Weekly Neuroscience Update

consciousness-time-slices

Consciousness seems to work as continuous stream: one image or sound or smell or touch smoothly follows the other, providing us with a continuous image of the world around us. Image adapted from the EPFL press release.

 

Scientists propose a new way of understanding of how the brain processes unconscious information into our consciousness. According to the model, consciousness arises only in time intervals of up to 400 milliseconds, with gaps of unconsciousness in between.

A new study finds bursts of neural activity as the brain holds information in mind, overturns a long-held model.

Why do we sometimes decide to take risks and other times choose to play it safe? In a new study, researchers explored the neural mechanisms of one possible explanation: a contagion effect.

Using imagery is an effective way to improve memory and decrease certain types of false memories.

Scientists have developed an imaging process that for the first time, they say, can identify and track the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in people’s brains, even when there are no symptoms — a development that could lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment.

People prone to seeking stimulation and acting impulsively may have differences in the structure of their brains according to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience. What’s more, those differences may predispose them to substance abuse.

In a recent study, researchers found evidence of a compromised dopamine system in heavy users of marijuana. Lower dopamine release was found in the striatum – a region of the brain that is involved in working memory, impulsive behavior, and attention. Previous studies have shown that addiction to other drugs of abuse, such as cocaine and heroin, have similar effects on dopamine release, but such evidence for cannabis was missing until now.

Finally this week an innovative collaboration between neuroscientists and developmental psychologists that investigated how infants’ brains process other people’s action provides the first evidence that directly links neural responses from the motor system to overt social behaviour in infants.

 

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