased development of gray matter – tissue containing neuron cell bodies, where dense communication occurs – in several regions crucial […]

Modified Memories

Each time we retell a story, our actual memories of its events change, says a new study. When we receive hints – true or not-so-true – about a story’s details from our friends, we often revise our version if what they say makes sense to us. But what’s incredible is, it isn’t just our retelling […]

Doubling Up

Our big brains may be the result of a doubled gene that lets brain cells migrate to new areas, says a new study. The gene, known as SRGAP2, has been duplicated in our genomes at least twice in the four million years since our ancestors diverged from those of the other great apes. It codes for […]

I Be Strokin'

Watching another person being softly caressed activates very similar brain regions to those that actually allow us to feel a soft touch, says a new study. The sensation of gentle touch is conveyed by a specific type of neuron - tactile C (CT) afferents – found only in hairy skin. These neurons respond most strongly to soft […]

The Roots of Consciousness

The origins of subjective consciousness probably lie in an introspective brain network common to most mammals, says a new study. When we “zone out” and let our minds wander, a functional (as opposed to structural) brain network known as the default mode network (DMN) becomes active. The DMN links our frontal lobe – an area associated with planning […]

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