This week the Visionaries are hosting Compassion Week! This will be a week of fun and meaningful events on campus to spread kindness and cultivate compassion within our community! Each day has a unique theme aimed at reaching the core components of compassion, join us at any of these events for a week of love and fun!
(multiple names) Exploring Link Between Marriage and Heart Disease (multiple names) Michigan State University's Hui Liu will lead one of the first national interdisciplinary efforts to investigate how biology and social factors interact within...
Speech provides a fascinating window into brain processes. It is understood effortlessly, and despite a huge variability, manifests both within and across speakers. It is also a stable and reliable carrier of linguistic meaning, complex and intricate as it may be. How speech is encoded and decoded has puzzled those seeking to understand how the brain extracts sense from an ambiguous, noisy environment (see the figure). On page 1006 in this issue, Mesgarani et al. (1) demonstrate the neural basis of speech perception by combining linguistic, electrophysiological, clinical, and computational approaches.
Some neurons in the brain respond to words, objects and faces in a highly selective manner, consistent with the so-called 'grandmother cell' theory whereby a particular neuron activates when a person sees, hears or otherwise senses a specific...
This paper examines the idea that attraction to music is generated at a cognitive level through the formation and activation of networks of interlinked ‘nodes’. Although the networks involved are vast, the basic mechanism for activating the links is relatively simple. Two comprehensive cognitive-behavioral models of musical engagement are examined with the aim of identifying the underlying cognitive mechanisms and processes involved in musical experience. A ‘dynamical minimalism’ approach (after Nowak, 2004) is applied to re-interpret musical engagement (listening, performing, composing or imagining any of these) and to revise the latest version of the reciprocal-feedback model (RFM) of music processing. Specifically, a single cognitive mechanism of ‘spreading activation’ through previously associated networks is proposed as a pleasurable outcome of musical engagement. This mechanism underlies the dynamic interaction of the various components of the RFM, and can thereby explain the generation of positive affects in the listener’s musical experience. This includes determinants of that experience stemming from the characteristics of the individual engaging in the musical activity (whether listener, composer, improviser or performer), the situation and contexts (e.g. social factors), and the music (e.g. genre, structural features). The theory calls for new directions for future research, two being (1) further investigation of the components of the RFM to better understand musical experience and (2) more rigorous scrutiny of common findings about the salience of familiarity in musical experience and preference.
On Anosmia Awareness Day, the Monell Center announces "A Sense of Hope: The Monell Anosmia Project," a three-year $1.5M fundraising campaign to support a research and advocacy program focused on anosmia, the loss of the sense of smell.
Proteins like the so-called heat shock protein Hsp90 play an important role in almost all processes within human cells. They help other proteins fold into their three-dimensional structure or return damaged proteins back into their proper shape.
Mind perception entails ascribing mental capacities to other entities, whereas moral judgment entails labeling entities as good or bad or actions as right or wrong. We suggest that mind perception is the essence of moral judgment. In particular, we suggest that moral judgment is rooted in a cognitive template of two perceived minds-a moral dyad of an intentional agent and a suffering moral patient. Diverse lines of research support dyadic morality. First, perceptions of mind are linked to moral judgments: dimensions of mind perception (agency and experience) map onto moral types (agents and patients), and deficits of mind perception correspond to difficulties with moral judgment. Second, not only are moral judgments sensitive to perceived agency and experience, but all moral transgressions are fundamentally understood as agency plus experienced suffering-that is, interpersonal harm-even ostensibly harmless acts such as purity violations. Third, dyadic morality uniquely accounts for the phenomena of dyadic completion (seeing agents in response to patients, and vice versa), and moral typecasting (characterizing others as either moral agents or moral patients). Discussion also explores how mind perception can unify morality across explanatory levels, how a dyadic template of morality may be developmentally acquired, and future directions.
The brain must extract linguistic bits like vowels and consonants from background acoustics, categorizing them, to make sense of what others say. Scientists have known that a brain region called the superior temporal gyrus (STG) plays a role; specifically, it helps map speech sounds possessing certain acoustic properties to their phonetic representations in the brain. But, scientists haven’t understood exactly how the process works, how the individual neurons of the STG extract different sounds from acoustic vibrations and represent them all. To shed some light, Nima Mesgarani and colleagues directly recorded neuronal responses in the STGs of patients while they listened to continuous speech from 400 natural American English speakers. Certain neurons showed clear responses to vowels, and others to consonants. Some were more sensitive to changes in pitch. The analysis ultimately divided the STG neurons into two distinct groups, each responding to different speech sound types. These findings reveal the specially designed nature of the acoustic-to-phonetic transformation process in the human STG, the authors say. Its complex layout is necessary for us to understand the words all around us.
Vaccinating Addiction Away OZY This protein usually shuttles dopamine — a.k.a., the “feel-good” neurotransmitter — away from the nerve endings to be recycled, but when that process gets interrupted by cocaine the body ends up with a surplus of...