Author Archives: NeuroscienceLab

Laughter Acts as a Stress Buffer, and Even Smiling Helps

People who laugh frequently in their everyday lives may be better equipped to deal with stressful events – although this does not seem to apply to the intensity of laughter. These are the findings reported by a research team from the University of Basel in the journal PLOS ONE. Source: “Does laughing have a stress-buffering effect in daily life? An intensive longitudinal study” by Thea Zander-Schellenberg, Isabella Mutschler Collins, Marcel Miché, Camille Guttmann, Roselind Lieb, Karina Wahl. PLOS ONE.

Study Helps to Settle Debate on Roles of REM and Non-REM Sleep in Visual Learning

During non-REM sleep, visual areas of the brain exhibit an excitation/inhibition balance indicative of increased plasticity. REM sleep appears to be essential for people to reap the benefits of the increased plasticity that occurs during NREM sleep. Source: “20 Hz Steady-State Response in Somatosensory Cortex During Induction of Tactile Perceptual Learning Through LTP-Like Sensory Stimulation”. by Hubert Dinse et al. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

Sex differences in human brain anatomy

A scientific analysis of more than 2,000 brain scans found evidence for highly reproducible sex differences in the volume of certain regions in the human brain. Source: National Institutes of Health

Scientists Observe Learning Processes Online in the Brain

Repeatedly administered tactile simulation over a sustained period of time alters neural processing of the hand area in the brain. The observable changes over time illustrate neuroplasticity and shed new light on the process of learning. Source: Neuroscience News

How Playing the Drums Changes the Brain

People who play drums regularly for years differ from unmusical people in their brain structure and function. The results of a study by researchers from Bochum suggest that they have fewer, but thicker fibers in the main connecting tract between the two halves of the brain. In addition, their motor brain areas are organized more efficiently. Source: TechnologyWorks

The impact of music on the brain

A new study has investigated differences between the brains of Japanese classical musicians, Western classical musicians and nonmusicians. Source: TechnologyNetworks

Unconscious determinants of free decisions in the human brain

There has been a long controversy as to whether subjectively ‘free’ decisions are determined by brain activity ahead of time. We found that the outcome of a decision can be encoded in brain activity of prefrontal and parietal cortex up to 10 s before it enters awareness. This delay presumably reflects the operation of a network of high-level control areas that begin to prepare an upcoming decision long before it enters awareness. Source: Soon, C., Brass, M., Heinze, H. et al. Unconscious […]

Many choices seems promising until you actually have to choose

People faced with more options than they can effectively consider want to make a good decision, but feel they’re unable to do so, according to the results of a novel study from the University at Buffalo that used cardiovascular measures and fictional dating profiles to reach its conclusions. Source: Neuroscience News

The relationship between looking and listening and human emotions

A new study reveals the relationship between attentional state and emotions from pupillary reactions. Visual perception elicits emotions in all attentional states, while auditory perception elicits emotions only when attention is paid to sounds. Source: PlosOne  

‘Philosophy lab test’ finds objective vision impossible

Johns Hopkins University researchers who study the mind and brain used methods from cognitive science to test a long-standing philosophical question: Can people see the world objectively? Their answer is a flat no. Source: Jorge Morales el al., “Sustained representation of perspectival shape,” PNAS (2020).