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Mind and Brain


Cornell University: Brain Scan Can Decode Whom You Are Thinking About

Tetris Shown to Lessen PTSD and Flashbacks

The Biology of Forgetting

Scans Show Psychopaths Have Brain Abnormalities

How the Brain Routes Traffic for Maximum Alertness

Vitamin K2: New Hope for Parkinson's Patients?

Feeling Tired? 'Social Jetlag' Poses Obesity Health Hazard, Study Shows



elevation can affect decision-making



Elevation in Buildings Can Affect the Decisions We Make

April 16, 2018—People rely on financial managers, doctors and lawyers to be as objective as possible when making decisions about investments, health and legal issues, but findings from a new study suggest that an unexpected factor could be influencing these choices.

In a series of experiments, researchers found that people at higher elevations in an office building were more willing to take financial risks. The study is available online in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

"When you increase elevation, there is a subconscious effect on the sense of power," says lead author Sina Esteky, PhD, an assistant professor of marketing in the business school at Miami University. "This heightened feeling of power results in more risk-seeking behavior."
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Belief in Free Will Is Linked to Happiness

Researchers show that a phenomenon previously seen in Western populations crosses cultural divides

January 23, 2017—Western and Asian cultures tend to have different core beliefs around free will. However, in a recent study published in Frontiers in Psychology, Jingguang Li, professor at Dali University, and his research team show the link between belief in free will and happiness, also found in Western studies, exists in Chinese teenagers.

They found that 85% of the Chinese teenagers expressed a belief in free will, and that this was positively correlated with happiness. Free will describes the ability to make independent choices, where the outcome of the choice is not influenced by past events.
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Older Dogs Better at Learning New Tricks


Older adolescents and adults can learn certain thinking skills including non-verbal reasoning more effectively than younger people

London; November 4, 2016—Older adolescents and adults can learn certain thinking skills including non-verbal reasoning more effectively than younger people, finds new UCL (University College London) research.

The study, published in Psychological Science, also highlights the fact that non-verbal reasoning skills can be readily trained and do not represent an innate, fixed ability.

"Although adults and older adolescents benefitted most from training in non-verbal reasoning, the average test score for adolescents aged 11–13 improved from 60 percent to 70 percent following three weeks of ten-minute online training sessions," says senior author Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore (UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience). "This calls into question the claim that entry tests for selective schools that include non-verbal reasoning 'assess the true potential of every child'."
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To Strengthen an Opinion, Simply Say It Is Based on Morality

The 'moral' label instantly makes opinions more resistant to change

May 31, 2016—Simply telling people that their opinions are based on morality will make them stronger and more resistant to counterarguments, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that people were more likely to act on an opinion—what psychologists call an attitude—if it was labeled as moral and were more resistant to attempts to change their mind on that subject.

The results show why appeals to morality by politicians and advocacy groups can be so effective, said Andrew Luttrell, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in psychology at The Ohio State University.
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Asleep Somewhere New, One Brain Hemisphere Keeps Watch

PROVIDENCE, RI; April 21, 2016—People who go to bed wary of potential danger sometimes pledge to sleep "with one eye open." A new Brown University study finds that isn't too far off. On the first night in a new place, the research suggests, one brain hemisphere remains more awake than the other during deep sleep, apparently in a state of readiness for trouble.

The study in Current Biology explains what underlies the "first-night effect," a phenomenon that poses an inconvenience to business travelers and sleep researchers alike.
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How Lack of Sleep Tampers with Your Emotions

December 8, 2015—Cranky or grumpy after a long night? Your brain's ability to regulate emotions is probably compromised by fatigue. This is bad news for 30 percent of American adults who get less than six hours of sleep per night, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A new Tel Aviv University study has identified the neurological mechanism responsible for disturbed emotion regulation and increased anxiety due to only one night's lack of sleep. The research reveals the changes sleep deprivation can impose on our ability to regulate emotions and allocate brain resources for cognitive processing.
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Why Alfred Hitchcock Grabs Your Attention

July 27, 2015—The movies of Alfred Hitchcock have made palms sweat and pulses race for more than 65 years. Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have now learned how the Master of Suspense affects audiences' brains. Their study measured brain activity while people watched clips from Hitchcock and other suspenseful films. During high suspense moments, the brain narrows what people see and focuses their attention on the story. During less suspenseful moments of the film clips, viewers devote more attention to their surroundings.

"Many people have a feeling that we get lost in the story while watching a good movie and that the theater disappears around us," said Matt Bezdek, the Georgia Tech postdoctoral psychology researcher who led the study. "Now we have brain evidence to support the idea that people are figuratively transported into the narrative. "
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How We Make Emotional Decisions

Cambridge, MA; May 28, 2015—Some decisions arouse far more anxiety than others. Among the most anxiety-provoking are those that involve options with both positive and negative elements, such choosing to take a higher-paying job in a city far from family and friends, versus choosing to stay put with less pay.
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New Super-Fast MRI Technique Views Images at 100 Frames per Second

Demonstrated with Song 'If I Only Had a Brain'

April 21, 2015—In order to sing or speak, around one hundred different muscles in our chest, neck, jaw, tongue, and lips must work together to produce sound. Beckman researchers investigate how all these mechanisms effortlessly work together—and how they change over time.
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Predicting Consumer Preferences? Do NOT Walk a Mile in Their Shoes

February 25, 2015—Salespeople have long believed that by imagining themselves as the customer, they can steer clear of their own personal preferences and make decisions that will appeal to consumers in general. According to a new study in the Journal of Marketing Research, the reality is exactly the opposite.
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The Brain's Social Network: Nerve Cells Interact like Friends on Facebook

February 4, 2015—Neurons in the brain are wired like a social network, report researchers from Biozentrum, University of Basel. Each nerve cell has links with many others, but the strongest bonds form between the few cells most similar to each other. The results are published in the journal Nature.
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Why 'I'm so Happy I Could Cry' Makes Sense

New Haven, CT; November 11, 2014—The phrase "tears of joy" never made much sense to Yale psychologist Oriana Aragon. But after conducting a series of studies of such seemingly incongruous expressions, she now understands better why people cry when they are happy.
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New Knowledge about the Human Brain's Plasticity

November 6, 2014—The brain's plasticity and its adaptability to new situations do not function the way researchers previously thought, according to a new study published in the journal Cell. Earlier theories are based on laboratory animals, but now researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have studied the human brain. The results show that a type of support cell, the oligodendrocyte, which plays an important role in the cell-cell communication in the nervous system, is more sophisticated in humans than in rats and mice—a fact that may contribute to the superior plasticity of the human brain.
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Daydreaming Can Help Boost Mental Performance

October 23, 2014—New research led by Cornell University neuroscientist Nathan Spreng shows for the first time that engaging brain areas linked to so-called “off-task” mental activities (such as mind-wandering and reminiscing) can actually boost performance on some challenging mental tasks. The results advance our understanding of how externally and internally focused neural networks interact to facilitate complex thought, the authors say.
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Reacting to Personal Setbacks: Do You Bounce Back or Give Up?


Rutgers researchers find the ability to persist may depend on how the news is delivered

September 4, 2014—Sometimes when people get upsetting news—such as a failing exam grade or a negative job review—they decide instantly to do better the next time. In other situations that are equally disappointing, the same people may feel inclined to just give up.
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Our Brains Judge a Face's Trustworthiness—Even When We Can't See It

August 5, 2014—Our brains are able to judge the trustworthiness of a face even when we cannot consciously see it, a team of scientists has found. Their findings, which appear in the Journal of Neuroscience, shed new light on how we form snap judgments of others.
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Teaching the Brain to Reduce Pain

July 10, 2014—People can be conditioned to feel less pain when they hear a neutral sound, new research from the University of Luxembourg has found. This lends weight to the idea that we can learn to use mind-over-matter to beat pain.  The scientific article was published recently in the online journal PLOS One.
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Study Cracks How the Brain Processes Emotions

July 9, 2014—Although feelings are personal and subjective, the human brain turns them into a standard code that objectively represents emotions across different senses, situations and even people, reports a new study by Cornell University neuroscientist Adam Anderson.
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Does Practice Make Perfect? Or Are Some People More Creative than Others? If so, Why?


Study finds brain integration correlates with greater creativity in product-development engineers

June 4, 2014—Creativity may depend on greater brain integration, according to a new study published in Creativity Research Journal. Scientists refer to brain integration as mind-brain development. People with high mind-brain development are alert, interested in learning new things and disposed to see the whole picture. They think in wide circles and are emotionally stable and unselfish.
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No Such Thing as a 'Universal' Intelligence Test


Cultural Differences Determine Results Country by Country

May 13, 2014—Researchers at the University of Granada have shown that a universal test of intelligence quotient (IQ) does not exist. Results in this type of test are determined by cultural differences.
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Scientists Discover Brain's Anti-Distraction System

April 17, 2014—Two Simon Fraser University psychologists have made a brain-related discovery that could revolutionize doctors’ perception and treatment of attention-deficit disorders.
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New Evidence Confirms IQ Is Not Static: Change is Linked to Brain Cortex Thickness


Montreal scientists play key role in long-term international study

March 4, 2014—Rate of change in the thickness of the brain’s cortex is an important factor associated with a person’s change in IQ, according to a collaborative study by scientists in five countries including researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute and HospitalMcGill University and the McGill University Health Centre. The study has potentially wide-ranging implications for the pedagogical world and for judicial cases in which the defendant’s IQ score could play a role in determining the severity of the sentence.
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'Beautiful but Sad' Music Can Help People Feel Better

February 19, 2014—New research from psychologists at the universities of Kent and Limerickhas found that music that is felt to be 'beautiful but sad' can help people feel better when they're feeling blue.
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Study Reveals Workings of Working Memory

PROVIDENCE, RI; February 19, 2014—Keep this in mind: Scientists say they've learned how your brain plucks information out of working memory when you decide to act.
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Mindfulness Meditation May Improve Decision Making

February 12, 2014—One 15-minute focused-breathing meditation may help people make smarter choices, according to new research from researchers at INSEAD and The Wharton School. The findings are published in the February issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
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“False" Memories: the Hidden Side of Our Good Memory

February 5, 2014—Justice blindly trusts human memory. Every year throughout the world hundreds of thousands of court cases are heard based solely on the testimony of somebody who swears that they are reproducing exactly an event that they witnessed in a more or less not too distant past. Nevertheless, various recent studies in cognitive neuroscience indicate both the strengths and weaknesses in this ability of recall of the human brain.
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For Athletes, There's No Place like Home


But it's not all good news . . .

February 4, 2014—The pomp. The pageantry. The exciting wins and devastating losses. Unbelievable feats of athleticism and sheer determination. That's right—it's time for the winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Everyone has their picks for who will take gold medals and we're likely to see some unexpected upsets. But there are certain athletes that may have a leg up on everyone else: the Russians. Unless, of course, they succumb to some of the disadvantages of being on home turf.
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Your Brain Is Fine-Tuning Its Wiring throughout Your Life


Researchers evaluate white matter across the life span

Philadelphia, PA, February 3, 2014—The white matter microstructure, the communication pathways of the brain, continues to develop/mature as one ages. Studies link age-related differences in white matter microstructure to specific cognitive abilities in childhood and adulthood.
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Altruistic Acts More Common in States With High Well-Being

January 29, 2014—People are much more likely to decide to donate a kidney to a stranger—an extraordinarily altruistic act—in areas of the United States where levels of well-being are high, according to a new study.
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Psychologists Document the Age Our Earliest Memories Fade

January 24, 2014—Although infants use their memories to learn new information, few adults can remember events in their lives that happened prior to the age of three. Psychologists at Emory University have now documented that age seven is when these earliest memories tend to fade into oblivion, a phenomenon known as “childhood amnesia.”
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Fast Eye Movements: A Possible Indicator Of More Impulsive Decision-Making

January 21, 2014—Using a simple study of eye movements, Johns Hopkins scientists report evidence that people who are less patient tend to move their eyes with greater speed. The findings, the researchers say, suggest that the weight people give to the passage of time may be a trait consistently used throughout their brains, affecting the speed with which they make movements, as well as the way they make certain decisions.
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Older Brains Slow Due to Greater Experience, Rather than Cognitive Decline

January 21, 2014—What happens to our cognitive abilities as we age? Traditionally it is thought that age leads to a steady deterioration of brain function, but new research in Topics in Cognitive Science argues that older brains may take longer to process ever increasing amounts of knowledge, and this has often been misidentified as declining capacity.
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Brain Structure Shows Who Is Most Sensitive to Pain

WINSTON-SALEM, NC; January 14, 2014—Everybody feels pain differently, and brain structure may hold the clue to these differences. In a study published in the current online issue of the journal Pain, scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have shown that the brain's structure is related to how intensely people perceive pain.
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It's All Coming Back to Me Now: Researchers Find Caffeine Enhances Memory

January 12, 2014—For some, it's the tradition of steeping tea leaves to brew the perfect cup of tea. For others, it's the morning shuffle to a coffee maker for a hot jolt of java. Then there are those who like their wake up with the kind of snap and a fizz usually found in a carbonated beverage.
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Some Brain Regions Retain Enhanced Ability to Make New Connections

January 7, 2014—In adults, some brain regions retain a "childlike" ability to establish new connections, potentially contributing to our ability to learn new skills and form new memories as we age, according to new research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle.
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Epigenetics Enigma Resolved


First structure of enzyme that removes methylation

December 25, 2013—Scientists have obtained the first detailed molecular structure of a member of the Tet family of enzymes. The finding is important for the field of epigenetics because Tet enzymes chemically modify DNA, changing signposts that tell the cell's machinery "this gene is shut off" into other signs that say "ready for a change."
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Do Patients in a Vegetative State Recognize Loved Ones?


TAU researchers find unresponsive patients' brains may recognize photographs of their family and friends

December 16, 2013—Patients in a vegetative state are awake, breathe on their own, and seem to go in and out of sleep. But they do not respond to what is happening around them and exhibit no signs of conscious awareness. With communication impossible, friends and family are left wondering if the patients even know they are there. Now, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), Dr. Haggai Sharon and Dr. Yotam Pasternak of Tel Aviv University's Functional Brain Center and Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center have shown that the brains of patients in a vegetative state emotionally react to photographs of people they know personally as though they recognize them.
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Money May Corrupt, but Thinking about Time Can Strengthen Morality

December 10, 2013—Priming people to think about money makes them more likely to cheat, but priming them to think about time seems to strengthen their moral compass, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science (APS).
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No Pictures, Please: Taking Photos May Impede Memory of Museum Tour

December 9, 2013—Visit a museum these days and you'll see people using their smartphones and cameras to take pictures of works of art, archeological finds, historical artifacts, and any other object that strikes their fancy. While taking a picture might seem like a good way to preserve the moment, new research suggests that museum-goers may want to put their cameras down.
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Study Reveals Gene Expression Changes with Meditation

Dec. 6, 2013—With evidence growing that meditation can have beneficial health effects, scientists have sought to understand how these practices physically affect the body.
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