Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Category Archives: Neuroscience

Babies have hard-wired hand-to-mouth movements

Although babies lack much in the way of motor skills, they can still accurately bring their hands toward their mouth in a motion to feed themselves. Now scientists have discovered this self-feeding movement is encoded in a part of the … Continue reading

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Differences between viewing light and dark explain old optical illusion

Astronomers and physicists starting with Galileo noticed centuries ago that when one looks at celestial objects — bright objects on a dark background — they appear to be too large. Now scientists have discovered the brain mechanisms underlying this effect. … Continue reading

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The sniff of death — Olfactory receptor found for death-associated odor cadaverine

Whether you are drawn or repelled by the smell of rotting flesh depends upon your perspective as a species. One whiff and we instantly recoil, avoiding the hazard of bacterial contamination. For animals such as rats, goldfish and some insects, … Continue reading

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False memories can come from beneficial brain processes

Memories of experiences are strengthened when we are frequently reminded of them, a key process known as memory reactivation. Although this phenomenon helps stabilize and update memories, it can also introduce errors, leading to false memories. Using brain scans, researchers … Continue reading

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Laser microsurgery opens windows into fly brain

With the same type of laser used in eye correction surgeries in humans, scientists can cut precise holes in the outer cuticle of fruit flies. The technique, described for the first time in a new PNAS Early Edition article, allows … Continue reading

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Monkeys experience body illusions also

In recent years, scientists have discovered that the brain’s image of its body, known as the body schema, is extraordinarily malleable — for instance, people can be fooled into thinking a rubber hand is part of their bodies. Now for … Continue reading

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Registering surprise and learning from it are different processes

Much of life is predictable. Every day the sun comes up in the east. When we use a toaster bread goes in cool and soft, pops up warm and crispy. Our brains build models of how the world works, helping … Continue reading

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Can flies at a rock concert hear the next day?

When the crowd filters out of the concert hall at the end of a loud, live rock concert, each person’s ears have paid a toll. Whether a concert-goer hears a ringing, speaks a little louder in the car ride home, … Continue reading

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A penny for your thoughts: How copper could contribute to dementia

As an element, copper is known for its above-average ability to conduct electricity and heat, making it a key component of wires and cables that speedily transmit information and messages from place to place. But in the brain, too much … Continue reading

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Brain halves interact differently with each other

The brain is divided into two halves that are famously specialized in different ways — for instance, the right side of the brain controls most of the left side of the body and vice versa. Now findings detailed this week … Continue reading

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