Scientific News

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 ...

Does walking make us more creative?

A blank page... The worst fear of a writer or a student is when they can't find the ideas or the inspiration needed to start their work, and staring at a blank page does nothing to improve the situation. On the contrary, a blank page is likely to frustrate and provoke them even further (in this type of stand-off, the blank page always wins). However, a five minute stroll could be the answer to the dreaded writer's block.

After hearing about the advantages of sports and exercise for our intellectual capacity, walking has now come into the spotlight in particular for its creative benefits. And it's not even necessary to walk energetically, a leisurely stroll or aimless ...

What we wear influences how we think

Every morning it's the same old routine: breakfast, get dressed, get ready, and go. We do these things without thinking because we can't imagine that our clothes could have an influence on our thoughts. However, psychologists have confirmed that the way we dress not only has an impact on the way that we are perceived by others, but also on how we perceive ourselves. The clothes don't make the man….or do they?

Numerous factors have an influence on us, including the opinions of friends, teachers and even strangers. Advertising, films and books also have an impact. But who would have thought that our clothes change the way we think! These are the results of an American study ...

Sweating makes people around you happy

After reading this article, you may go easy on the deodorant... But before talking about smells, let's take a quick look at vision. It's a well-known fact that smiling and laughing are contagious. When someone smiles, you smile back. Vision thus comes into play in triggering a brain process: emotion. What if odors also had this same effect?

Because they realized that negative emotions such as fear or disgust could be transmitted from one individual to another through the smell of sweat, Gün Semin and his team at Utrecht University in the Netherlands examined the transmission of positive emotions through this same mechanism.

The experiment took place in two ...

You are probably more of an extrovert than you think you are

Do you think that your friends are more popular than you? Then you're not alone. Social psychology has found statistical evidence to support this view. Strangely, we often think that our friends have more friends than we do. This is a well-known phenomenon known as the friendship paradox.

Daniel C. Feiler and Adam M. Kleinbaum, both members of Tuck Business School at Dartmouth College, USA, conducted their research on a class of MBA students at the start of the academic year. The first study focused on the formation of social networks, while the second analyzed behavior, in particular the way that biased samples can affect decision making. Both researchers wanted to ...


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