Scientists have been studying curiosity since the 19th century, but combining techniques from several fields now makes it possible for the first time to study it with full scientific rigor, according to the authors of a new paper. Benjamin Hayden and Celeste Kidd, researchers in brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester, are proposing that scientists utilize these techniques to focus on curiositys function, evolution, mechanism, and development, rather than on what it is and what it isnt. Curiosity is a long-standing problem that is fascinating, but has been difficult to approach scientifically, said Hayden, an assistant professor and co-author of a Perspective article published today in Neuron.
Because sound travels much more slowly than light, we can often see distant events before we hear them. That is why we can count the seconds between a lightning flash and its thunder to estimate their distance. But new research from the University of Rochester reveals that our brains can also detect and process sound delays that are too short to be noticed consciously. And they found that we use even that unconscious information to fine tune what our eyes see when estimating distances to nearby events.
Infants can use their expectations about the world to rapidly shape their developing brains, researchers have found. A series of experiments with infants 5 to 7 months old has shown that portions of babies brains responsible for visual processing respond not just to the presence of visual stimuli, but also to the mere expectation of visual stimuli, according to researchers from the University of Rochester and the University of South Carolina.
HOUSTON By analyzing the signals of individual neurons in animals undergoing behavioral tests, neuroscientists at Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine, the University of Geneva and the University of Rochester have deciphered the code the brain uses to make the most of its inherently noisy neuronal circuits. The human brain contains about 100 billion neurons, and each of these sends signals to thousands of other neurons each second. Understanding how neurons work, both individually and collectively, is important to better understand how humans think, as well as to treat neurological and psychiatric disorders like Alzheimers disease, Parkinsons disease, autism, epilepsy, schizophrenia, depression, traumatic brain injury and paralysis.
Our brains track moving objects by applying one of the algorithms your phones GPS uses, according to researchers at the University of Rochester. This same algorithm also explains why we are fooled by several motion-related optical illusions, including the sudden break of baseballs well known curveball illusion. The new open-access study published in PNAS shows that our brains apply an algorithm, known as a Kalman filter, when tracking an objects position. This algorithm helps the brain process less than perfect visual signals, such as when objects move to the periphery of our visual field where acuity is low.
Monkeys cant count. But they can mentally keep track of and compare approximate quantities that increase one item at a time. That shows that monkeys use a kind of reasoning that also underlies human counting, researchers report May 7 in Psychological Science.
As social creatures, we tend to mimic each others posture, laughter, and other behaviors, including how we speak. Now a new study shows that people with similar views tend to more closely mirror, or align, each others speech patterns. In addition, people who are better at compromising align more closely. Few people are aware that they alter their word pronunciation, speech rate, and even the structure of their sentences during conversation, explained Florian Jaeger, associate professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester and coauthor of the study recently published in Language Variation and Change. What we have found is that the degree to which speakers align is socially mediated.
Monkeys are notoriously curious, and new research has quantified just how eager they are to gain new information, even if there are not immediate benefits. The findings offer insights into how a certain part of the brain shared by monkeys and humans plays a role in decision making, and perhaps even in some disorders and addictions in humans. The study, by researchers at the University of Rochester and Columbia University, shows that rhesus macaques have such robust curiosity that they are willing to give up a surprisingly large portion of a potential prize in order to quickly find out if they selected the winning option at a game of chance.
Each year, Forbes Magazine lists the top 30 people under the age of 30 who have reached notable success in their chosen field. Elika Bergelson, a research assistant professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences (BCS) at the University of Rochester, was selected for the 2015 list of 30 Under 30 in Science in the Jan. 19 issue of Forbes.
An interdisciplinary team of University neuroscientists and neurosurgeons has used a new imaging technique to show how the human brain heals itself in just a few weeks following surgical removal of a brain tumor. In a study featured on the cover of the current issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine, the team found that recovery of vision in patients with pituitary tumors is predicted by the integrity of myelinthe insulation that wraps around connections between neuronsin the optic nerves.
A new study shows for the first time that playing action video games improves not just the skills taught in the game, but learning capabilities more generally. Prior research by our group and others has shown that action gamers excel at many tasks. In this new study, we show they excel because they are better learners, explained Daphne Bavelier, a research professor in brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester. And they become better learners, she said, by playing the fast-paced action games.
Recent studies showed that the color red tends increase our attraction toward others, feelings of jealousy, and even reaction times. Now, new research shows that female monkeys also respond to the color red, suggesting that biology, rather than our culture, may play the fundamental role in our red reactions.
David C. Knill, professor of brain and cognitive sciences, and associate director of the Center for Visual Science, passed away suddenly on October 6th at the age of 53.
Elika Bergelsons pathbreaking research on how babies acquire language will advance more quickly, thanks to a $1.25 M award from the National Institutes of Health. The NIH has recognized Bergelson as one of the nations exceptional early career scientist by naming her as one of this years 17 Early Independence Award recipients.
Humans have a well-documented tendency to see winning and losing streaks in situations that, in fact, are random. But scientists disagree about whether the hot-hand bias is a cultural artifact picked up in childhood or a predisposition deeply ingrained in the structure of our cognitive architecture.
American children learn the meanings of number words gradually: First they understand one, then they add two, three, and four, in sequence. At that point, however, a dramatic shift in understanding takes place, and children grasp the meanings of not only five and six, but all of the number words they know.
Richard Aslin, the William R. Kenan Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and director of the Rochester Center for Brain Imaging at the University of Rochester, was inducted into the National Academy of Sciences at its 151st annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
Find a space with total darkness and slowly move your hand from side to side in front of your face. What do you see? If the answer is a shadowy shape moving past, you are probably not imagining things.
A brief visual task can predict IQ, according to a new study. This surprisingly simple exercise measures the brains unconscious ability to filter out visual movement. The study shows that individuals whose brains are better at automatically suppressing background motion perform better on standard measures of intelligence.
Children with autism see simple movement twice as quickly as other children their age, and this hypersensitivity to motion may provide clues to a fundamental cause of the developmental disorder, according to a new study.
Opposing thumbs, expressive faces, complex social systems: its hard to miss the similarities between apes and humans. Now a new study with a troop of zoo baboons and lots of peanuts shows that a less obvious traitthe ability to understand numbersalso is shared by man and his primate cousins.
Using brain scans of children and adults watching Sesame Street, cognitive scientists are learning how childrens brains change as they develop intellectual abilities like reading and math.
Cognitive scientists have good news for linguistic purists terrified about the corruption of their mother tongue.
For the past four decades, the marshmallow test has served as a classic experimental measure of childrens self-control: will a preschooler eat one of the fluffy white confections now or hold out for two later?
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