A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Enjoy our special posts in the fields of Earth & Planetary Sciences (EPS Blog) and Social Sciences & Arts (SSA Blog)

A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Day or night — your brain is always listening

Credit: Getty Images

New research explores how the brain responds to music and speech during sleep

You're fast asleep. But your brain isn't taking the night off, according to new research funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation. Researchers studied activity in the human cerebral cortex in response to music and other sounds. They observed vigorous auditory responses in the sleeping brain, similar in many ways to responses in the wakeful state but differing in a key component. While the waking state is characterized by ongoing feedback signals in the brain as it attends to and interprets incoming sounds, researchers found that those signals are greatly reduced during sleep.

Continue reading
  18068 Hits

Genetic, and environmental factors contribute to how socioeconomic status impacts the brain

Credit: Gettyimages

Research reveals more about how environment, genetics and socioeconomic status influence brain function

A study in Science Advances has revealed correlations among socioeconomics, genetics, environmental factors, and brain structure. Socioeconomic status is typically defined by characteristics such as an individual's income, education, and occupation, and is related to the quality of life and physical and mental health.

The findings provide a greater understanding of how socioeconomic, environmental, and genetic factors interact to influence human brain development and structure. The endeavor was funded by a grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation.

An international team, including researchers at Penn State, analyzed a massive trove of data from the UK Biobank that contained the brain scans, genomic sequences, and socioeconomic information of nearly 24,000 participants.

Continue reading
  31732 Hits

How sleep builds relational memory

Credit: Gettyimages

Making connections requires brain circuits to be active and interact during sleep

Relational memory is the ability to remember arbitrary or indirect associations between objects, places, people or events -- such as names and faces.

Previous research has established that animal and human memory benefits from quality sleep. In a new U.S. National Science Foundation-supported study published in The Journal of Neuroscience, Maxim Bazhenov and Timothy Tadros of the University of California San Diego

School of Medicine developed a modeling approach that may explain the underlying mechanisms that strengthen or create new relational memories during sleep.

"This new computational research provides insights into the importance of sleep for the consolidation of memory," said NSF program director Jonathan Fritz.

Continue reading
  28842 Hits

3 Thought Experiments That No One Can Solve

Credit: Unsplash by Andreas Kind

Thought experiments that will challenge your convictions

What is intelligence? What about the nature of knowledge or reality? How does our consciousness work? These are all questions that have been tantalizing philosophers and thinkers ever since the beginning of questioning itself. The latter is more than understandable because how could we know anything at all, if we don't understand ourselves beforehand? Moreover, after millennia of civilization, it seems that we haven't resolved an iota of the above-mentioned problems. Yet, we human beings haven't stopped searching for answers. We had invented many theories, instruments, and even machines that tried to explain the inexplicable. The hypotheses are uncountable. We won't try to outline even a few of them since it will take ages. Nevertheless, below you can enjoy three thought experiments that will dive you into the heart of this everlasting philosophical darkness – a mind that is trying to explain what the mind is.

Continue reading
  28949 Hits

Social connections influence brain structures of rhesus macaques

Credit: Lauren JN Brent; A grooming chain of adult female rhesus macaques on an island off the coast of Puerto Rico
Number of grooming partners predicts the size of certain brain areas

What's the link between social life and brain structure? A team of researchers is one step closer to understanding that connection for rhesus macaques.

In work published in Science Advances, the scientists found that for these nonhuman primates, the number of social connections predicted the size of key groups of neurons and other tissue in parts of the brain responsible for empathy and social decision making.

The researchers determined that in macaques with more grooming partners, the mid-superior temporal sulcus and ventral-dysgranular insula were larger. They found no such link between brain structure and other variables like social status. The research was supported in part by the U.S. National Science Foundation.

Continue reading
  33455 Hits

3 Brain Systems That Control Your Behavior: Reptilian, Limbic, Neo Cortex

Credit: Gettyimages

The brain - mystery (un)solved

The human brain is arguably the most complicated thing in the known universe. After centuries of introspection, examinations, and experiments, we still don't know a lot about it. Of course, we've made all these terms, divided its structure into different areas, each one responsible for particular functions. But the truth is that the brain works as a holistic union and is not a composite of various parts but a single unit within the human body. However, it is a lot easier to understand it, if we use concepts and differentiate one part from another. Like the one put forth by Paul MacLean – the triune brain – that it is coming in three functional layers. The most bottom and ancient one – Reptilian Brain. Second – the Limbic System or Emotional Brain, "having to do with fear, arousal, anxieties, sexual longings, all those sorts of things – very mammalian". And third, The Cortex – responsible for thinking planning, moral judgments, etc.

Below you can enjoy an elucidating explanation of these three layers of the brain, their evolution, complex conversation, and connection with our behavior. Take a look at the video made by Robert Sapolsky, a professor of Biology and Neurology at Stanford University and a Research Associate with the Institute of Primate Research, National Museums of Kenya.

Continue reading
  39437 Hits

SSA Recent Posts

02 December 2022
Social Sciences & Arts (SSA)
Credit: Portrait of Austrian psychologist Sigmund Freud (1856 - 1939) as he sits behind his desk in his study, Vienna, Austria, 1930s. The office is filled with figurines and statuettes of various origins. (Photo by Authenticated News/Getty Images) V...
45 Hits
30 November 2022
Social Sciences & Arts (SSA)
Credit: American artist, musician and producer of Haitian and Puerto Rican origins Jean-Michel Basquiat, in front of one of his paintings, during an exhibition at the Yvon Lambert gallery. (Photo by julio donoso/Sygma via Getty Images) The art of Bas...
44 Hits
27 November 2022
Social Sciences & Arts (SSA)
Credit: Portrait Franz Kafka, around 1905; Getty Images Thoughts to reflect on 1. "A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity." 2. "All language is but a poor translation." 3. "By believing passionately in something that still does not exist...
64 Hits