The chemical messenger dopamine – otherwise known as the happiness hormone – is important not only for motivation and motor skills. It seems it can also help neurons with difficult cognitive tasks. Torben Ott, Simon Jacob and Professor Andreas Nieder of Tübingen's Institute for Neurobiology have ...
The brain's plasticity and its adaptability to new situations do not function the way researchers previously thought, according to a new study. Earlier theories are based on laboratory animals, but now researchers have studied the human brain, and reached some new conclusions.
Everyone knows the scene: a basketball player at the free throw line, bouncing the ball as he concentrates on the basket. It’s a tight game, and his team needs this point. He regularly makes baskets from much farther away while avoiding defenders, but now, when all is calm, he chokes and misses the basket, and his team loses. Recent research suggests that in situations like this, performance depends on two factors: the framing of the incentive in terms of a loss or a gain, and a person’s aversio
The identification of neuroanatomical changes related to prematurity helps explain what brain structure and circuitry are affected, and may lead to designing effective prevention strategies and early interventional treatments for cognitive disabilities.
Critical-analytic thinking is typically conceived as a meta-construct that arises at the junction of a problem state (i.e., a situation that requires analysis that challenges previous assumptions) and an individual (i.e., an entity with the capacity to exercise critical-analytic thinking). With regard to the latter, there is a substantial body of research focusing on developmental and educational prerequisites for critical-analytic thinking. A less studied aspect of critical-analytic thinking pertains to individual differences, particularly in the set of foundational or componential cognitive skills that embody this construct. The bottom line here is whether, all else being equal (i.e., the same situation and the same developmental/educational stage), there is variation in whether, when, and how people think critically/analytically. We argue that there is unequivocal evidence for both the existence and importance of individual differences in critical-analytic thinking. This review focuses on theoretical and empirical evidence, identifying the cognitive processes that serve as the sources of these individual differences and capturing these processes’ differential contributions to both the critical and analytic components of this construct.
Regular mental imagery exercises help preserve arm strength during 4 weeks of immobilization, researchers have found. Strength is controlled by a number of factors -- the most studied by far is skeletal muscle. However, the nervous system is also an important, though not fully understood, determinant of strength and weakness. In this study, researchers set out to test how the brain's cortex plays into strength development.
Researchers have shown how a single neuron can perform multiple functions in a model organism, illuminating for the first time this fundamental biological mechanism and shedding light on the human brain.
We can easily learn by seeking reward or avoiding punishment. But either way, we'd rather have any task be easy. A new study finds a direct behavioral and physiological linkage between those inclinations: When even subtle conflict made an experimental task harder, it affected the perception of reward and punishment, skewing how subjects learned the task.
A child's ability to distinguish musical rhythm is related to his or her capacity for understanding grammar, according to a recent study. The study is the first of its kind to show an association between musical rhythm and grammar.
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