It is one of the crowning findings of behavioural genetics: the older we get, the more our specific genetic differences are associated with the degree to which we differ on measured phenotypic traits; like weight, disease prevalence and cognitive diversity. This is interesting, because genetic variance of a population doesn’t change over time (each person … Continue reading Our unique genes amplify themselves through environment
Neil Gaiman, a best-selling fiction author, once was posed with the question, which is simple enough in essence, of where he got his magnificent ideas from. This question, which is recurrently asked to writers, prompted Mr Gaiman to write a blog on the subject. In the blog post he answered the question with the sincerest … Continue reading Where do ideas come from?
What happens to the congenitally blind’s visual cortex? this region does not simply stay dormant and gather cobwebs; rather, it appears this area puts up the scaffolding and undergoes a massive reconstruction, making office space for language use. Cognitive and neuroscientific research has shown the brilliant flexibility of the traditional language and visual networks to … Continue reading A change in the visual cortex’s career
By Thomas Cornish Dropping everything and just noticing is an idea that has been spreading as a meme, predominantly in Asia, since the 5th Century BCE. This very simple idea comes under the guise of meditation, mindfulness and vipassana (meaning insight). It’s a liberating idea. Imagine neither having to take every thought as the absolute … Continue reading Dropping everything and just noticing: notes on mindfulness
In contention to the idea that brain death is lethal, researchers have successfully revived the disembodied brains of pigs - four hours after their initial termination. Although it was not clear how wide spread the revival was within the brains’ numerous regions, or whether consciousness is also capable to being reinstated, the study does raise … Continue reading Pigs for Brains
How is it that we get overwhelmed when watching someone cry, or feel a coating of inspiration when we see a face filled with hope? And, are we the only animal to exert an empathic response to those emotional cues? A study published last week by Carrillo and colleagues uncovers the potential mechanism that allows … Continue reading Looking at Pain in the Mirror: pain mirror neurons found in rats.
A study of brains aged between 43 and 87 suggests our brain cells remain alive-and-generating throughout our lives. The tentative finding could mean that age-worn brains could be more resilient to damage than we originally believed. Although the renewal and repair of tissues and organs throughout our body, even during old age, is relatively common … Continue reading Old brain, new cells
In recent decades, economists studying life satisfaction have noticed a pattern among their data, a pattern that is homogenous among different countries and cultures. Most people’s perceived happiness appears to take a nose dive in adulthood, reaching a low at forty or fifty years-old, before heading back up an incline. The relationship between life-satisfaction and … Continue reading Unhappy
You board a train and immediately, with the glint of urgency in your eyes, look for a seat. You are fighting to get into Central London during the morning rush-hour, so getting a seat would elevate your social status from peasant-to-privileged. Your vigilance has paid dividends; there’s an empty seat by the window. In a … Continue reading This train is moving. . . probably
Each of our neurons compute inordinate amounts of information in compartmentalised sections, according to one of the first recordings of electrical activity in human brain cells. Our understanding of neurons (brain cells) is almost exclusively from investigation into our small mammalian friends - the rodent. A study Published in the journal Cell, however, has revealed … Continue reading Democratic Dendrites