Archive for February, 2012

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The Connectome Channel – Episode 1 – "Signals"

People like to compare the brain to a computer, but there’s more to the story that that. Join Ben as he talks about smartphones, sea slugs, and your amazing brain.

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5 Ways to Fight the Blues…with Science!

So you’re stuck in that mid-week slump…the weekend lies on the other side of a scorching desert of work, and you have no canteen because you gave up water for Lent (in this metaphor, “water” refers to alcohol…just to be clear). But fear not! Neuroscience knows how to cheer you up! Nope, this isn’t another […]

Some clusters are juicier than others.

Connection Clusters

As our brains learn something, our neurons form new connections in clustered groups, says a new study. In other words, synapses – connections between neurons – are much more likely to form near other brand-new synapses than they are to emerge near older ones. As our neuroscience friends like to say: “Cells that fire together […]

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Why I Love and Hate "Game"

Yes, it’s that special time of year again – time for flamboyant bouquets and chalky candy to appear at office desks – time for Facebook pages to drown in cloying iconography – time for self-labeled “forever aloners” to dredge the back alleys of OKCupid in last-ditch desperation – and time for me to load up my trusty gatling […]

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Beyond Perfection

If you continue to practice a skill even after you’ve achieved mastery of it, your brain keeps learning to perform it more and more efficiently, says a new study. As we perform a task – say, dunking a basketball or playing a sweet guitar lick – over and over again, we eventually reach a point […]

"My lord! 'Tis improper to influence the lady's anterior cingulate!"

Learning Expectations

Researchers have isolated a specific pathway our brains use when learning new beliefs about others’ motivations, a new study says. Though this type of learning, like many others, depends heavily on the neurotransmitter chemical dopamine‘s influence in a set of ancient brain structures called the basal ganglia, it’s also influenced by the rostral anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) – a structure […]

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“Getting Together to Map the Brain” — Podcast 1: Joshua Vogelstein

Here it is – the first Connectome podcast! Join me as I talk with Joshua Vogelstein, a leading connectomics researcher, about the Open Connectome Project, an international venture to make data on neural connectivity available to everyone, all over the world. It’s like Google Maps for your brain. Click here to play or download:   […]

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