Along with predicting our future behaviors, brain scans can guess when we’re about to make a cognitive error, mis-processing a math problem because we’re thinking too hard. Like a dashboard widget watching your computer’s RAM, brain wave patterns can be used to detect when the brain is approaching its limits of processing power, according to new research.
Scores of animals exist in scientific laboratories for the purpose of serving as our proxies, their cortices mapped and their flu responses studied so scientists can figure out how humans work. But in many cases, there’s little agreement between their functions and ours, and scientists need to figure out how to draw useful comparisons. To get a better handle on this, brain researchers had humans and monkeys watch “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” inside an MRI machine.
For the first time, researchers have been able to hack into the process of learning in the brain, using induced brain patterns to create a learned behavior. It’s not quite as advanced as an instant kung-fu download, and it’s not as sleek as cognitive inception, but it’s still an important finding that could lead to new teaching and rehabilitation techniques.
Pervasive, persistent optimism is one of those uniquely human traits/flaws — we tend to believe things are better than they really are, or that negative consequences won’t befall us, even if they befall others. It stands to reason that people would adjust their expectations when confronted with harsh reality, yet they don’t. Our brains are to blame, according to a new study — we’re wired to have a positive outlook.
The scent of a woman’s sadness — manifested in her tears — is a major turn-off for men, according to new research published today. It is the first study to suggest tears of emotion contain chemical signals that influence others’ behavior.
MRI scans are already being used to explain current behavior by mapping blood flow to certain brain regions. Now researchers at UCLA think they can be used to predict your future behavior even better than you can.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.