Posts Tagged ‘senses’

reading-brain-scan

How Our Brains Process Books

In my latest article for Scientific American, I dig into some fascinating new research on reading. In this study, the researchers software that could actually predict what a person was reading about, just by seeing scans of their brain activity. What did these scans reveal about how our brains render fictional worlds? Could this research […]

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Sexy Neuroscience IV

Every culture and subculture has its own rituals of greeting and affection – handshakes, backslaps, fist-bumps, hugs and so on – but when it comes to erotic contact, cultural differences seem to melt away into something more primal: Touch that just feels good for its own sake. In fact, a new study has confirmed that […]

Oliver Sacks

“Hallucination & Imagination” — Podcast 8: Oliver Sacks

On Episode 8 of the Connectome podcast, I talk with Oliver Sacks, renowned neuroscientist and author of such books as The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Musicophilia and Hallucinations. In particular, Sacks joins us to talk about some patients of his who’ve been hallucinating strange varieties of musical notation. But musical hallucinations […]

Roundtable Round 2

“Engineering a Mind (Part 2)” — Podcast 7: David Saintloth and Wai Tsang

On Episode 7 of the Connectome podcast, we rejoin our two-part roundtable discussion on the nature of intelligence, on the differences between biological and artificial intelligence, and on the ways in which the idea of digital intelligence can inform our understanding of how our own minds work. (Here’s the link to Part 1 of this […]

David Eagleman

“Senses That Bleed” — Podcast 5: David Eagleman

On episode 5 of the Connectome podcast, I chat with David Eagleman, author of the international bestseller Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain. Eagleman’s lab mainly studies the ways our brains encode sensory perceptions – but as you’ll hear, he’s also fascinated by questions on the nature of consciousness, synesthesia, meaning and representation, and […]

S. Emmons

“Using Worms to Crack the Human Brain” — Podcast 4: Scott Emmons

On episode 4 of the Connectome podcast, I chat with Scott W. Emmons, Ph.D., a professor of neuroscience and genetics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Emmons talks about his cutting-edge connectomics research, which may help us understand how neural circuits “decide” on a particular behavior. Though his recent work focuses on the nervous […]

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Whisperers in Darkness

Last night I awoke with my head under the covers, to the sounds of strange chitterings and scratchings in the darkness around me. For a few seconds I lay frozen, hoping the sounds would fade – but they only grew louder and drew nearer – until at last, unable to stand it any longer, I […]

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The Depths of Decisions

Our brains – and the brains of other animals – actually run through superfast replays of past experiences as we make decisions, says a new study. This process isn’t one we usually have conscious access to – but without it, we might not be able to learn from the past at all. Memory seems pretty […]

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Memory Control

Scientists can now turn a particular memory “on” and “off” by controlling the specific neurons that help encode it, a new study reports. Thanks to cutting-edge technology that allows researchers to control individual brain cells, a team has found a way to activate and deactivate memories of certain environments in mouse brains. The past few […]

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 […]

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