How the brain helps us make good decisions – and bad ones

A prevailing theory in neuroscience holds that people make decisions based on integrated global calculations that occur within the frontal cortex of the brain. However, Yale researchers have found that three distinct circuits connecting to different brain regions are involved in making good decisions, bad ones and determining which of those past choices to store … Read more

Poison dart frog brains can hold a mental map

Frogs aren’t meant to be able to store a mental map in their brains. 20 years ago, Lainy Day from the University of Mississippi, USA, tested the place memory of amphibians and lizards, but none appeared capable of forming complex spatial memories. Frogs’ brains were just too simple to carry a map it seemed. However, Sabrina Burmeister from … Read more

Did Leonardo da Vinci have ADHD?

Leonardo da Vinci produced some of the world’s most iconic art, but historical accounts show that he struggled to complete his works. 500 years after his death, King’s College London researcher Professor Marco Catani suggests the best explanation for Leonardo’s inability to finish projects is that the great artist may have had Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder … Read more

How we make complex decisions

When making a complex decision, we often break the problem down into a series of smaller decisions. For example, when deciding how to treat a patient, a doctor may go through a hierarchy of steps – choosing a diagnostic test, interpreting the results, and then prescribing a medication. Making hierarchical decisions is straightforward when the … Read more

A new treatment for stroke in mice reduces brain damage and promotes motor recovery

Brain injuries like stroke can be debilitating and require time-sensitive treatment. Clotting factors like thrombin are commonly administered to patients, but there are many other stroke-related signs that can be targeted, such as swelling and ion imbalances in the surrounding fluids. New research shows that brain fluids can be normalized with adrenergic receptor antagonists, a … Read more

Success tastes so sweet

brain

Researchers from the National Institute for Physiological Sciences in Japan identify the neurons responsible for relaying sweet taste signals to the gustatory thalamus and cortex in mice. While the peripheral taste system has been extensively investigated, relatively little is known about the contribution of CNS gustatory neurons in the sensation of taste. In this new … Read more

A brain region for Pokémon characters?

Stanford psychologists have identified preferential activation to Pokémon characters in the brains of people who played Pokémon videogames extensively as kids. The findings, published online in the journal Nature Human Behavior, help shed light on two related mysteries about our visual system. “It’s been an open question in the field why we have brain regions … Read more