Scientific News

Education is the brain's ally, even years later!

Studying is of course excellent for the brain, but for how long? Researchers have studied this question, and have revealed evidence of the positive long-term effect of education. Several decades after leaving the benches of learning, older people were still benefiting from an improvement in their cognitive functions.

The team of Nicole Schneeweis, a researcher at the University of Linz (Austria), studied the brain capacities of a group of seniors of the same age but with differing levels of education.

The data used came from the SHARE survey (Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe). The information used was related to individuals of around 60 years of age ...

What if your dog could understand your emotions?

When your dog hears the sound of your voice, he recognizes you. There’s no doubt about that. Occasionally, you may speak to your dog, though you are aware that he doesn’t understand what you’re saying. This is now partly contested. It would seem that dogs are able to recognize the type of emotion conveyed by the voice. The expression “Dogs are Man’s best friend” makes total sense.

The study carried out in Hungary by the researcher Attila Andics was not easy. The first stage was to train the 11 dogs taking part in the study to remain still in the MRI machine while wearing headphones. The aim was to study the areas of their brain sensitive to the human voice. To do ...

"It goes in one ear and out the other!"

We all know this because despite our best efforts, we can't remember everything that is said to us. But remember this: this well-known expression now has a scientific basis. It would seem that auditory memory has its limits. But there’s nothing to worry about: we just have to combine it with our visual and tactile memory.

At the University of Iowa (United States), researchers wanted to compare three of our senses, namely hearing, touch and sight, in order to make conclusions on the ability of each of these senses to aid memorization.

To do this, the study conducted by Amy Poremba (professor of psychology and neuroscience) used around one hundred student ...

Coffee stimulates not only your mind, but your memory too

“What I've taken from this is that I should keep drinking my coffee”, states the neuroscientist Michael Yassa who carried out a study on coffee. The ability to tell the difference between different objects, patterns or situations may be crucial in everyday life, and coffee could turn out to be a significant ally in this task.

The team of Michael Yassa at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore described how people who had drunk coffee after looking at images turned out to be better than others in identifying these same images from similar images on the following day.
The study included 44 volunteers who were not big coffee-drinkers. They were asked to not drink any ...

Can we trust our memory?

We often recall memories in our everyday life, and yet our memory could be playing tricks on us. According to recent results, the same zone of the brain is activated, regardless of whether the memory being recalled is right or wrong. What is even more surprising is that our memory travels through time in its own way.

Donna J. Bridge, a neuroscientist at the Northwestern University, carried out a study on how our memory can be consolidated or even changed. Seventeen subjects were asked to memorize the location of dozens of objects that were briefly shown to them on a standard computer screen.
First, they had to find the original locations, using their computer mouse to drag ...

First step towards language comprehension

When we listen to somebody speaking, our brain receives a large amount of different sounds that it can process instantaneously, turning them into words and sentences with meaning. Recently, neuroscientists have put their finger on what could be the first stage of this complex process that is language comprehension.

With a real-time brain study, a team of scientists at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and linguists led by the neurosurgeon Dr Edward Chang has extended the knowledge on the interpretation of human voices.

To do this, 6 subjects were invited to listen to 500 sentences in their native tongue (English) recorded by 400 different speakers. ...

Why do we sometimes resist temptation?

Hesitating between a piece of fruit and a cake – who has never been faced with this kind of situation? However, we don’t all react in the same way; some of us resist immediate gratification, while others tend to give in more easily. A team of researchers explains why.

Economic theory states that we attribute a value to each of the options that are presented to us in order to choose one of those options. In neuroscience, studies suggest that the regions of the brain involved in forming memories, such as the hippocampus, are involved in thinking up new situations. The team of Mathias Pessiglione (Brain and Spinal Cord Institute, France - ICM) started out with the following ...

Classical music: what if we were to improvise?

It’s a fact: improvisation is not a common practice in classical music concerts. And yet, according to a British study, musicians could find it useful in order to better engage the public. Researchers studied the electrical activity of the brain of a chamber music trio and their public (only two people) while listening to a composition with or without improvisation.

The electrical signals were recorded using electrodes on the participants' scalp. The public also filled in a questionnaire.

The results clearly demonstrated that there was a difference in activity between the concert with improvisation and the prepared one. In the musicians, the scientists ...

The side-effects of television

Television has a hypnotic effect, doesn’t it? We often find ourselves sprawled out on the settee, too captivated by the program we are watching to bother to tend to our natural needs. The very colorful images and constant movement keep us enthralled, and this applies to both adults and children. But what is the effect of these hours spent in front of the television screen during our childhood?

While many studies have demonstrated the harmful effects of television on the development of some cognitive capacities, in particular verbal, a Japanese team looked into the effects on the structure of the developing brain.

The researchers measured the volume of grey ...

Brain training is effective. Did you doubt it?

We are convinced that brain training as a method works; especially since our own statistical analyses confirm it: exercising your brain using a varied and regular program helps to maintain, even improve your cognitive capacities. However, we understand that some of our users still have doubts, especially given the contradictory information that can be found here and there.

So, it is very interesting when researchers (independent of HAPPYneuron) carry out studies on the subject. In this case, it’s an experiment, published in January in the scientific journal “Journal of the American Geriatrics Society”, carried out by G. Rebok, a doctoral student specializing in the ...

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