January 11, 2013 Does music have a history? Why? Listening to Bowie, and reading Gary Marcus's Guitar Zero provoke commentator Alva Noë to wonder.
January 10, 2013 In his new book, Jared Diamond describes how readily people in small-scale societies learn to speak many distinct languages. After reading Diamond's book, commentator Barbara J. King takes time to consider what we in the U.S. may lose in a sea of monolingualism.
December 7, 2012 We are fascinated by pictures of the brain produced by new imaging technologies. Alva Noë reminds us that these pictures are not images of the brain in action; they are not pictures of the mind at work. They are bits of theory.
November 21, 2012 Ultrasound often catches fetuses opening their mouths, but whether they're really yawning or not has been up for debate. Now, with some fancy ultrasound techniques, scientists have show that babies do indeed yawn in the womb.
November 15, 2012 Scientists have found rappers and jazz musicians use their brains in similar ways when it comes to improvisation. Brain scans show distinct differences in which parts of the brain are most active during rap performances of memorized pieces compared with those that are done freestyle.
August 20, 2012 People with extraordinary autobiographical memories also tend to have obsessive tendencies, researchers are learning. Brain scans reveal structural differences in the brains of these people, including a larger-than-normal caudate, a brain area linked to OCD.
June 11, 2012 A freezer that went on the fritz damaged about one-third of the brains from autistic people being stored at a research depository near Boston. The malfunction, whose cause remains under investigation, could slow research into the disorder.
April 4, 2012 Research finds that bilingual children are better at "executive processing," which includes being able to pay attention, plan and organize thoughts.
March 29, 2012 The human brain may be just three pounds of jelly. But it turns out that jelly is very organized. New scanning techniques show that the brain's communications pathways are laid out in a highly ordered three-dimensional grid that look a bit like a map of Manhattan.
February 3, 2012 Research on decoding language within the brain opens up new prospects for communicating with incapacitated people. Some, however, worry that it could also be a threat to privacy. Commentator Alva Noe says not to worry, we are already excellent mind readers.
January 6, 2012 A study of more than 7,000 British civil servants finds that age-related declines in cognitive ability start as early as 45. The results suggest that efforts to head off mental problems late in life need to begin in middle age, the study's authors write at the end of their paper.
December 28, 2011 Pigging out for even a day causes inflammation in the brains of lab rats, and scientists think this might help explain why it's so hard for people to lose weight. If eating too much inflames human brains, too, then scientists might be able to come up with new ideas for taming obesity.