Tag Archives | Brain

A Sense Of Being Watched Is Hardwired Into Our Brains, Say Researchers

brain sense of being watchedIf when in doubt, we tend to feel that eyes must be upon us, could this help explain much of our behavior? From belief in a god staring down at us, to paranoid fantasies, to reluctance to break social norms even when no one is actually paying attention? Via the Telegraph:

The feeling that others are watching us is an evolutionary mechanism designed to keep us alert, experts said.

Prof. Colin Clifford, a University of Sydney psychologist who led the research, explained: “A direct gaze can signal dominance or a threat, and if you perceive something as a threat you would not want to miss it. Simply assuming another person is looking at you may be the safest strategy.”

The researchers asked volunteers to determine in which direction a series of faces were looking. Even without being able to clearly see where the eyes were focused, the participants felt as if they were being watched.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Humans Successfully Control Rats’ Movements Telepathically In Experiment

What orders will you give to your rat army? Via New Scientist:

Telepathic control of another person’s body is a small step closer – human volunteers were able to trigger movement in a rat’s tail using their minds.

Recently, researchers linked the brains of two rats so that they worked together. Such techniques are unlikely to be applied to humans any time soon because they require invasive surgery to implant electrodes into the brain. But now Seung-Schik Yoo of Harvard Medical School and colleagues have created a system that connects a human to a rat via a computer, without the need for the human or the rat to have brain implants.

The human volunteers wore electrode caps that monitored their brain activity using electroencephalography (EEG). Meanwhile, an anaesthetised rat was hooked up to a device that made the creature’s neurons fire whenever it delivered an ultrasonic pulse to the rat’s motor cortex.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Experiment Gives Lab Rats The Ability To Communicate Telepathically

There’s something a bit dark about this impressive experiment, in which one rat telepathically gives orders to the other. New Scientist reports:

The world’s first brain-to-brain connection has given rats the power to communicate by thought alone. “Many people thought it could never happen,” says Miguel Nicolelis at Duke University. Nicolelis’s team has demonstrated a direct interface between two brains – with the rats sharing both motor and sensory information.

The feat was achieved by first training rats to press one of two levers when an LED above that lever was lit. A correct action opened a hatch containing water to drink. The researchers wired up the implants of an encoder and a decoder rat. The pair were given the lever-press task, but only the encoder rats saw the LEDs come on. Brain signals from the encoder rat were transmitted to the decoder rat. The team found that the decoders, despite having no visual cue, pressed the correct lever.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Study Says Cannabis May Help Reverse Dementia From Alzheimer’s

Toke up for the sake of your brain? The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

A team from Neuroscience Research Australia is in the early stages of research examining if one of the main active ingredients in cannabis, called cannabidiol, could reverse some of the symptoms of memory loss in animals.

Tim Karl, a senior research fellow with the group, said cannabidiol has been found to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and other effects that could be beneficial for the brain.

His study involved injecting cannabidiol into mice that had symptoms similiar to those seen in Alzheimer’s, as well as examining what would happen to brain cells treated with the drug. Dr Karl found that when the mice were given the cannabidiol they showed drastic improvement on parts of the tests that were related to recognising and remembering objects and other mice: “You could say it cured them.”

There had been case reports in medical literature of marijuana smokers who had developed Alzheimer’s disease, only to find their smoking seemed to relieve some of their symptoms.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

German Neurologist Claims ‘Dark Patch’ In The Brain Is Responsible For Evil

Perhaps reserve some skepticism, but the claim is that future serial killers and dictators could be pinpointed in childhood via brain scan of the front lower forehead area. The Daily Mail reports:

A German neurologist claims to have found the area of the brain where evil lurks in killers and rapists. One of Germany’s best-known brain specialists, Bremen scientist Dr. Gerhard Roth says the ‘evil patch’ lies in the brain’s central lobe and shows up as a dark mass on X-rays. He discovered it when investigating violent convicted offenders over the years for German government studies.

‘We showed these people short films and measured their brain waves,’ he said. ‘Whenever there were brutal scenes the subjects showed no emotions. In the areas of the brain where we create compassion and sorrow, nothing happened.’ The dark mass at the front of the brain, he says, appears in all scans of people with records for criminal violence.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Scientists Capture First Footage Ever Of A Thought Being Formed

Via Gizmodo, you can now truly see someone thinking:

A team of Japanese researchers has captured, for the first time ever, a movie which shows how thoughts form in the brain. OK, so it’s a thought forming in the brain of a zebrafish. But this is a fundamental leap forward in our understanding of how brains work.

The researchers used a new technique to record the footage: a super-sensitive fluorescent probe that detects neuron activity. We see neurons glowing when they’re active—and the cascade of light you see in this video is the neuronal response of a zebrafish responding to the presence of its prey.

Continue Reading

Remote Viewing Pioneer Ingo Swann Dies

After serving in the Korean War, working at United Nations, and establishing a career as an artist, Ingo Swann devoted himself to cultivating super-sensory powers and attempting to prove their legitimacy. Remote Viewing instructional Services writes:

Born in 1933, during the 1950s and 1960s, because of psychic potentials partly evident in childhood, Swann became actively interested in occult and parapsychological literature and in a variety of novel mind-development programs for the enhancement of ESP potentials.

Swann’s participation in parapsychology research began in 1969. During the next twenty years he worked only in controlled laboratory settings with scientific researchers. Because of his participation in hundreds of thousands of experimental trials, author Martin Ebon wrote of him as “parapsychology’s most tested guinea pig.”

In 1970-71 Swann experimented with Cleve Backster in attempting to influence plants by mental activity. In 1971-72 psychokinetic experiments involved successfully influencing temperature recorded in a controlled setting.

Swann was also the subject of experiments in out-of-body travel, or psychic perception at a distance.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Scientists Locate Region Of Brain That Causes Selfishness

The question is, could we create a utopia by all having our basolateral amygdalas surgically removed? Via Science News:

People with damage to a specific part of the brain entrusted unexpectedly large amounts of money to complete strangers. In an investment game played in the lab, three women with damage to a small part of the brain called the basolateral amygdala handed over nearly twice as much money as healthy people.

These women didn’t expect to make a bunch of money back, an international team of researchers reports online the week of January 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Nor did they think the person they invested with was particularly trustworthy. When asked why they would invest so generously, the volunteers couldn’t provide an answer.

The results suggest that normally, the basolateral amygdala enables selfishness — putting the squeeze on generosity.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Alcohol Damages Teens’ Brains, But Marijuana Does Not, Study Reveals

Be sure to talk to your kids about staying safe by hanging with the stoners, not the frat bros. Medical Daily reports:

Perhaps in response to the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington last month, more teens are lighting up than ever before. However, one study suggests that parents have less to fear from marijuana than from alcohol. The study found that while marijuana had no effect on the health of teenagers’ brain tissue, alcohol did.

The researchers, from the University of California, San Diego and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, performed the study on 92 16- to 20-year-olds. The researchers found that, after a year and a half, kids who had drank five or more alcoholic beverages twice a week had lost white brain matter. That means that they could have impaired memory, attention, and decision-making into adulthood. The teens that smoked marijuana on a regular basis had no such reduction.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Space Travel Can Cause Alzheimer’s, Study Warns

A hidden danger of attempting to establish a colony on another planet — many of the pioneering colonizers could be feeble-minded or demented upon arrival. Via Space Daily:

Long journeys into deep space, including a mission to Mars, could expose astronauts to levels of cosmic radiation harmful to the brain and accelerate Alzheimer’s disease, said US research Monday.

The NASA-funded study involved bombarding mice with radiation doses comparable to what voyagers would experience during a mission to Mars, and seeing how the animals managed to recall objects or locations.

Mice that were exposed to radiation were far more likely to fail those tasks — suggesting neurological impairment earlier than such symptoms typically appear. The brains of the mice also showed signs of vascular alterations and a greater than normal accumulation of beta amyloid, the protein “plaque” that is one of the hallmarks of the disease.

Read the rest

Continue Reading