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

Humans, like other animals, possess an enormous learning capacity that allows for the apprehension of new sensory information to master new skills or to adapt to an ever-changing environment. However, many of the mechanisms that enable people to learn remain poorly understood. One of the greatest challenges of systems neuroscience is to explain how synaptic

For the first time, MIT researchers have shown that nerves made to express proteins that can be activated by light can produce limb movements that can be adjusted in real-time, using cues generated by the motion of the limb itself. The technique leads to movement that is smoother and less fatiguing than similar electrical systems

That moment when you step on the gas pedal a split second before the light changes, or when you tap your toes even before the first piano note of Camila Cabello’s “Havana” is struck. That’s anticipatory timing. One type relies on memories from past experiences. The other on rhythm. Both are critical to our ability

Tablets and other mobile computing devices are part of everyday life, but using them can be difficult for people with paralysis. New research from the BrainGate* consortium shows that a brain-computer interface (BCI) can enable people with paralysis to directly operate an off-the-shelf tablet device just by thinking about making cursor movements and clicks. In

Why do we like the bitter taste of coffee? Bitterness evolved as a natural warning system to protect the body from harmful substances. By evolutionary logic, we should want to spit it out. But, it turns out, the more sensitive people are to the bitter taste of caffeine, the more coffee they drink, reports a

Few things can delight an adult more easily than the uninhibited, effervescent laughter of a baby. Yet baby laughter, a new study shows, differs from adult laughter in a key way: Babies laugh as they both exhale and inhale, in a manner that is remarkably similar to nonhuman primates. The research will be described by

In order to learn about the world, an animal needs to do more than just pay attention to its surroundings. It also needs to learn which sights, sounds and sensations in its environment are the most important and monitor how the importance of those details change over time. Yet how humans and other animals track

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