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fMRI

Is reading a book like living the story? (Image: Shutterstock)

Stories, whether fact or fiction, are at the heart of human culture. A strong narrative can resonate with your personality and experiences, and help set a framework for your future. "That book changed my life" is a cherished maxim. So can a book change your brain too? A recent study led by Emory University's Gregory Berns has demonstrated that reading a novel produces physical changes in the brain similar to those that would result from living as one or more of the characters.  Read More

Berkeley scientists have created the first map of how the brain organizes what we see (Ima...

How does our brain organize the visual information that our eyes capture? Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, used computational models of brain imaging data to answer this question and arrived at what they call “continuous semantic space” – a notion which serves as the basis for the first interactive maps showing how the brain categorizes what we see.  Read More

Researchers have developed technology that automatically decode distinct brain patterns to...

Researchers at Maastricht University in The Netherlands have developed a device that gives a voice to those who are completely unable to speak or move at all. Building on previous work using functional magnetic imaging (fMRI) technology, which allowed individuals to give yes/no responses or answer multiple-choice questions, the new approach allows for full, unscripted back-and-forth conversations.  Read More

Researchers have used functional magnetic resonance imaging technology to help test subjec...

How would you like to have the ability to play the piano downloaded into your brain? You might not end up with the same sense of achievement, but it sure would be a lot quicker and easier than years of lessons and practicing. Well, we're not there yet (and perhaps we never should be), but that sort of scenario is now a little closer to reality, thanks to research conducted at Boston University and ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto, Japan.  Read More

Close neurological ties between reward-processing and pain-processing regions in the brain...

As science continues to unravel the mysteries of ourselves and the world around us at a furious pace, it can sometimes feel like the boffins are proving things that many of us feel we already know or take for granted. This interesting example comes from the Stanford University School of Medicine, where scientists have found that intense feelings of love are as effective at relieving pain as painkillers or even illicit drugs.  Read More

fMRI brain scans from UBC Mind Wandering Study
 (Image: Courtesy of Kalina Christoff)

If you think letting your mind wander is unproductive then you may be in for a big surprise. A recent study at the University of British Columbia found that our brains are much more active when we daydream than previously thought. What is surprising is that the study also found that brain areas associated with complex problem-solving – previously thought to go dormant when we daydream – are actually more active than when we focus on routine tasks.  Read More

Slot machines - insidious invention

Further irrefutable proof that the slot machine is one of the most insidious inventions in history came from the 800 year old University of Cambridge this week. Researchers used fMRI brain-imaging to find that near misses (two identical fruits on the pay line and another just above or below) activate the same reward pathways in a gambler's brain as a win. What's more, slot machine manufacturers seem aware of this, as machines are programmed to deliver near misses almost one in three, enticing losers to keep gambling. Hardly seems fair does it?  Read More

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