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Postgraduate student blogging about neuroscience/psychology/general science research, and anything else that interests/amuses/annoys him.

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  • September 6, 2013
  • 12:20 PM

The “cutaneous rabbit” hopping out of the body

by Neuromancy in Neuromancy

Sat at a desk late at night, typing away at another blog post, something brushes against you in the dark. Urgh. Where did it go? You’re fairly sure it ran down your arm. At least, you felt it at your elbow, then towards your wrist. It felt like whatever it was crossed the space in . . . → Read More... Read more »

Miyazaki M, Hirashima M, & Nozaki D. (2010) The "cutaneous rabbit" hopping out of the body. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 30(5), 1856-60. PMID: 20130194  

  • March 5, 2013
  • 04:00 PM

Just a Heartbeat Away from One’s Body: Interoceptive Sensitivity Predicts Malleability of Body-representations

by Neuromancy in Neuromancy

ResearchBlogging.orgPrevious papers we’ve looked at in the body representation reading group have manipulated multi-sensory external stimulation, such as the visible image of a rubber hand and simultaneous stroking of both the rubber and genuine hand, to look at how external stimuli are integrated to form a representation of the body. However, the body representation is also formed from internal as well as external information: the brain has access to proprioceptive information (informatio........ Read more »

  • February 19, 2013
  • 04:00 PM

The sense of the body in individuals with spinal cord injury

by Neuromancy in Neuromancy

How does spinal cord injury affect your sense of self?

Does the absence of sensory and motor feedback from the limbs as a result of spinal cord injury (SCI) affects the body scheme. As well as measuring disruption of the body scheme and a sense of body ownership using the rubber hand illusion (RHI), Lenggenhager et al. also looked at whether SCI produces a sense of disembodiment and depersonalisation using the Cambridge Depersonalisation Scale (CDS), as the authors suggest there is increasing........ Read more »

Lenggenhager B, Pazzaglia M, Scivoletto G, Molinari M, & Aglioti SM. (2012) The sense of the body in individuals with spinal cord injury. PloS one, 7(11). PMID: 23209824  

  • November 20, 2012
  • 04:00 PM

Associations of value with directions can be shaped by experience

by Neuromancy in Neuromancy

Phrases like “right hand man”, perhaps with it’s roots in Christian mythology as Jesus as sitting at God’s right hand, having two left feet, the roots of dextrous and sinister are from the Latin for right and left, all indicate a deep association between direction and value. We tend to associate good with things on the right, and bad with the left. When I say ‘we’, I perhaps refer only to people who share my cultural upbringing, although it might be independent of culture, perhaps th........ Read more »

Casasanto D, & Chrysikou EG. (2011) When left is "right". Motor fluency shapes abstract concepts. Psychological science, 22(4), 419-22. PMID: 21389336  

  • November 6, 2012
  • 04:00 PM

How quickly can you find your hands?

by Neuromancy in Neuromancy

Our brains and the brains of other animals have sensory maps. For vision, one of the maps is of our visual field, with neighbouring locations on the map corresponding to neighbouring locations in our visual field. For touch, regions of one of the maps correspond to different parts of the body (an illustration of this map is called a sensory ‘homunculus’ – little person). Physical contact with a part of the body produces activity in the corresponding area of the map. These maps ........ Read more »

Yamamoto S, & Kitazawa S. (2001) Reversal of subjective temporal order due to arm crossing. Nature neuroscience, 4(7), 759-65. PMID: 11426234  

Overvliet KE, Azañón E, & Soto-Faraco S. (2011) Somatosensory saccades reveal the timing of tactile spatial remapping. Neuropsychologia, 49(11), 3046-52. PMID: 21782835  

  • October 2, 2012
  • 04:00 PM

Just a Heartbeat Away from One’s Body: Interoceptive Sensitivity Predicts Malleability of Body-representations

by Neuromancy in Neuromancy

ResearchBlogging.orgIn the last post, I mentioned the Pinocchio illusion – the illusory feeling that your nose is growing that results from your brain trying to reconcile the feeling of touching your nose with the feeling of your arm extending (a result of the biceps tendons being stimulated). But the Pinocchio illusion is not just restricted to the nose. Ehrsson and colleagues applied the idea behind the illusion to create the feeling of a shrinking waist, and did so inside of an MRI scanner ........ Read more »

  • September 18, 2012
  • 05:30 PM

An implicity body representation underlying human position sense

by Neuromancy in Neuromancy

Knowing where your body is and what shape it is seems like a pretty essential part of performing tasks involving spatial awareness, which is pretty much everything that involves the outside world. So we must have a pretty reliable and accurate sense of the shape and location of our body parts, right?

Wrong.... Read more »

Longo, M., & Haggard, P. (2010) An implicit body representation underlying human position sense. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(26), 11727-11732. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1003483107  

  • September 11, 2012
  • 12:00 PM

Tools for the body (schema)

by Neuromancy in Neuromancy

In their 2004 review, Maravita and Iriki ask: “What happens in our brain when we use a tool to reach for a distant object?” In order to move around and interact with the world, some have suggested that we combine a best guess at the size and shape and position of body parts into an up-to-date representation. Does wielding a tool that extends or modifies our interaction with the world affect our body representation? Maravita and Iriki present three strands of evidence that suggest it ........ Read more »

Maravita, A., & Iriki, A. (2004) Tools for the body (schema). Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 8(2), 79-86. DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2003.12.008  

  • August 24, 2012
  • 12:00 PM

Do you know where your arms are?

by Neuromancy in Neuromancy

When you look down at your body, you probably have a fairly strong sense that what you are looking at is actually your body (barring neurological conditions such as somotoparaphrenia, which can cause patients to disown their body parts). But just how reliable is that sense of ownership?... Read more »

  • July 10, 2012
  • 05:59 PM

Visual after images – in the eye of the beholder, or all in the mind?

by Neuromancy in Neuromancy

Visual illusions are useful in that they tell us something about how the visual system works. Negative after images are thought to be the result of the light sensitive neurons in the retina adapting to an unchanging input. When they eyes are moved from the image to a blank page, the adapted neurons transmit a weak signal, but non-adapted neurons are still responsive, and send out a strong signal. In the case of the US flag above, the green stripes tire out the green receptors, producing an compl........ Read more »

  • July 7, 2012
  • 10:20 PM

Collocalisation of neurotransmitters

by Neuromancy in Neuromancy

Although traditionally neurons were considered to release only one neurontransmitter, there is increasing evidence that some neurons can release multiple neurotransmitters. Part of the evidence has been different types cellular machinery needed to produce different neurotransmitters were found in the same cell. This could have been a biological accident - proteins for production of the 'wrong' neurotransmitter being made in error. However, if this behaviour was accidental, I'd exp........ Read more »

Stuber GD, Hnasko TS, Britt JP, Edwards RH, & Bonci A. (2010) Dopaminergic terminals in the nucleus accumbens but not the dorsal striatum corelease glutamate. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 30(24), 8229-33. PMID: 20554874  

  • June 13, 2012
  • 09:44 PM

Are you blind ref? Visual ability in referees

by Neuromancy in Neuromancy

“Are you blind?! That was never offside!” The man in the stands has spotted something and the ref’s visual ability is called into question. But just how well do referees see? And do poor referees have bad eyesight? Science to the rescue!... Read more »

Ghasemi A, Momeni M, Jafarzadehpur E, Rezaee M, & Taheri H. (2011) Visual skills involved in decision making by expert referees. Perceptual and motor skills, 112(1), 161-71. PMID: 21466089  

  • June 12, 2012
  • 10:40 PM

Kits, colours and confusion – football psychology

by Neuromancy in Neuromancy

Tis the season! Seeing as Euro 2012 Poland-Ukraine has started, I thought I’d see if I could find some football psychology/neuroscience papers to get back into the blog. So here is ‘Kits, colours and confusion: a pilot study of vision and football’.... Read more »

  • February 3, 2011
  • 11:55 AM

Do animats dream of electric rats?

by Neuromancy in Neuromancy

The brain is an incredibly complex system. A carefully controlled experiment might be able to give us information about a specific function in a specific situation, but it is somewhat artificial. By creating a simple ‘brain’, and embedding it in a robot with the ability to detect and react to its surroundings, we can begin to understand how the brain reacts in a more natural and dynamic way. This is exactly what research groups around the world, including a group at the University of Reading........ Read more »

Warwick, K., Xydas, D., Nasuto, S. J., Becerra, V. M., Hammond, M. W., Downes, J., Marshall, S., & Whalley, B. J. (2010) Controlling a mobile robot with a biological brain. Defence Science Journal, 60(1), 5-14. info:other/0011-748X

  • November 27, 2010
  • 05:13 PM

Quickie – Considerations of in vivo electrophysiology

by Neuromancy in Neuromancy

I’m just reading a paper on the response properties of monoamine neurons, and it starts out with a few points of consideration for electrophysiological recording of neurons in vivo. I thought I’d relay them here.

The evidence that you are recording from a given type of neuron (dopaminergic, serotinergic etc.) is almost always indirect. It is usually . . . → Read More... Read more »

  • August 30, 2010
  • 06:04 AM

The brain as a network – a new hypothesis?

by Neuromancy in Neuromancy

The BBC News Sci/tech section recently ran a few stories about neuroscience and technology that I considered to be a bit oversold. There was one article in particular I wanted to write about: Brain works more like internet than ‘top down’ company. The article refers to a recent study in PNAS that used injections of [...]... Read more »

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