Psychology Research News -- ScienceDaily

Biologist leads pioneering study on stress
A biologist conducted a pioneering research study that could help us to better understand the role of dopamine in stress resilience in humans through analyzing wild songbirds. This study could lead to increased prevention and treatment of stress-related disorders.

Newly discovered neural pathway processes acute light to affect sleep
Either to check the time or waste time, people often look at their smartphones after waking in the middle of the night. While this acute burst of light does make it more difficult to fall back to sleep, a new study reports that it won't interfere with the body's overall circadian rhythms.

Scientists stimulate neurons to induce particular perceptions in mice's minds
Hallucinations are spooky and, fortunately, fairly rare. But, a new study suggests, the real question isn't so much why some people occasionally experience them. It's why all of us aren't hallucinating all the time.

New pathways for sensory learning in the brain
Researchers have developed an automated, robotic training device that allows mice to learn at their leisure. The technology stands to further neuroscience research by allowing researchers to train animals under more natural conditions and identify mechanisms of circuit rewiring that occur during learning.

Physicists use mathematics to trace neuro transitions
Unique in its application of a mathematical model to understand how the brain transitions from consciousness to unconscious behavior, a study may have just advanced neuroscience appreciably. The findings, surprisingly by physicists, suggest that the subliminal state is the most robust part of the conscious network.

How mammals' brains evolved to distinguish odors is nothing to sniff at
Neuroscientists have discovered that at least six types of mammals -- from mice to cats -- distinguish odors in roughly the same way, using circuitry in the brain that's evolutionarily preserved across species.

Biomaterial-delivered chemotherapy leads to long-term survival in brain cancer
A combination of chemotherapy drugs during brain cancer surgery using a biodegradable paste, leads to long-term survival, researchers have discovered.

Cell types affected in brains of multiple sclerosis patients pinpointed
Scientists have discovered that a specific brain cell known as a 'projection neuron' has a central role to play in the brain changes seen in multiple sclerosis (MS). The research shows that projection neurons are damaged by the body's own immune cells, and that this damage could underpin the brain shrinkage and cognitive changes associated with MS. These new findings provide a platform for specific new MS therapies that target damaged brain cells to be developed.

How the brain distinguishes between voice and sound
Is the brain capable of distinguishing a voice from phonemes? Researchers devised pseudo-words spoken by three voices. Their aim? To observe how the brain processes this information when it focuses either on the voice or phonemes. The scientists discovered that the auditory cortex amplifies different aspects of the sounds, depending on what task is being performed. Voice-specific information is prioritized for voice differentiation, while phoneme-specific information is important for the differentiation of speech sounds.

Parkinson's: New study associates oxidative stress with the spreading of aberrant proteins
Oxidative stress could be a driving force in the spreading of aberrant proteins involved in Parkinson's disease.

Exercise offers protection against Alzheimer's
Higher levels of daily physical activity may protect against the cognitive decline and neurodegeneration (brain tissue loss) from Alzheimer's disease.

Novel therapy administered after TBI prevents brain damage
Could a therapy administered 30 minutes after a traumatic brain injury prevent damage that leads to seizures and other harmful effects? Researchers think so.

Risk and progression of Alzheimer's disease differs by sex
The abnormal accumulation of proteins in the brain is a biological marker for Alzheimer's disease, but the ways in which these proteins spread may help explain why the prevalence of Alzheimer's is higher in women than in men.

Electronic chip mimics the brain to make memories in a flash
Engineers have mimicked the human brain with an electronic chip that uses light to create and modify memories.

Why two out of three babies are cradled on the left
Over two thirds of all people prefer to carry a baby in their left arm. The figure is as high as three quarters for women, and the same also applies to right-handed people. This is the result of an analysis of 40 studies from the past 60 years.

Antioxidant precursor molecule could improve Parkinson's
The naturally occurring molecule N-acetylcysteine (NAC) shows benefit in a clinical trial for Parkinson's Disease.

How expectation influences perception
Neuroscientists have identified distinctive patterns of neural activity that encode prior beliefs and help the brain make sense of uncertain signals coming from the outside world. For the first time, they showed that prior beliefs exert their effect on behavior by warping the representation of sensory events in the brain.

Science of microdosing psychedelics remains patchy and anecdotal, say researchers
The practice of taking small, regular doses of psychedelic drugs to enhance mood, creativity, or productivity lacks robust scientific evidence, say scientists.

Scientists explore blood flow bump that happens when our neurons are significantly activated
When a group of our neurons get activated by thinking hard about a math problem or the vibrant colors of an exotic flower, within a single second blood flow to those brain cells increases a bit.

Marathon-running molecule could speed up the race for new neurological treatments
Scientists have discovered a new process that sets the fastest molecular motor on its marathon-like runs through our neurons.

The brain's pathways to imagination may hold the key to altruistic behavior
Researchers used neuroimaging to identify multiple neural pathways in the brain that explain the relationship between imagination and the willingness to help others.

Raising eyebrows on neuroinflammation: Study finds novel role for 'skin plumping' molecule
Scientists have discovered a novel mechanism and role in the brain for hyaluronic acid -- a clear, gooey substance popularized by cosmetic and skin care products. Hyaluronic acid may be the key in how an immune signal moves from the blood stream to the brain, activating the brain's resident immune cells, the microglia. Findings from this study have important implications for better treatments for stroke, neurodegenerative diseases, as well as head injuries.

Area of brain linked to spatial awareness and planning also plays role in decision making
Neuroscientists show that the posterior parietal cortex (PPC), an area of the brain often associated with planning movements and spatial awareness, also plays a crucial role in making decisions about images in the field of view.

REM sleep silences the siren of the brain
Something frightening or unpleasant does not go unnoticed. In our brain, the so-called limbic circuit of cells and connections immediately becomes active. First and foremost, such experiences activate the amygdala. In order for the brain to function properly, the siren must also be switched off again. For this, a restful REM sleep, the part of the sleep with the most vivid dreams, turns out to be essential.

Our brains appear uniquely tuned for musical pitch
Results of a study involving primates suggest that speech and music may have shaped the human brain's hearing circuits.

How sounds, shapes, speech and body movements convey emotion through one shared property
Death metal band logos often have a spiky look while romance novel titles often have a swirly script. The jaggedness or curviness of a font can be used to express an emotional tone. A new study finds that sounds, shapes, speech and body movements convey emotional arousal the same way across the senses. The findings explain why nearly anything can have an emotional tone, including art, architecture and music.

How a popular antidepressant drug could rewire the brain
ProzacĀ®, the trade name for the drug fluoxetine, was introduced to the US market for the treatment of depression in 1988. Thirty years later, scientists still don't know exactly how the medication exerts its mood-lifting effects. Now, researchers report that, in addition to the drug's known action on serotonin receptors, fluoxetine could rearrange nerve fibers in the hippocampus of mouse brains.

Exercise improves brain function in overweight and obese individuals
New findings show that, on top of its benefits for metabolism, mood, and general health, exercise also improves brain function. In recent studies, researchers learned that obese and overweight individuals are prone to insulin resistance in the brain, where it provides information about current nutritional status, as well as the rest of the body. So researchers wanted to know whether exercise can improve insulin sensitivity in the brain and improve cognition in overweight individuals.

Food and alcohol reduce activity in 'hunger neurons' via different brain pathways
How does the brain process rewards? Researchers are investigating how the brain responds differently to two commonly ingested rewards -- food and alcohol -- to understand how they alter neural activity and behavior.

'Chaos' in the home linked to poor asthma control in children
A chaotic household, as well as child and parent depression, are risk factors for worse asthma outcomes in urban minority children, according to a new article.

Sorting protein in neurons defends against neurodegenerative disease
A molecule known as VPS35 detects and removes defective proteins from neurons. Researchers show for the first time that VPS35 clears the brain of a potentially harmful protein called tau, which otherwise accumulates and contributes to neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's disease.

Gadolinium deposition occurs in early MS
A commonly used imaging linear contrast agent, gadodiamide, does accumulate in the brain early in MS but there is no discernible clinical impact.

Looking at how the brain reacts to boredom could help people cope
New WSU research shows people can be taught coping mechanisms to avoid negative responses to boring situations.

Structure of brain networks is not fixed
The shape and connectivity of brain networks -- discrete areas of the brain that work together to perform complex cognitive tasks -- can change in fundamental and recurring ways over time, according to a new study.

How the brain remembers where you're heading to
The brain appears to implement a GPS system for spatial navigation; however, it is not yet fully understood how it works. Researchers now suggest that rhythmic fluctuations in brain activity, so-called theta oscillations, may play a role in this process.

'You all look alike to me' is hard-wired in us, research finds
We are hard-wired to process -- or not process -- facial differences based on race. And that process occurs in the earliest filters of our thought process, according to newly published research.

Determined DNA hunt reveals schizophrenia clue
An 18-year study using the DNA of thousands of people in India has identified a new clue in the quest for causes of schizophrenia, and for potential treatments. This study identified a gene called NAPRT1 that encodes an enzyme involved in vitamin B3 metabolism.

A short bout of exercise enhances brain function
Neuroscientists, working with mice, have discovered that a short burst of exercise directly boosts the function of a gene that increases connections between neurons in the hippocampus, the region of the brain associated with learning and memory.

Combat veterans more likely to experience mental health issues in later life
Military veterans exposed to combat were more likely to exhibit signs of depression and anxiety in later life than veterans who had not seen combat, a new study shows.

A NEAT discovery about memory
Researchers say over expression of NEAT1, an noncoding RNA, appears to diminish the ability of older brains to form memories. Inhibiting NEAT1 via CRISPR technology could be a means to improve memory in older humans.

Pesticide exposure linked to teen depression
Adolescent depression increases with exposure to pesticides, a study in the Ecuadorian Andes shows.

Brain injury common in domestic violence
Domestic violence survivors commonly suffer repeated blows to the head and strangulation, trauma that has lasting effects that should be widely recognized by advocates, health care providers, law enforcement and others who are in a position to help, according to the authors of a new study.

The neuroscience of autism: New clues for how condition begins
Scientists have uncovered details of a key cellular mechanism crucial for proper brain development. It involves a gene that, when mutated, had previously been linked to the development of autism.

Brain imaging may help identify teens at risk of increasing alcohol use
Teenagers with large amounts of grey matter in the brain at age 14 are more likely to increase their alcohol use over the next five years, according to a whole brain imaging study.

Genetic variation linked to response to anxiety could inform personalized therapies
A new study in marmoset monkeys suggests that individual variation in genes alters our ability to regulate emotions, providing new insights that could help in the development of personaliszd therapies to tackle anxiety and depression.

Misjudging the strength of other people's emotions based on egocentric bias
People of all ages tend to misjudge the strength of other people's emotions based on an egocentric bias, according to a new study.

Why are we able to see moving objects against moving backgrounds?
If you want your friend to see you in a crowd, you wave your arms to stand out. As University of Rochester researchers found, one reason why this works is that the brain suppresses the background, allowing the person to focus on the moving object in front of them. As we age, our brains become less adept at suppressing background and reacting to foreground movement. But people can train their brain to improve.

How you and your friends can play a video game together using only your minds
Researchers have created a method for two people to help a third person solve a task using only their minds.

Brain network evaluates robot likeability
Researchers have identified a network of brain regions that work together to determine if a robot is a worthy social partner, according to a new study.

Study finds electronic cigarettes damage brain stem cells
A research team has found that electronic cigarettes, often targeted to youth and pregnant women, produce a stress response in neural stem cells, which are critical cells in the brain.