Psychology Research News -- ScienceDaily

Brain's 'updating mechanisms' may create false memories
New research is one of the first comprehensive characterizations of poorly formed memories and may offer a framework to explore different therapeutic approaches to fear, memory and anxiety disorders. It may also have implications for accuracy of some witness testimony.

Scientists find evidence of link between diesel exhaust, risk of Parkinson's
A new study in zebrafish identified the process by which air pollution can damage brain cells, potentially contributing to Parkinson's disease.

Unconscious: 'Sniff test' predicts recovery of consciousness
If an unconscious person responds to smell through a slight change in their nasal airflow pattern -- they are likely to regain consciousness. This is the conclusion from a new study.

Family environment affects adolescent brain development
Childhood environment and socioeconomic status affect cognitive ability and brain development during adolescence independently of genetic factors, researchers report. The study demonstrates how important the family environment is, not just during early infancy but also throughout adolescence.

Exercise improves memory, boosts blood flow to brain
Scientists have collected plenty of evidence linking exercise to brain health, with some research suggesting fitness may even improve memory. But what happens during exercise to trigger these benefits?

Observing the freely behaving brain in action
Scientists working at Caesar have developed a small head-mounted microscope that allows access to the inner workings of the brain. The new system enables measurement of activity from neuronal populations located in the deep cortical layer with single-cell resolution, in an animal that is freely behaving.

Found: Brain structure that controls our behavior
Solving problems, planning one's own actions, controlling emotions -- these executive functions are fundamental processes for controlling our behavior. Despite numerous indications, there has not yet been any clear evidence to support which brain areas process these abilities. A study has now succeeded in identifying the crucial region -- with the help of a unique patient and the not-so-rare dys-executive syndrome.

Not all multiple sclerosis-like diseases are alike
Scientists say some myelin-damaging disorders have a distinctive pathology that groups them into a unique disease entity.

Brain-to-gut connections traced
Using rabies virus injected into the stomach of rats, researchers trace the nerves back to the brain and find distinct 'fight or flight' and 'rest and digest' circuits. These results explain how mental states can affect the gut, and present new ways to treat gastrointestinal problems.

How experiencing traumatic stress leads to aggression
Traumatic stress can cause aggression by strengthening two brain pathways involved in emotion, according to new research. Targeting those pathways via deep brain stimulation may stymie aggression associated with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The brain's facial recognition area doesn't differentiate outgroup members
A quirk in how the brain processes faces makes it harder to tell members of a racial outgroup apart, according to new research.

Scientists find brain center that 'profoundly' shuts down pain
A research team has found a small area of the brain in mice that can profoundly control the animals' sense of pain. Somewhat unexpectedly, this brain center turns pain off, not on. It's located in an area where few people would have thought to look for an anti-pain center, the amygdala, which is often considered the home of negative emotions and responses, like the fight or flight response and general anxiety.

Maintaining heart health may protect against cognitive decline
People with a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease have increased cognitive decline, including an increase in typical markers of Alzheimer's disease, suggesting that monitoring and controlling for heart disease may be key to maintaining and improving cognitive health later in life.

Personal accounts of childhood maltreatment matter more for mental health than records
Personal accounts of childhood maltreatment show a stronger association with psychiatric problems compared to legal proof that maltreatment occurred, according to a new study.

The dreaming brain tunes out the outside world
Scientists have shown that the brain suppresses information from the outside world, such as the sound of a conversation, during the sleep phase linked to dreaming. This ability could be one of the protective mechanisms of dreams.

Binge drinkers beware, Drunkorexia is calling
Mojito, appletini or a simple glass of fizz -- they may take the edge off a busy day, but if you find yourself bingeing on more than a few, you could be putting your physical and mental health at risk according new research.

New ways to nudge the brain
For army scientists, the goal of neuroscience research is pursuing the inner workings of the human brain to advance scientific understanding and improve soldier performance.

Proper synaptic joint will get you good night’s sleep
A research team has reported in vivo findings that a certain presynaptic cell adhesion molecule named is crucial for the development of synapses in the developing brain.

Dynamic stimulation of the visual cortex allows blind and sighted people to 'see' shapes
A team of investigators has described an approach in which implanted electrodes are stimulated in a dynamic sequence, essentially 'tracing' shapes on the surface of the visual cortex that participants were able to 'see.'

'Cell pores' discovery gives hope to millions of brain and spinal cord injury patients
Scientists have discovered a new treatment to dramatically reduce swelling after brain and spinal cord injuries, offering hope to 75 million victims worldwide each year.

Brain signal measurement using printed tattoo electrodes
Researchers have developed ultra-light tattoo electrodes that are hardly noticeable on the skin and make long-term measurements of brain activity cheaper and easier.

New imaging tool helps researchers see extent of Alzheimer's early damage
New imaging technology allows scientists to see the widespread loss of brain synapses in early stages of Alzheimer's disease, a finding that one day may help aid in drug development, according to a new study.

How memory function could be preserved after brain injury
A new study examining the effect of the immune receptor known as Toll-like Receptor 4, or TLR4, on how memory functions in both the normal and injured brain has found vastly different cellular pathways contribute to the receptor's effects on excitability in the uninjured and injured brain. Further, the researchers found novel mechanisms for how TLR4 regulates memory function in the normal, uninjured brain.

Acute stress may slow down the spread of fears
Psychologists find that we are less likely to amplify fears in social exchange if we are stressed.

Scientists show MRI predicts the efficacy of a stem cell therapy for brain injury
Scientists have demonstrated the promise of applying magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to predict the efficacy of using human neural stem cells to treat a brain injury -- a first-ever 'biomarker' for regenerative medicine that could help personalize stem cell treatments for neurological disorders and improve efficacy.

'Brain's steering wheel' in the brainstem of mice
In a new study in mice, neuroscientists have found neurons in the brain that control how the mice turn right and left. They hope that the new knowledge can be used in connection with motor disorders in humans.

Our ability to focus may falter after eating one meal high in saturated fat
Fatty food may feel like a friend during these troubled times, but new research suggests that eating just one meal high in saturated fat can hinder our ability to concentrate -- not great news for people whose diets have gone south while they're working at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Presence of spouse alters how parents' brains react to children stimuli
A study has revealed how the physical presence of spouses who are co-parenting can alter each other's brain activity.

Are our brains hard-wired for longing?
A new brain imaging study of prairie voles -- which are among only about 5% of mammalian species besides humans who are monogamous -- found that when it comes to forming bonds, longing may be as important as being together. The study also sheds light on why it's so hard to social distance, and could lead to new therapies for conditions like autism and depression.

A 'consciousness conductor' synchronizes and connects mouse brain areas
New research shows that slow-wave brain activity, a characteristic of sleep and resting states, is controlled by the claustrum. The synchronization of silent and active states across large parts of the brain by these slow waves could contribute to consciousness.

How does the brain link events to form a memory? Study reveals unexpected mental processes
The brain has a powerful ability to remember and connect events separated in time. And now, in a new study in mice, scientists have shed light on how the brain can form such enduring links.

Lipid metabolism controls brain development
A lipid metabolism enzyme controls brain stem cell activity and lifelong brain development. If the enzyme does not work correctly, it causes learning and memory deficits in humans and mice, as researchers have discovered. Regulating stem cell activity via lipid metabolism could lead to new treatments for brain diseases.

The feeling a limb doesn't belong is linked to lack of brain structure and connection
People with body integrity dysphoria (BID) often feel as though one of their healthy limbs isn't meant to be a part of their bodies. They may act as though the limb is missing or even seek its amputation 'to feel complete.' Now, researchers have found that these feelings that a limb doesn't belong are mirrored in the brains of people with this condition.

See a 3D mouse brain with single-cell resolution
A manually constructed 3D atlas offers a cellular-level view of the entire mouse brain. This reference brain, called the Allen Mouse Brain Common Coordinate Framework (CCFv3), is derived from serial two-photon tomography images of 1,675 mice.

Sleep difficulties linked to altered brain development in infants who later develop autism
New research finds that sleep problems in a baby's first 12 months may not only precede an autism diagnosis, but also may be associated with altered growth trajectory in a key part of the brain, the hippocampus.

Focused ultrasound opening brain to previously impossible treatments
Focused ultrasound, the researchers hope, could revolutionize treatment for conditions from Alzheimer's to epilepsy to brain tumors -- and even help repair the devastating damage caused by stroke.

Genetic variation in a brain-cleansing water channel affects human sleep
The reason why we sleep remains an unresolved question of the 21st century. Research now shows that the depth of non-rapid-eye-movement (nonREM) sleep in humans is associated with different genetic versions of a gene that encodes a water channel involved in fluid flow in the brain.

Evidence that human brains replay our waking experiences while we sleep
When we fall asleep, our brains are not merely offline, they're busy organizing new memories -- and now, scientists have gotten a glimpse of the process. Researchers report the first direct evidence that human brains replay waking experiences while asleep, seen in the brains of two participants who had been implanted with microelectrode arrays as part of a brain-computer interface pilot clinical trial.

Similar brain glitch found in slips of signing, speaking
The discovery of a common neural mechanism in speech and ASL errors -- one that occurs in just 40 milliseconds -- could improve recovery in deaf signers after a stroke.

Targeting depression: Researchers ID symptom-specific targets for treatment of depression
For the first time, physician-scientists have identified two clusters of depressive symptoms that responded to two distinct neuroanatomical treatment targets in patients who underwent transcranial magnetic brain stimulation (TMS) for treatment of depression. The team's findings shed new light on the brain circuitry underlying specific symptoms of depression and may facilitate personalized TMS therapy for depression and other psychiatric or neurological disorders.

How synaptic changes translate to behavior changes
Learning changes behavior by altering many connections between brain cells in a variety of ways all at the same time, according to a study of sea slugs. The findings offer insight into how human learning can impact widespread brain areas.

Exercise boosts motor skill learning via changes in brain's transmitters
Comparing the brains of mice that exercised with those that did not, researchers found that specific neurotransmitters switched following sustained exercise, leading to improved learning for motor-skill acquisition. Underscoring the critical benefits of exercise, even in a time of a global pandemic, the researchers found that mice that exercised acquired several demanding motor skills such as staying on a rotating rod or crossing a balance beam more rapidly than a non-exercised group.

Neural circuit that drives physical responses to emotional stress found
Researchers have discovered a neural circuit that drives physical responses to emotional stress. Emotional stress signals are processed in the ''emotion'' circuits and integrated in the DP/DTT. The integrated signals are transmitted to the hypothalamus which then drives a variety of physical responses through circuits that control ''body'' functions. The discovered ''mind-body'' connection constitutes a key part of the stress circuit in the brain.

Parkinson's dyskinesia mechanism explained
The mechanism underlying Parkinson's dyskinesia has been unknown, until now. An international collaboration has found a key cause, and with it, potentially, a new route to providing relief.

New targets for childhood brain tumors identified
People with the genetic condition neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) are prone to developing tumors on nervous system tissue. A new study has found that the development and growth of such tumors are driven by nearby noncancerous neurons and immune cells. The findings point to potential new therapeutic targets for people with NF1.

Improved neural probe can pose precise questions without losing parts of the answers
A technique for studying individual circuits in the brains of mice has been hampered because the light needed to stimulate neural activity briefly overwhelms the electrodes 'listening' for the response. Now, improved shielding within the neural probe enables those lost signals to be captured.

Protein mystery of three brain diseases unraveled
The accumulation of one particular protein in the brain is at the basis of three very different age-related conditions. Until recently, nobody understood how this was possible. Research now reveals that the shape of the protein determines the clinical picture.

Personality traits of patients with social anxiety disorder
Individuals with social anxiety disorder have markedly different personality traits than others. Emotional instability and introversion are hallmarks, according to a new study.

Alzheimer’s gene triggers early breakdowns in blood-brain barrier, predicting cognitive decline
Although scientists have long known APOE4 is a leading risk factor for Alzheimer's disease, they were unsure how exactly it drives a decline in memory. Scientists believe they have now found an answer.

Implant-free optogenetics minimizes brain damage during neuronal stimulation
A minimally invasive optogenetic technique that does not require brain implants successfully manipulated the activity of neurons in mice and monkeys, researchers report. The researchers first genetically engineered neurons to produce a newly developed, extremely light-sensitive protein called SOUL. They then demonstrated that it is possible to shine light through the skull to alter neuronal responses throughout the entire mouse brain, and to reach superficial regions of the macaque brain.