Showing 109 posts tagged brain

Part of the difficulty with discussing the effects of Internet use is that there are many ways to use the Internet, and there are many ways for it to have an effect – from how we conduct our relationships to how we think, to how our brains are wired up. Despite the fears spread by many commentators, there is actually a good deal of research suggesting positive psychological effects for teenagers from using the Internet. For example, a 2009 study found that online interaction boosted teens’ self-esteem after they’d been made to feel socially excluded. There’s also evidence that moderate Internet use by teens and youth goes hand in hand with participating in more physical activities and sports clubs, not less. There is some limited research on how Internet use may be changing how we think (for example, how we use our memories), but this is not specific to teens, and most research in the field is on the more general topic of “media multi-tasking” (which may have positive as well as negative effects), rather than Internet use specifically.

The Internet Probably Isn’t Ruining Your Teenager’s Brain | Science Blogs | WIRED

The study had four participants, aged between 28 and 50. One participant was assigned to the brain-computer interface to transmit the thought, while the other three were assigned to the computer-brain interface to receive the thought. At the BCI end, the words “Ciao” and “Hola” were translated into binary. This was then shown to the emitter subject, who was instructed to envision actions for each piece of information: moving their hands for a 1 or their feet for a 0. An EEG then captured the electrical information in the sender’s brain as they thought of these actions, which resulted in a sort of neural code for the binary symbols — which in turn was code for the words. This information was then sent to the three recipient subjects via TMS headsets, stimulating the visual cortex so that the recipient, with ears and eyes covered, saw the binary string as a series of bright lights in their peripheral vision: if the light appeared in one location, it was a 1, and the second location denoted a 0. This information was received successfully and decoded as the transmitted words. This experiment, the researchers said, represents an important first step in exploring the feasibility of complementing or bypassing traditional means of communication, despite its current limitations — the bit rates were, for example, quite low at two bits per minute. Potential applications, however, include communicating with stroke patients, for example.

Brain-to-brain verbal communication in humans achieved for the first time - CNET

That suggests that, technically, the many little circuits of neurons that store our earliest memories are not wiped out by neurogenesis. Instead, they are thoroughly restructured, which probably explains why the original memories become so difficult to recall. “We think it’s an accessibility issue,” Frankland says, “but it’s sort of a semantic issue too. If a memory becomes impossible to access, then it is effectively erased.”

This Is Where Your Childhood Memories Went - Issue 16: Nothingness - Nautilus

Researchers at Dartmouth and the University of North Carolina announced Tuesday that new evidence indicates that the retrosplenial cortex—a little-studied region near the center of the brain—is important in the formation of this kind of information, called episodic memories. Specifically, they believe the retrosplenial cortex may help make sense of the burst of new stimuli in a new environment: It may be the place where the body’s senses are integrated. When you walk into someone’s office, your brain records the location of the pieces of furniture, screens, bookshelves and windows inside, said David Bucci, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at Dartmouth and one of the authors of the paper. Your brain may not remember the arrangement of that office if nothing important happens inside—in fact, you’ll probably forget it—but if something memorable does happen, you will commit the setup of that room to your memory. That room will be forever linked to what you learned inside it.

In the Brain, Memories Are Inextricably Tied to Place - The Atlantic

The device will be able to “bridge the gaps that interfere with a person’s memory functions and effectively restore their abilities.” The chip would, effectively, become a neural prosthesis. Justin Sanchez, DARPA program manager, issued this statement, “The start of the Restoring Active Memory program marks an exciting opportunity to reveal many new aspects of human memory and learn about the brain in ways that were never before possible. Anyone who has witnessed the effects of memory loss in another person knows its toll and how few options are available to treat it. We’re going to apply the knowledge and understanding gained in RAM to develop new options for treatment through technology.”

Pentagon Well On Their Way to Building a Human Memory Chip - The Wire

By wiring, Dr. Seung means the connections from one brain cell to another, seen at the level of the electron microscope. For a human, that would be 85 billion brain cells, with up to 10,000 connections for each one. The amount of information in the three-dimensional representation of the whole connectome at that level of detail would equal a zettabyte, a term only recently invented when the amount of digital data accumulating in the world required new words. It equals about a trillion gigabytes, or as one calculation framed it, 75 billion 16-gigabyte iPads.

All Circuits Are Busy -

A rash of new literature grapples with the problem of memory in an age when technology has both overcome and highlighted the limits of the human brain’s recall.

Books of Forgetting: Why we can’t stop writing about what we can’t remember

(via thenewrepublic)

"Control over the sequence and duration of word processing is the most important variable that supports reading," they note. Research suggests that most readers don’t tend to saccade fluidly across a page; instead, between 10 and 15 percent of the time, our saccades take us in the wrong direction. Experimental work has suggested that these reversals, technically termed regressions, happen for a reason. Regressions, for example, are much more common in sentences that are prone to misinterpretations.

Speed reading apps may kill comprehension | Ars Technica

The more years of education people have, the more likely they will recover from a traumatic brain injury, according to the study published Wednesday in Neurology. In fact, one year after a traumatic brain injury, people with a college education were nearly four times as likely as those who hadn’t finished high school to return to work or school with no disability.

College-Educated Brains Recover Better From Injury, Study Suggests - NBC

Even worse news for those of us who are cognitively over-the-hill: the researchers find “no evidence that this decline can be attenuated by expertise.” Yes, we get wiser as we get older. But wisdom doesn’t substitute for speed. At best, older players can only hope to compensate “by employing simpler strategies and using the game’s interface more efficiently than younger players,” the authors say.

Your brain is over the hill by age 24