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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




Mood over Matter: The Good News in Bad News

November 25, 2013—TAU researchers say repeatedly exposing yourself to a negative event may prevent it from affecting you.
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Scientists Find Brain Region That Helps You Make up Your Mind

November 24, 2013—One of the smallest parts of the brain is getting a second look after new research suggests it plays a crucial role in decision making.
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Higher Emotional Intelligence Leads to Better Decision-Making

Toronto; November 19, 2013—The anxiety people feel making investment decisions may have more to do with the traffic they dealt with earlier than the potential consequences they face with the investment, but not if the decision-maker has high emotional intelligence a recent study published in Psychological Science suggests.   
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Your Brain ‘Sees’ Things Even When You Don’t

November 14, 2013—The brain processes visual input to the level of understanding its meaning even if we never consciously perceive that input, according to new research published in Psychological Sciencea journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
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Mindful Individuals Less Affected by Immediate Rewards

TORONTO, ON; November 1, 2013—A new study from the University of Toronto Scarborough shows that people who are aware of their own thoughts and emotions are less affected by positive feedback from others.
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Keeping Emotions in Check May Not Always Benefit Psychological Health


Researchers say cognitive reappraisal may reduce motivation to change

APS; October 28, 2013—Being able to regulate your emotions is important for well-being, but new research suggests that a common emotion regulation strategy called “cognitive reappraisal” may actually be harmful when it comes to stressors that are under our control. The study is published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
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Sticks and Stones: Brain Releases Natural Painkillers During Social Rejection


Study finding that the opioid system can act to ease social pain, not just physical pain, may aid understanding of depression and social anxiety

ANN ARBOR, MI; October 10, 2013—"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me," goes the playground rhyme that's supposed to help children endure taunts from classmates. But a new study suggests that there's more going on inside our brains when someone snubs us—and that the brain may have its own way of easing social pain.
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Correcting Emotional Misunderstandings


We may make mistakes interpreting the emotions of others, but our brain can corrects us

October 10, 2013—When we are sad, the world seemingly cries with us. On the contrary, when we are happy everything shines and all around people's faces seem to rejoice with us. These mechanisms for projecting one's emotions onto others are well known to scientists, who believe they are at the core of the ability to interpret and relate to others. In some circumstances, however, this may lead to gross mistakes (called egocentricity bias in the emotional domain, or EEB). To avoid them, cerebral mechanisms are activated about which still little is known. Researchers recently identified an area in the brain involved in this process.
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I’m Okay, You’re Not Okay


The right supramarginal gyrus plays an important role in empathy

October 9, 2013—Egoism and narcissism appear to be on the rise in our society, while empathy is on the decline. And yet, the ability to put ourselves in other people’s shoes is extremely important for our coexistence. A research team headed by Tania Singer from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences has discovered that our own feelings can distort our capacity for empathy. This emotionally driven egocentricity is recognised and corrected by the brain. When, however, the right supramarginal gyrus doesn’t function properly or when we have to make particularly quick decisions, our empathy is severely limited.
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Well-Connected Hemispheres of Einstein's Brain May Have Sparked His Brilliance

TALLAHASSEE, FL; October 4, 2013—The left and right hemispheres of Albert Einstein's brain were unusually well connected to each other and may have contributed to his brilliance, according to a new study conducted in part by Florida State University evolutionary anthropologist Dean Falk.
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Cocaine Exposure in the Womb: The Brain Structure is Intact but Development is Off Track

Philadelphia, PA; September 25, 2013—Prenatal cocaine exposure affects both behavior and brain. Animal studies have shown that exposure to cocaine during in utero development causes numerous disruptions in normal brain development and negatively affects behavior from birth and into adulthood.
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Calming Fear During Sleep


First evidence that fear memories can be reduced during sleep

CHICAGO; September 22, 2013—A fear memory was reduced in people by exposing them to the memory over and over again while they slept. It's the first time that emotional memory has been manipulated in humans during sleep, report Northwestern Medicine® scientists.

The finding potentially offers a new way to enhance the typical daytime treatment of phobias through exposure therapy by adding a nighttime component. Exposure therapy is a common treatment for phobia and involves a gradual exposure to the feared object or situation until the fear is extinguished.
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Study Suggests Possibility of Selectively Erasing Unwanted Memories

JUPITER, FL, September 10, 2013—The human brain is exquisitely adept at linking seemingly random details into a cohesive memory that can trigger myriad associations—some good, some not so good. For recovering addicts and individuals suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), unwanted memories can be devastating. Former meth addicts, for instance, report intense drug cravings triggered by associations with cigarettes, money, even gum (used to relieve dry mouth), pushing them back into the addiction they so desperately want to leave.

Now, for the first time, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have been able to erase dangerous drug-associated memories in mice and rats without affecting other more benign memories.

The surprising discovery, published this week online ahead of print by the journal Biological Psychiatry, points to a clear and workable method to disrupt unwanted memories while leaving the rest intact.
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Ability to Delay Gratification May Be Linked to Social Trust

Boulder, CO; September 4, 2013—A person's ability to delay gratification—forgoing a smaller reward now for a larger reward in the future—may depend on how trustworthy the person perceives the reward-giver to be, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder.

A body of research that stretches back more than a half-century has shown that the ability to delay gratification is linked to a number of better life outcomes. On average, people who were able to delay gratification as children go on to have higher SAT scores, for example. They also tend to be more socially conscious as adolescents, less obese as adults, and less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol.

But despite the long history of studying delayed gratification, little research has focused on the role of social trust in a person's ability to wait for a larger payoff in the future.
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Long-Term Memory in the Cortex


Game-changing research suggests memory is not localized in the hippocampus after all

August 27, 2013—'Where' and 'how' memories are encoded in a nervous system is one of the most challenging questions in biological research. The formation and recall of associative memories is essential for an independent life. The hippocampus has long been considered a centre in the brain for the long-term storage of spatial associations. Now, Mazahir T. Hasan at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research and José Maria Delgado-Garcìa at the University Pablo de Olavide of Seville, Spain, were able to provide the first experimental evidence that a specific form of memory associations is encoded in the cerebral cortex and is not localized in the hippocampus as described in most Neuroscience textbooks.

The new study is a game changer since it strongly suggests that the motor cortical circuits itself, and not the hippocampus, is used as memory storage.
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Why do Haters Have to Hate? Newly Identified Personality Trait Holds Clues

PHILADELPHIA; August 26, 2013—New research has uncovered the reason why some people seem to dislike everything while others seem to like everything. Apparently, it’s all part of our individual personalitya dimension that some researchers have coined “dispositional attitude.”
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How the Brain Keeps Eyes on the Prize


Researchers study how the brain remains focused on long-term goals

Cambridge; August 4, 2013—As anyone who has traveled with young children knows, maintaining focus on distant goals can be a challenge. A new study from the Massacusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) suggests how the brain achieves this task, and indicates that the neurotransmitter dopamine may signal the value of long-term rewards. The findings may also explain why patients with Parkinson's disease—in which dopamine signaling is impaired—often have difficulty in sustaining motivation to finish tasks.
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Intent to Harm: Willful Acts Seem More Damaging

July 29, 2013—How harmful we perceive an act to be depends on whether we see the act as intentional, reveals new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
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