Thursday, August 27, 2015

Cancelling Intended Actions Appears to Weaken Memory

A new study by Duke University researchers suggests that this type of scenario makes a person less likely to remember what halted the action — for example, the make and model of the car in the blind spot.

People and non-human primates excel at "response inhibition." Our sophisticated brains allow us to cancel an action even when it's something engrained, like driving on the right side of the road. Although it's not easy, we can override this inclination when we drive in foreign countries with left-hand traffic.

The new results, published Aug. 26 in the Journal of Neuroscience, lend insight into how the ability to inhibit an action — a fundamental aspect of everyday life — affects other important brain functions such as attention and memory. The findings may eventually inform the treatment of disorders characterized by difficulty inhibiting actions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and addiction.


http://neurosciencenews.com/response-inhibition-memory-neuroscience-2511/


Monday, August 24, 2015

Happiness Isn’t the Absence of Negative Feelings

Happiness feels intolerably elusive for many of us. Like fog, you can see it from afar, dense and full of shape. But upon approach, its particles loosen and suddenly it becomes out of reach, even though it's all around you.

We put so much emphasis on the pursuit of happiness, but if you stop and think about it, to pursue is to chase something without a guarantee of ever catching it.

Up until about six years ago, I was fervently and ineffectively chasing happiness. My husband, Jim, and I were living in San Jose, California, with our two-year-old son and a second baby on the way. On paper, our life appeared rosy. Still, I couldn't seem to find the joy. I always felt so guilty about my sadness. My problems were embarrassingly "first world."

Then in September 2009, my world tilted. Jim fell severely ill. He was diagnosed withSwine Flu (H1N1) and West Nile (NOS), then Guillain-BarrĂ© Syndrome (GBS), due to his compromised immune system.


https://hbr.org/2015/08/happiness-isnt-the-absence-of-negative-feelings


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Temporal Cortex Region Allows Dogs to Process Faces

Dogs have a specialized region in their brains for processing faces, a new study finds. PeerJ is publishing the research, which provides the first evidence for a face-selective region in the temporal cortex of dogs.

"Our findings show that dogs have an innate way to process faces in their brains, a quality that has previously only been well-documented in humans and other primates," says Gregory Berns, a neuroscientist at Emory University and the senior author of the study.

Having neural machinery dedicated to face processing suggests that this ability is hard-wired through cognitive evolution, Berns says, and may help explain dogs' extreme sensitivity to human social cues.

Click to read