Scientific News

Why do we mix up the days of the week?

It’s easy to remember when it’s Monday or Friday: one is depressing, the other exciting! These two days of the week are clearly identified, and we rarely confuse them with other days. But what about the middle of the week? It’s a bit hazy. We’re often lost. Especially when we’re on vacation! How many times have you said to yourself: “What day is it anyway?" Researchers have recently examined the question.

Mixing up the days of the week is a common phenomenon of daily life that occurs more frequently on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. During these three days, it isn't unusual to have the feeling we’re experiencing a particular day of the week when in reality ...

Controlling your mind to sharpen your senses

We may dream of having an owl's hearing or a cat's vision. But if certain senses are more highly developed in animals, it's largely thanks to their anatomy. However, we do know that it's possible to sharpen our senses, as is the case for the visually impaired, whose senses of hearing and touch are well above the norm. What if it were possible to sharpen our senses using only the power of the mind?

German researchers at Ruhr-Unviersity Bochum and Ludwig-Maximilians-University München used a group of meditators to study the impact of mental concentration on the sense of touch. The goal was to determine whether it would be possible to improve tactile perception through targeted ...

Playing Legos stifles creativity

If you watch a child building something with Legos, you can probably imagine what’s going through his or her mind: the frustration of the challenges encountered, the joy of placing that last piece, or the puzzlement of not knowing where to put a particular block. And you would probably guess that it's a beneficial activity that stimulates the brain and develops cognitive abilities. For the child, this is probably true, but it may not be equally true for you...

While children learn the basics of construction (and demolition) using Legos, the activity may actually put adults at a disadvantage. These are the findings of a study published in The Journal of Marketing Research. ...

Climbing trees improves memory

If someone asked you to touch your nose with your eyes closed, you would succeed without difficulty. This is possible thanks to a special ability, proprioception, which allows us to perceive the position of different body parts in space. And proprioception has an influence on our cognitive abilities, particularly working memory. This is one of the conclusions of a recent study demonstrating a drastic increase in memory following specific types of exercise.

Whether you are conscious of it or not, your brain is perpetually aware of the position of every part of your body. It’s much like a sixth sense, only unlike the other five, this sense involves the internal rather than ...

Got a tune stuck in your head?

Hearing just a few seconds of a song on the radio is enough for it to become stuck in your head for several hours. We’ve all experienced it at some point: that tune that keeps repeating in your mind, creating a rather unpleasant sensation for yourself and for your neighbors who can no longer stand you whistling the same tune over and over again. But where does this phenomenon come from? An imaging study reveals we don't all show the same patterns in response to this phenomenon.

At Goldsmiths, University of London, Dr. Nicolas Farrugia and his colleagues at the Music, Mind and Brain group study the cognitive and neural bases of listening to and playing music. They are ...

Why is screaming so easily detectable?

The human scream is highly specific. Not even the sound of a plane taking off can stop you from perceiving and recognizing nearby screaming. Screaming is an innate communication signal, shared by everyone, that has the ability to immediately draw attention. It's thanks to this feature that babies can instantly attract attention from parents. How are screams unique and how are they processed by the brain? A new study seeks to answer these questions.

In terms of auditory communication, several characteristics distinguish us as humans: in particular, distinguishing between male and female voices, differentiating human sounds from animal noises, and discriminating between vowels ...

Video games: virtual reality creates real fear

Are video games as scary as horror movies? Apparently yes… and we can't get enough of it! Frequently the subject of investigations into their violent nature, video games are now being scientifically examined based on their ability to arouse emotion. Fear, anxiety, enthusiasm, pleasure… what emotions are involved in increasingly realistic video games? And are these emotions more intense than those aroused by watching television?

Nicole Martin, assistant professor, and Teresa Lynch, a PhD student at the University of Indiana Media School conducted a survey on students about their experience with popular video games such as “Resident Evil,” “Call of Duty,” and ...

Cognitive function is sensitive to sugar and fat

Sorry if we've whetted your appetite. This enticing photo was chosen to illustrate the potential adverse effects of sugar and fat through their impact on intestinal bacteria. Everything is connected in the human body, and it's a well-known fact that these foods aren't recommended as part of a healthy diet. Less well known, is their effect on the brain. Why and through what mechanisms are they harmful? Kathy Magnusson, a professor of veterinary medicine tells us.

Obviously, it's no fun having to constantly monitor one's eating habits. So many foods are declared as being harmful to health that many of us no longer even pay attention. But this study is worth noting because it ...

Do you really know what you look like?

Who knows your face better than you do? The big nose, the too-thin lips, or those deep dimples: you know them all by heart. And yet, while these characteristics are an integral part of you, strangers that have seen you for barely a minute are actually better at recognizing you in photos. These results were published in The British Journal of Psychology thanks to the work of Dr. David White.

It turns out the many hours you spent gazing at yourself in the mirror have all been for nothing. You think you know every square inch of your face, but this simple study proves otherwise. In Australia, a team of researchers under the supervision of Dr. White carried out a fun experiment ...

Cat videos: proven to make us happier

Who hasn't at some point watched a cat video on the net? A cat surprised by its reflection in the mirror, another sleeping in an unusual position, or sliding down the side of a cabinet; cats apparently make us humans laugh and melt our hearts. There are thousands of videos on the web, and fans have compiled them to offer us the best clips. Why has this phenomenon taken on such proportions? According to scientists, these videos actually stimulate our positive emotions: a few explanations.

Two million cat videos on Youtube in 2014. Not a negligible number. And as soon as we start watching a few, it is inevitably difficult to stop, requiring a significant mental effort, even ...


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