Brain Health

Medical News Today: How music motivates the brain to learn

Humans have been making, listening, and dancing to music since time immemorial, and this art can easily soothe or amplify our emotions. New research explains what “chords” music strikes in the brain, and how it relates to certain cognitive processes, particularly learning. (February 15, 2019) Read the full article here

Futurity: Newlywed brains suggest altruism is hard-wired

Thinking of the well-being of our romantic partners before our own may be hard-wired in our brains, according to new research. Such altruism has perplexed and intrigued scientists for centuries. The new study explores how an individual’s genetics and brain activity correlate with altruistic behaviors directed toward romantic partners. (February 14, 2019) Read the full […]

Medical Xpress: What makes some people creative thinkers and others analytical?

Are you a more creative or analytical thinker? Analytical thinkers are particularly good at solving clear-cut problems by methodically working through the possibilities. Creative thinkers are more likely to have flashes of insight, or “aha moments,” that can leapfrog over many steps of thinking to solve problems that are fuzzy or complex. (February 14, 2019) […]

U.S. News & World Report: How inactivity and junk food can harm your brain

If you’re in your 50s and your typical day involves sitting at a desk followed by lounging on the sofa and succumbing to late-night snacks, the long-term toll on your mind might be greater than you think. Like dominoes, an unhealthy lifestyle can trigger inflammation throughout your body, which can then accelerate wear-and-tear on your […]

Futurity: Musical surprises light up the brain’s reward center

Surprises in music activate the reward center of our brains, and help us learn about the music as we listen, research finds. Researchers put 20 volunteers through a musical reward learning task. Each participant chose a color, then a direction. Each choice came with a certain probability of leading to either a consonant, pleasurable musical […]

Quanta Magazine: How the brain creates a timeline of the past

It began about a decade ago at Syracuse University, with a set of equations scrawled on a blackboard. Marc Howard, a cognitive neuroscientist now at Boston University, and Karthik Shankar, who was then one of his postdoctoral students, wanted to figure out a mathematical model of time processing: a neurologically computable function for representing the […]

Science Daily: Beyond romance: Empathy and bonding

Love can make us do crazy things. It often prompts us to behave in counterintuitive ways, like, for example, placing the wellbeing of our loved ones above our own. But why? Such altruism has perplexed and intrigued scientists for centuries. A new study out of UC Santa Barbara explores how an individual’s genetics and brain […]

Chicago Tribune: How your brain chooses the people you desire

Science says your attraction meter is similar to a video game: If you’re a woman, you’ll score two points for having a lower back curve (you look fertile), gain a point for being intelligent, but lose one for being too smart. Bonus points if you look young. If you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with a significant […]

News-Medical: Neuroscientists show how the brain responds to texture

Our hands and fingertips are amazingly sensitive to texture. We can easily distinguish coarse sandpaper from smooth glass, but we also pick up more subtle differences across a wide range of textures, like the slick sheen of silk or the soft give of cotton. Information about texture is transmitted from sensors in the skin and […]