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Musical Training Can Accelerate Brain Development and Help With Literacy

The notion that musical training can have positive effects on cognitive functions other than music has long been a source of interest. Research first emerged at the beginning of the 20th century. Standardised assessments of IQ and musical ability suggested the two were correlated – and it was thought that… » 7/21/15 10:40am 7/21/15 10:40am

How a Human Scream Uniquely Activates the Fear Response in Your Brain

We know human screams are jarring. They’re loud, occasionally shrill, and tend to make us feel stressed, or even fearful. What’s unclear is why they elicit anxiety. But a new study suggests this response may have something to do with the acoustic quality of human screams, and how they trigger the brain’s fear response. » 7/17/15 1:00pm 7/17/15 1:00pm

How the Science of Smell is Changing Modern Warfare

The sensory chaos of battle has always posed a challenge to armies hoping to prepare for—and recover from—war. And while it’s clear to most people how sight and sound factor into a soldier’s experience and memory of battle, the smells of combat were, for most of history, largely ignored. But by the eve of the 20th… » 7/17/15 11:21am 7/17/15 11:21am

You're Using Neural Networks Every Day Online—Here's How They Work

If you use Google’s new Photos app, Microsoft’s Cortana, or Skype’s new translation function, you’re using a form of AI on a daily basis. AI was first dreamed up in the 1950s, but has only recently become a practical reality — all thanks to software systems called neural networks. This is how they work. » 7/13/15 2:03pm 7/13/15 2:03pm

What You Probably Don't Know About the Most Famous Case in Neuroscience

In 1845, a meter-long iron rod pierced the skull of Vermont railway worker Phineas Gage. The resulting changes to his personality forever changed our perception of the human brain. But what happened next to Gage is rarely covered in textbooks — a problematic oversight, say psychologists.
» 6/30/15 10:40am 6/30/15 10:40am

Here's How That New Sex Pill for Women Actually Works

Sometime in the next two months, the FDA will vote on whether to approve flibanserin, a new drug to treat women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder, or lack of desire for sex. The drug has been touted as “female Viagra,” in the sense that it helps bring sex back into these women’s lives. But flibanserin doesn’t… » 6/29/15 6:39pm 6/29/15 6:39pm

Some People Can't Conjure Mental Images. Are You One of Them?

Mentally count the windows in your home. Did you close your eyes? Visualize your house’s layout in your head? I did, when I tried this task. But some people, researchers have discovered, seem to be incapable of producing and holding such images in their mind’s eye. (They’re also perfectly capable of answering the… » 6/25/15 11:00am 6/25/15 11:00am

Scientists Discover A New Link Between The Brain And The Immune System

Last week, researchers announced they had discovered a physical connection between the immune system and the brain’s blood supply. The finding gives researchers a novel approach to understanding diseases ranging from autism to multiple sclerosis, and strengthens the bridge between neuroscience and immunology. » 6/12/15 1:10pm 6/12/15 1:10pm

In Mice, A Hormonal Switch Turns Off The Smell of Sex

Imagine that you could only smell food when you were hungry. Walk into a bakery after a full meal, and the tempting smells of chocolate, caramelized sugar, and baking dough would be absent. Your nose would only turn those smells back on after your stomach emptied. It’d be great for your diet. Now imagine that for sex. » 6/11/15 5:05pm 6/11/15 5:05pm

New Injectable Brain Implants Take Us One Step Closer To A Cyborg Future

Harvard scientists have developed an electrical scaffold that can be injected directly into the brain with a syringe. By using the technique to “cyborg”-ize the brains of mice, the team was able to investigate and manipulate the animals’ individual neurons—a technological feat the researchers say holds tremendous… » 6/09/15 10:40am 6/09/15 10:40am