Scientific News

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 ...

Emotion or Reason: which brain do you have?

Does the rational mind prevail over the emotional mind, or it is just the opposite? It's a timeless debate. We can imagine those who, superior and arrogant, will say that reason counts above all and that only reason should be used to make important decisions. On the other side, others will tragically and sweetly invoke the emotional character of the situation. The two will perhaps never be reconciled. And what if this opposition had a neurological basis?

The brains of "rational" thinkers might be "manufactured" differently from the brains of "emotional" thinkers. It's a bit simplistic, but these are the overall results of work done by an Australian team from brain ...

Imagination improves our performance

To improve our performance, particularly in sport, we often follow the old adage ‘practice makes perfect.’ It's known that frequently repeating the same actions can help us to become quicker and more efficient. However, according to certain scientists, mental visualization could be a better technique. For example, a goal keeper who imagines all of the different ways that the ball could arrive is more likely to respond appropriately when the time comes.

"The idea that we can train our brains to work better is all the rage across society, but our research suggests that the human brain may benefit as much, or even more, from imagining performing a task, than the brain does ...

An optical illusion explained

If you click on the photo you will discover a dress that was the object of much attention this winter. What colors do you see? This dress caused a stir on social networks this winter by creating two opposing groups: those who saw blue and black stripes and those who observed white and gold stripes. The debate caused so much controversy that researchers decided to try and find an explanation.

The team of Bevil Conway, a research professor at the ...


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