Posts Tagged ‘fMRI’

The largest scale effort is the Human Connectome Project, involving a consortium of institutions here and abroad

Why Brain-Mapping Efforts Matter

In this article for Scientific American, I tackle some common criticisms of big brain-mapping projects like the Human Connectome Project and the Brain Activity Map. Are they too complex to be feasible in our lifetimes? Maybe so. Do we even know exactly what we’re trying to achieve? It isn’t always precisely clear. But I argue […]

Matt Wall

Brain Scans and Bold Plans: Our Interview with Matt Wall

Sometimes, a conversation takes you to places you never would’ve expected. Matt Wall and I struck up a chat about brain-scanning technology early this year, and he mentioned that he’d like to do an interview for The Connectome. Since he’s got 5+ years of published brain research under his belt, I jumped at the chance. […]

Don't Forget

Forget Me Not

Having trouble remembering where you left your keys? You can improve with a little practice, says a new study. It’s an idea that had never occurred to me before, but one that seems weirdly obvious once you think about it: people who train their brains to recall the locations of objects for a few minutes […]

"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 […]

Sacred Values

Principles on which we refuse to change our stance are processed via separate neural pathways from those we’re more flexible on, says a new study. Our minds process many decisions in moral “gray areas” by weighing the risks and rewards involved – so if the risk is lessened or the reward increased, we’re sometimes willing […]

I Know Kung Fu

New technology may soon enable us download knowledge directly into our brains, says a new study. By decoding activation patterns from fMRI scans and then reproducing them as direct input to a precise area of the brain, the new system may be able to “teach” neural networks by example – priming them to fire in […]

The Brain Lab Tour

This past weekend, I got to visit one of the coolest places I’ve ever seen: the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging (LONI). So just for today, I’m gonna take a break from news reporting, and tell you a little about what goes on inside an actual cutting-edge neuroscience lab. Sound good? OK, let’s go! I’m […]

Psychopathic Anatomy

The brains of psychopaths have a significant physical difference from those of non-psychopaths, says a new study. In a psychopath’s brain, white matter (connective neural tissue) links between the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and amygdala are unusually weak. This means a major brain area involved in anticipating risk (the vmPFC) is only weakly connected with an area […]

Musical Matchups

Our brains process music via different sensory pathways depending on what we think its source is, a new study finds. As our brains organize information from our senses into a coherent representation of the world around us, they’re constantly hard at work associating data from one sense – say, sight – with data from another – say, hearing. A […]

Paying Awareness

Attention and awareness are actually two fundamentally different mental processes, and they often operate separately, says a new study. Certain parts of the brain – such as the primary visual cortex (V1) – are activated in response to attention but not to awareness; and for others, the reverse is the case. In short, the processes of […]

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