Category Archives: Mind

A Password So Secret Only Your Subconscious Knows It

Some efforts to replace traditional letter-and-number passwords rely on gestures, wearable devices, or biometrics. An approach in the works from research-and-development company SRI International and Stanford and Northwestern takes a different tack: passwords that you know but don’t know you know. Patrick Lincoln, director of SRI’s computer science laboratory and a researcher on the project,… Read More »

How to Fly a Model Helicopter Using Only Your Thoughts

For decades, scientists have been developing brain-computer linkages they hope will enable people to manipulate objects hands free. Duke neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis reported a few years ago that a monkey fitted with implanted electrodes could use its brainpower to control the walking patterns of a robot . Less invasive, more commercial efforts include electroencephalalography (EEG)… Read More »

Illusion of the Week: The Knobby Sphere Illusion

This week’s illusion was discovered by Dartmouth College neuroscientist Peter Tse, author of “The Neural Basis of Free Will: Criterial Causation”, and presented as a Top 10 finalist at the recent Best Illusion of the Year Contest. The Knobby Sphere Illusion tricks your sense of touch. To experience it, you will need a regular pencil… Read More »

Blood Vessels in the Eye Linked With IQ, Cognitive Function

Research shows that younger people who score low on intelligence tests, such as IQ, tend to be at higher risk for poorer health and shorter lifespan, but factors like socioeconomic status and health behaviors don’t fully account for the relationship. Psychological scientist Idan Shalev of Duke University and colleagues wondered whether intelligence might serve as… Read More »

In Seeing the Brain, Losing the Mind

Understanding the brain is of course essential to developing treatments for devastating illnesses like schizophrenia or Parkinson’s. More abstractly but no less compelling, the functioning of the brain is intimately tied to our sense of self, our identity, our memories and aspirations. But the excitement to explore the brain has spawned a new fixation that… Read More »

Colo. Gov. Signs First Bills In History To Establish Legal, Regulated Pot Market For Adults

On Tuesday, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed several historic measures to implement marijuana legalization in the state, establishing Colorado as the world’s first legal, regulated and taxed marijuana market for adults. Hickenlooper, a vocal opponent of marijuana legalization who said that “Colorado is known for many great things, marijuana should not be one of them,”… Read More »

Brain overload explains missing childhood memories

Scientists – and parents – have long wondered why we don’t remember anything that happened before age 3. As all parents know, no matter how momentous an event is in a toddler’s life, the memory soon drifts away and within months there isn’t even a wisp of it left. Now a new study shows that… Read More »

Trust your memory? Maybe you shouldn’t

You probably feel pretty attached to your memories — they’re yours, after all. They define who you are and where you came from, your accomplishments and failures, your likes and dislikes. Your memories help you separate friends from enemies. They remind you not to eat too much ice cream or drink cheap tequila because you… Read More »

Brain can be trained in compassion, study shows

Until now, little was scientifically known about the human potential to cultivate compassion — the emotional state of caring for people who are suffering in a way that motivates altruistic behavior. A new study by researchers at the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center of the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that adults… Read More »

CogCubed: Games to Improve Your Mental Health

CogCubed, founded by Kurt Roots and his wife Dr. Monika Heller, is a Minneapolis-based game and data company engaged in creating games that produce data to improve health and education outcomes. Dr. Heller is a practicing Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. I spoke to Kurt Root who shared with me CogCubed’s plan to change the lives… Read More »

Why do innocent people falsely confess?

Japan has a conviction rate of more than 99%. But in recent months there has been a public outcry over a number of wrongful arrests where innocent people confessed to crimes. It started with a threat posted on the city of Yokohama’s website in late June: “I’ll attack a primary school and kill all the… Read More »

Mothers Day and Thoughts On Selfishness

Happy Mother’s Day! Everything that we are or hope to be, we owe to those who raised us. As part my Mother’s Day gift this year, I will spend several hours today talking with my mother to figure out why I have not met my highest potential. Why have I not used my time to… Read More »

Listening to Music Prompts Numerous Brain Changes

… When you listen to music, much more is happening in your body than simple auditory processing. Music triggers activity in the nucleus accumbens, a part of your brain that releases the feel-good chemical dopamine and is involved in forming expectations. At the same time, the amygdala, which is involved in processing emotion, and the… Read More »

Henry Molaison: the amnesiac we’ll never forget

Henry Gustav Molaison, previously known as H.M., was an American memory disorder patient whose hippocampi, parahippocampal gyrus, and amygdalae were surgically removed in an attempt to cure his epilepsy. He was widely studied from late 1957 until his death. His case played a very important role in the development of theories that explain the link… Read More »

Psychopaths’ Brains Aren’t Wired To Show Empathy, Study Finds

Psychopaths are unable to show empathy toward others because their brains aren’t wired to do so, according to a new study in JAMA Psychiatry. Researchers from the University of Chicago used brain imaging technology to find that psychopaths have less activation in certain parts of the brain and high activation in other parts of the… Read More »

Russian billionaire wants to create cyborgs

The man is named Dmitry Itskov, and no, this isn’t an April Fools’ joke. Itskov is totally serious about wanting to make humans immortal by merging them with machines, and he’s been pushing the project forward since 2011 when he founded the 2045 Initiative, ostensibly the deadline for “substance-independent” minds to receive artificial bodies —… Read More »

‘Seeing’ the flavor of foods

  The eyes sometimes have it, beating out the tongue, nose and brain in the emotional and biochemical balloting that determines the taste and allure of food, a scientist said here today. Speaking at the 245th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), he described how people sometimes “see” flavors in foods… Read More »

Anxious? Dread death? Tylenol may do the trick

… Lead author and Ph.D. candidate Daniel Randles and Professors Steve Heine and Nathan Santos of the University of British Columbia said the findings build on recent U.S. research that found acetaminophen – the generic form of Tylenol – could successfully reduce the non-physical pain of being ostracized from friends. Randles and his team sought… Read More »

Small delays the key to habit breaking

Our brains are hard-wired to appreciate immediate benefits more than even bigger rewards later on. Unfortunately, this can lead to problems like overspending, overeating or eating the wrong things, drug abuse, and more. Scientific American offers a few suggestions for “fixing this glitch,” including waiting just five minutes before indulging. If you just wait five… Read More »

Smelling rosemary can improve memory

Shakespeare was right in saying rosemary can improve your memory. Researchers have found for the first time that essential oil from the herb when sniffed in advance enables people to remember to do things. It could help patients take their medication on time, it is claimed, or even help the forgetful to postba birthday card.… Read More »

Mind Over Matter? Core Body Temperature Controlled by the Brain

A team of researchers led by Associate Professor Maria Kozhevnikov from the Department of Psychology at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences showed, for the first time, that it is possible for core body temperature to be controlled by the brain. The scientists found that core body temperature increases… Read More »

How lasers can switch off cocaine addiction

Researchers who shined a laser light in a certain region of the brain — stimulating the area associated with decision-making and impulse control — were able to zap what they call “cocaine seeking” behaviors in addicts. And while their work was on rats, their hope is that a similar technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS,… Read More »

Scientists identify brain’s ‘molecular memory switch’

Scientists have identified a key molecule responsible for triggering the chemical processes in our brain linked to our formation of memories. The findings, published in the journal Frontiers in Neural Circuits, reveal a new target for therapeutic interventions to reverse the devastating effects of memory loss. The BBSRC-funded research, led by scientists at the University… Read More »

New Book Suggests Return from Death Possible

Dr. Sam Parnia, a critical care doctor and the director of resuscitation research at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, has written a new book discussing ways in which people can be resuscitated after they previously would have been considered clinically dead. Parnia’s book, “Erasing Death: The Science That is Rewriting the Boundaries Between Life… Read More »

Finally, Tattoos That Let You Control Objects with Your Mind

… Dr. Todd Coleman and fellow researchers at the University of California San Diego are up to, creating “electronic tattoos” capable of interfacing with your brain and wirelessly conveying your thoughts as commands to remote systems and devices. Using what he describes as an “ultrathin conformal” design, Coleman has been developing “foldable, stretchable electrode arrays”… Read More »

Russian Meteor Kicks Up Cloud of Mistrust

If I had to choose a single word to describe the dominant attitude in Russian society, it would be “mistrust.” The meteor, or possibly small asteroid, that exploded over the Ural Mountains city of Chelyabinsk on Feb. 15 illustrated this as few other events could. The world saw the meteor thanks to the dashboard cameras… Read More »

Microwave auditory effect

The microwave auditory effect, also known as the microwave hearing effect or the Frey effect, consists of audible clicks (or, with modulation, whole words) induced by pulsed/modulated microwave frequencies. The clicks are generated directly inside the human head without the need of any receiving electronic device. The effect was first reported by persons working in… Read More »

Scientific evidence that you probably don’t have free will

… Humans have debated the issue of free will for millennia. But over the past several years, while the philosophers continue to argue about the metaphysical underpinnings of human choice, an increasing number of neuroscientists have started to tackle the issue head on — quite literally. And some of them believe that their experiments reveal… Read More »

Don’t read my lips! Body language trumps the face for conveying intense emotions

Be it triumph or crushing defeat, exhilaration or agony, body language more accurately conveys intense emotions, according to recent research that challenges the predominance of facial expressions as an indicator of how a person feels. Princeton University researchers report in the journal Science that facial expressions can be ambiguous and subjective when viewed independently. The… Read More »

What color is the letter A? Fisher-Price Induced Synesthesia

Image: Letter-color matching data from the 11 subjects. The diagram shows the color selected for each letter, averaged across three trials for each subject. The left-most column indicates the colors of the Fisher-Price refrigerator magnets used by all but 1 of the subjects as children. … Synesthesia is a rare perceptual phenomenon in which the… Read More »

The Science of Why Comment Trolls Suck

… In a recent study, a team of researchers from the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication and several other institutions employed a survey of 1,183 Americans to get at the negative consequences of vituperative online comments for the public understanding of science. Participants were asked to read a blog post containing a… Read More »

Audio Myths Workshop

I found this in my quest to improve my home recording and there are many things in it everyone will find interesting. Check out at least up to 13:00 after the photo lineup.  

The Spectacular Thefts of Apollo Robbins, Pickpocket

A few years ago, at a Las Vegas convention for magicians, Penn Jillette, of the act Penn and Teller, was introduced to a soft-spoken young man named Apollo Robbins, who has a reputation as a pickpocket of almost supernatural ability. Jillette, who ranks pickpockets, he says, “a few notches below hypnotists on the show-biz totem… Read More »

Maps that reveal how our brain organises everything

This raises interesting possibilities for mind reading as well as programmed learning. Before we can make any changes, we might be able to identify things which are misplaced. (Hey, what is “murder”  doing there in your “fun” category, Mr. President?) Scientists have put together the first ever map of how the brain organises the thousands… Read More »