When making a complex decision, we often break the problem down into a series of smaller decisions. For example, when deciding how to treat a patient, a doctor may go through a hierarchy of steps — choosing a diagnostic test, interpreting the results, and then prescribing a medication. Making hierarchical decisions is straightforward when the

To move through the world, you need a sense of your surroundings, especially of the constraints that restrict your movement: the walls, ceiling and other barriers that define the geometry of the navigable space around you. And now, a team of neuroscientists has identified an area of the human brain dedicated to perceiving this geometry.

Computers and artificial intelligence continue to usher in major changes in the way people shop. It is relatively easy to train a robot’s brain to create a shopping list, but what about ensuring that the robotic shopper can easily tell the difference between the thousands of products in the store? Purdue University researchers and experts

A synaesthesia-like effect in which people ‘hear’ silent flashes or movement, such as in popular ‘noisy GIFs’ and memes, could be due to a reduction of inhibition of signals that travel between visual and auditory areas of the brain, according to a new study led by researchers at City, University of London. The study is

Scientists develop a robust experiment that shows human brain waves respond to changes in Earth-strength magnetic fields. Many humans are able to unconsciously detect changes in Earth-strength magnetic fields, according to scientists at Caltech and the University of Tokyo. The study, led by geoscientist Joseph Kirschvink (BS, MS ’75) and neuroscientist Shin Shimojo at Caltech

Anyone who has ever put a small child to bed or drifted off in a gently swaying hammock will know that a rocking motion makes getting to sleep seem easier. Now, two new studies reported in Current Biology on January 24, one conducted in young adults and the other in mice, add to evidence for

A team of researchers from McMaster University has discovered a new technique to examine how musicians intuitively coordinate with one another during a performance, silently predicting how each will express the music. The findings, published today in the journal Scientific Reports, provide new insights into how musicians synchronize their movements so they are playing exactly

It’s no surprise to scientists that variety is the very essence of biology, not just the seasoning, but most previous studies of key brain cells have found little variability in a common cell process that involves how genetic information is read and acted on. The process, called epigenetics, involves chemical or structural “tweaks” to gene

The visual system is probably the best understood part of the brain. Over the past 75 years, neuroscientists have assembled a detailed account of how light waves entering your eyes allow you to recognize your grandmother’s face, to track a hawk in flight, or to read this sentence. But a new study by UC San

The body of knowledge about the human brain is growing exponentially, but questions big and small remain unanswered. Researchers have been using electrode arrays to map electrical activity in different brain regions to understand brain function. Until now, however, these arrays have only been able to detect activity over a certain frequency threshold. A new

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