51 posts · 56,672 views
Blogging about the brain—without the jargon.
A new type of consumer has evolved in recent years—the love child of the Couch Potato and the Channel Surfer, raised by streaming devices and nurtured by entire seasons of shows available at the click of a remote. Neuroscience, it turns out, can partially explain the phenomenon of binge-watching TV.... Read more »
As we approach the 50th anniversary of John, Paul, George, and Ringo’s first U.S. appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show this Sunday, we can’t help but look back and laugh nostalgically. Just what was it about the moptop haircuts, Cuban heels, and “yeah yeah yeah”s that turned us, our parents, or our grandparents into primeval beings whose sole purpose was to drown out the blare of a Vox AC30 amplifier?
As it turns out, neuroscience can (partially) explain the phenomenon.... Read more »
Townsend JM, & Levy GD. (1990) Effects of potential partners' physical attractiveness and socioeconomic status on sexuality and partner selection. Archives of sexual behavior, 19(2), 149-64. PMID: 2337380
I sure could use a little memory boost. Unfortunately, despite the growing popularity of brain-training apps and programs like Lumosity, CogniFit, CogMed, and Jungle Memory, I’m not going to find any help here.
They're totally bogus, you see.... Read more »
Chooi, Weng-Tink. (2012) Working memory training does not improve intelligence in healthy young adults. Intelligence, 40(6). DOI: 10.1016/j.intell.2012.07.004
Time seems to pass more quickly as we age. Why is this?... Read more »
What causes alcohol's strange and dichotomous effect on the sleeping brain? And the real question—do you accept the nightcap or not?... Read more »
Roehrs, T and Roth, T. (2001) Sleep, sleepiness, sleep disorders and alcohol use and abuse. Sleep Med Rev, 5(4), 287-297. DOI: 10.1053/smrv.2001.0162
What's the verdict on sleep-tracking apps? How do they work, and how accurate are they? Is it all a big scam, or perhaps the placebo effect at work?... Read more »
Tilley A, Donohoe F, & Hensby S. (1987) Homeostatic changes in slow wave sleep during recovery sleep following restricted nocturnal sleep and partial slow wave sleep recovery during an afternoon nap. Sleep, 10(6), 600-5. PMID: 3432860
He eyed me strangely and walked a couple steps closer before returning the greeting. "Oh, didn't recognize you in the coat. You were wearing green earlier. Have a good night, Jordan."
It would have been a puzzling encounter if I didn't already know about his strange afflication.
Dr. P has prosopagnosia, or the inability to recognize faces.... Read more »
Grüter T, Grüter M, & Carbon CC. (2008) Neural and genetic foundations of face recognition and prosopagnosia. Journal of neuropsychology, 2(Pt 1), 79-97. PMID: 19334306
We cry when we're sad, frustrated, or stressed. Why do we cry when we're happy, too?... Read more »
Mitchelson F. (2012) Muscarinic receptor agonists and antagonists: effects on ocular function. Handb Exp Pharmacol, 263-98. PMID: 22222703
Do gendered toys affect cognitive development? The more relevant issue may be social development, and the negative consequences for gender non-conformity. ... Read more »
Hurlbert, A.C., & Y. Ling. (2007) Biological components of sex differences in color preference. . Curr Biol. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2007.06.022
Jadva V, Hines M, & Golombok S. (2010) Infants' preferences for toys, colors, and shapes: sex differences and similarities. Archives of sexual behavior, 39(6), 1261-73. PMID: 20232129
Roberts, A. et al. (2012) Childhood gender nonconformity: A risk indicator for childhood abuse and posttraumatic stress in youth. . Pediatrics. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2011-1804
Perhaps LEGO faces have indeed become angrier—and more disdainful, more fearful, more smug—since their 1975 debut. But is it actually affecting the emotional and mental well-being and learning of a developing child?... Read more »
BAIRD, A., GRUBER, S., FEIN, D., MASS, L., STEINGARD, R., RENSHAW, P., COHEN, B., & YURGELUN-TODD, D. (1999) Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Facial Affect Recognition in Children and Adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child , 38(2), 195-199. DOI: 10.1097/00004583-199902000-00019
Mar, R. (2011) The Neural Bases of Social Cognition and Story Comprehension. Annual Review of Psychology, 62(1), 103-134. DOI: 10.1146/annurev-psych-120709-145406
Thomas, K., Drevets, W., Whalen, P., Eccard, C., Dahl, R., Ryan, N., & Casey, B. (2001) Amygdala response to facial expressions in children and adults. Biological Psychiatry, 49(4), 309-316. DOI: 10.1016/S0006-3223(00)01066-0
What do we know about spelling, and why are some of our most brilliant peers some of the greatest misspellers out there?... Read more »
Norton ES, Kovelman I, & Petitto LA. (2007) Are There Separate Neural Systems for Spelling? New Insights into the Role of Rules and Memory in Spelling from Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Mind, brain and education : the official journal of the International Mind, Brain, and Education Society, 1(1), 48-59. PMID: 20011680
Not only is the ability to smell one of humans' most primitive senses, but it is also closely tied to memory and emotion. How do stores take advantage of our sense of smell to tempt us to buy more than we bargained for?... Read more »
Rabin MD, & Cain WS. (1984) Odor recognition: familiarity, identifiability, and encoding consistency. Journal of experimental psychology. Learning, memory, and cognition, 10(2), 316-25. PMID: 6242742
Sure, a company can do its job to create an attractive, pleasurable product for us consumers. But—you guessed it—the store does its own part in tricking us, ensuring that the phrase "you touch it, you buy it" often holds true.... Read more »
James R. Wolf, Hal R. Arkes, & Waleed A. Muhanna. (2008) The power of touch: An examination of the effect of duration of physical contact on the valuation of objects. Judgment and Decision Making, 3(6), 476-482. info:/
Why do I sigh? Does it help regulate my breathing when I'm stressed? Is it a subconscious action I do to express to those around me that I'm anxious or upset? Perhaps a mental reset button, so to speak?... Read more »
Teigen KH. (2008) Is a sigh "just a sigh"? Sighs as emotional signals and responses to a difficult task. Scandinavian journal of psychology, 49(1), 49-57. PMID: 18190402
Vlemincx E, Van Diest I, Lehrer PM, Aubert AE, & Van den Bergh O. (2010) Respiratory variability preceding and following sighs: a resetter hypothesis. Biological psychology, 84(1), 82-7. PMID: 19744538
Do you get woozy when you see blood? It seems like an oddly dramatic physiological response for just seeing a little red liquid, right? As it turns out, fainting at the sight of blood may be a primitive reflex buried deep in our brain.... Read more »
Zervou EK, Ziciadis K, Karabini F, Xanthi E, Chrisostomou E, & Tzolou A. (2005) Vasovagal reactions in blood donors during or immediately after blood donation. Transfusion medicine (Oxford, England), 15(5), 389-94. PMID: 16202053
Why do smells bring back deep, emotional memories even when we're in unfamiliar places?... Read more »
Rabin, M., & Cain, W. (1984) Odor recognition: Familiarity, identifiability, and encoding consistency. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 10(2), 316-325. DOI: 10.1037/0278-73220.127.116.116
In this second installment, we'll explore how stores betray our sense of sight, tricking us to buy stuff we really don't want or need.... Read more »
Berns GS, McClure SM, Pagnoni G, & Montague PR. (2001) Predictability modulates human brain response to reward. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 21(8), 2793-8. PMID: 11306631
Our brains are endlessly fascinatingly organs—but sometimes they betray us. The following is the first post in a five-part series on how stores trick our senses into shelling out more money than we may intend.... Read more »
McClure SM, Li J, Tomlin D, Cypert KS, Montague LM, & Montague PR. (2004) Neural correlates of behavioral preference for culturally familiar drinks. Neuron, 44(2), 379-87. PMID: 15473974
Expressing gratitude is more than just a nice idea—it's beneficial to your health and happiness.... Read more »
Emmons RA, & McCullough ME. (2003) Counting blessings versus burdens: an experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of personality and social psychology, 84(2), 377-89. PMID: 12585811
Gordon AM, Impett EA, Kogan A, Oveis C, & Keltner D. (2012) To have and to hold: gratitude promotes relationship maintenance in intimate bonds. Journal of personality and social psychology, 103(2), 257-74. PMID: 22642482
Is coulrophobia (fear of clowns) real? And, for that matter, what is fear?... Read more »
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