Posts Tagged ‘evolution’

Individuality-Cage

What’s Individuality, and Where Does It Come From?

In this article for Scientific American, I dig into one of mankind’s oldest and deepest questions: What’s that special something that makes you different from me? Where does it come from, an how early can we find it? A new German study may have found some surprising answers to these age-old mysteries. Three months later, the researchers […]

brain comp chip SS

Q&A: Can We Preserve Our Brains After Death?

As promised, here’s the first-ever official Connectome Q&A! We’ve been getting lots of incoming questions on our Facebook and Twitter pages – some of them on the technical side; others of the more “general interest” variety. Most of these questions require pretty involved answers – and it’s important to me that each of them gets […]

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The Lurking Lizard

He has haunted us for more than fifty years – this strange scientist, with his theory of primal reptiles embedded in each of us. And for years I wondered, Could this bizarre hypothesis be true? Might it explain the ancient instincts – so contrary to my intentions – which I felt arising from the depths […]

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Sexy Neuroscience III

Female orgasm is a topic shrouded in mystery – not just for sexually awkward boyfriends, but for biologists too. We know, for example, that lots of animals have clitorises, yet a surprising number of female mammals don’t seem to experience orgasms at all. This has led researchers to some new discoveries and debates – and […]

Enteropneust

The Worm Did It!

The basic “scaffolding” for the vertebrate brain has been found in an unexpected distant relative: a marine worm, a new study reports. The worm’s brain is much simpler than that of even the simplest vertebrates – but it contains three signaling centers almost identical to those found in the brains of vertebrate embryos. I leaped […]

Police-attack

Mixed-Up Memories

Just a minute of physical exertion can seriously impair a person’s memory of the threat that triggered it, says a new study. When we undergo a strenuous task, such as a chase or a fight, immediately after witnessing an event, we have much less ability to remember the event’s details than if we’d taken time […]

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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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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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