Cognitive science is partly defined as the study of thought, learning, and mentalorganization, which are all investigable functions of the human brain. Therefore, byunderstanding the principles of the brain, we can take a step forward in holistically knowing whatthe mind is.Neuroscience and ConsciousnessThe brain is comprised of billions of neurons. Neurons are the fundamental cells in thebrain that communicate to perform most bodily functions and higher-level cognitions. The thingthat makes these cells unique is that they are plastic and able to adapt based on the experiencesthey encounter. Scientists' ability to study the connections and specific importances of groups ofneurons across the brain contributes to the understanding of how humans learn, think, andchange.Various behavioral methods like electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magneticresonance imaging (fMRI) allow us to record neural action in the brain during various tasksrelating to cognitive function. By using these techniques, and others, it has been proven that thefrontal lobe of the brain plays a large part in higher-level cognitive functions like analyzinginformation, solving future problems, developing strategies, and controlling purposeful behaviors.This is significant because lower-level primates do not have developed frontal lobes andtherefore are unable to complete these complex actions. This ability to perform higher-levelfunctions, that aren't simply primitive or instinctive responses, is what makes us distinctlyhuman, and ultimately what composes our unique conscious mind.While neuroscience can solve many questions about what it truly means to be aconscious being (like the ability to control instinctive behaviors), it cannot answer them all. Somehuman functions still remain mysterious because neuroscience can't pin down concepts likefree will or behavioral control. In conclusion, the mind is certainly an emergence from the brain,but it isn't necessarily a distinct subject that can be entirely comprehended by science in today’stime.3
Recent published research in the Journal of Clinical Investigation demonstrates how changes in dopamine signaling and dopamine transporter function are linked to neurological and psychiatric diseases, including early-onset Parkinsonism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Researchers have suggested that alterations in eye movements when reading could be linked to impairments in working memory and an early indication of Alzheimer’s disease according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental...
Soul singer Betty Everett once proclaimed, “If you want to know if he loves you so, it’s in his kiss.” But a new study by University of Chicago researchers suggests the difference between love and lust might be in the eyes after all. Specifically, where your date looks at you could indicate whether love or…
Reading other people’s eyes is a valuable skill during interpersonal interaction. Although a number of studies have investigated visual patterns in relation to the perceiver’s interest, intentions, and goals, little is known about eye gaze when it comes to differentiating intentions to love from intentions to lust (sexual desire). To address this question, we conducted two experiments: one testing whether the visual pattern related to the perception of love differs from that related to lust and one testing whether the visual pattern related to the expression of love differs from that related to lust. Our results show that a person’s eye gaze shifts as a function of his or her goal (love vs. lust) when looking at a visual stimulus. Such identification of distinct visual patterns for love and lust could have theoretical and clinical importance in couples therapy when these two phenomena are difficult to disentangle from one another on the basis of patients’ self-reports.
The laughter spills out of her like a jar of coins enriching the nearby surroundings. How does this burst of vocalized joy, unique in this form only to our species, define our personalities and impact our social relationships? A recent study of humor in children explains where the funny bone is: your brain.
Scientists have discovered that the human nose possesses receptors for chemical scents called pheromones, which are bodily chemicals that regulate mating and other social behaviors in insects and (nonhuman) mammalian species.
Two leading neuroscientists introduce the concepts of "cerebral plasticity" and the "regenerating brain," describing what we know now about the processes through which the brain constantly reconstructs itself and the potential benefits this knowledge could have in addressing concerns for neurological, cognitive, and emotional health.
The authors begin with a survey of the fundamental scientific developments that led to our current understanding of the regenerative mind, elucidating the breakthrough neurobiological studies that paved the way for our present understanding of the brain's plasticity and regenerative capabilities. They then discuss the application of these findings to such issues as depression, dyslexia, schizophrenia, and cognitive therapy, incorporating the latest technologies in neuroimaging, optogenetics, and nanotechnology. Their work shows the brain is anything but a static organ, ceasing to grow as human beings become adults. Rather, the brain is dynamic, evolving organically in relation to physical, cultural, historical, and affective stimuli, a plasticity that provides early hope to survivors of trauma and degenerative disorders.
Currently there is just one drug that has been approved for treatment of acute stroke—recombinant tissue plasminogen activator, or t-PA. Essentially it works by thinning blood clots. Researchers at the University of Georgia (UGA) announced last week that they have developed a magnetic nanoparticle that when combined with t-PA can make the drug significantly more effective.
The Georgia researchers injected magnetic nanorods into the bloodstream. When stimulated by rotating magnets the nanorods act as a kind of mixing tool that shakes up blood clots that have already been thinned by t-PA.
The injected nanorods "act like stirring bars to drive t-PA to the site of the clot," said Yiping Zhao, professor of physics at UGA, in a press release. "Our preliminary results show that the breakdown of clots can be enhanced up to twofold compared to treatment with t-PA alone."
Researchers have developed a new cognitive test that can better determine whether memory impairments are due to very mild Alzheimer’s disease or the normal aging process. Their study appears in the journal Neuropsychologia.
I decide to conduct an experiment, a simple experiment in empathy. I ask myself, is it possible, in spite of how insane and dead-wrong this storeowner is, that I could -- in some way -- begin to empathize with him? Just before bed, I write a list of how I imagine he might be seeing the issue -- and at first, it's physically painful to write:
1. Though I totally disagree with his policy and his intransigent stance, I must also admit that I don't know a damn thing about running a store.
============================ After the phone call I feel like a tiny tear in the fabric of my own humanity has been restored. All through this simple experiment in empathy....
Older people are nearly twice as likely as young adults to have their memory affected by distractions like irrelevant speech or written words. (After the age of 25, we're more forgetful when...where was I ?
Empathy has been difficult for neuroscientists to analyze because it’s the product of many parts of the brain acting with one another in mysterious ways.
Simon Baron-Cohen, a neuroscientist and psychologist at the University of Oxford, has identified ten separate regions of the brain, each with its own special function, that comprise the “empathy circuit.” One critical part of this circuit is called the medial prefrontal cortex, or MPFC, which plays a role in comparing one’s own perspective to that of others. Other parts of the empathy circuit correlate with social judgments (the orbitofrontal cortex), awareness of the intentions and goals of others (the frontal operculum), recognizing emotion (the inferior frontal gyrus), and processing sensory stimuli (the somatosensory cortex).
But knowing which brain areas are associated with which individual functions still doesn’t present a clear picture of how these areas work, much less interact with one another.
Humans are some of the most social creatures on this planet, but step into an elevator, train or public bus and something strange happens: we fall silent, stare at the wall and ignore the strangers surrounding us.
Empathy is a curious, human capacity that pervades the worlds of both art and design. In this article, the first of a three-part series, author Seung Chan Lim (Slim) explores the direct relationship between making art and realizing empathy.