Why do we hate seeing photos of ourselves?

There you are, clicking through your friend's Facebook album, when suddenly you happen upon a picture of yourself — or rather, a slightly less attractive version of yourself. The "real" you appears to have been abducted, replaced with some second-rate knock off. What gives? you ask yourself. Is that really what I look… » 10/22/13 10:35am 10/22/13 10:35am

Think you can walk in a straight line, blindfolded? Guess again.

Here's a fun experiment to try next time you find yourself in an open field. Close your eyes (or wear a blindfold) and set off walking, taking care to walk in as straight a line as possible. Have a buddy monitor your route (and warn you of obstacles). Sounds simple enough, right? Turns out it's harder than you think. » 9/25/13 10:40am 9/25/13 10:40am

The human nose can sense 10 basic smells

We’ve got categories to describe our perceptions of taste, colors, and sounds. But things aren’t as clear-cut when it comes to our sense of smell. Looking to overcome this surprising limitation, a team of researchers have proposed a list of 10 basic smells. » 9/20/13 8:10am 9/20/13 8:10am

Small animals perceive the world in slow-motion

A new study suggests that small animals like birds and flies can observe movement on a finer timescale than larger creatures. Compared to us, many of these animals are able to perceive the world through a Matrix-like "bullet-time,” allowing them to escape larger predators. » 9/16/13 1:00pm 9/16/13 1:00pm

A computer that can read letters directly from your brain

By using brain scan data and a set of computer algorithms, scientists from the Netherlands were able to determine which letters a person was looking at. The breakthrough suggests it'll soon be possible to reconstruct human thoughts at an unprecedented level of detail, including what we see, remember — and even dream. » 8/22/13 10:36am 8/22/13 10:36am

8 Things We Simply Don't Understand About the Human Brain

Despite all the recent advances in the cognitive and neurosciences, there’s still much about the human brain that we do not know. Here are 8 of the most baffling problems currently facing science. » 7/29/13 10:05am 7/29/13 10:05am

Can animals see optical illusions? Kitty says YES.

Youtuber rasmusab has posted a video that's as adorable as it is thought provoking. In it, a small orange kitten with white feet appears transfixed by an 8.5 x 11 printout of the famous "rotating snakes" illusion (just one variation on the "peripheral drift illusion" — see an example for yourself below). The kitten paws… » 3/07/13 6:40am 3/07/13 6:40am

Why a rat's whiskers are a lot like human hands

Rats, like humans, can deduce an impressive amount of information about their physical surroundings with their sense of touch. Humans do this most effectively with their hands and fingertips, while a rat experiences a significant portion of its tactile sensation via its whiskers. What's intriguing about this parallel… » 8/17/12 9:20am 8/17/12 9:20am