Articles

Brain’s Primitive Sensory Region also Participates in Sophisticated Learning

Columbia neuroscientists have revealed that a simple brain region, known for processing basic sensory information, can also guide complex feats of mental activity. The new study involving mice demonstrated that cells in the somatosensory cortex, the brain area responsible for touch, also play a key role in reward learning, the sophisticated type of learning that allows the brain to associate an action with a pleasurable outcome. It is the basis for how we connect our work in the office to that paycheck, or that A+ to the studying we did in preparation for the test.

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Learning New Vocabulary During Deep Sleep

Researchers showed that we can acquire the vocabulary of a new language during distinct phases of slow-wave sleep and that the sleep-learned vocabulary could be retrieved unconsciously following waking. Memory formation appeared to be mediated by the same brain structures that also mediate wake vocabulary learning.

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American Girls Read and Write Better than Boys

As early as the fourth grade, girls perform better than boys on standardized tests in reading and writing, and as they get older that achievement gap widens even more, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

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How Cannabis and Cannabis-based Drugs Harm the Brain

A new study shows that the long-term use of either cannabis or cannabis-based drugs impairs memory. The study, published in the Journal of Neurochemistry, reveals the implications for both recreational users and people who use the drug to combat epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and chronic pain.

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Study: Key Social Reward Circuit in the Brain Impaired in Autistic Kids

Children and adolescents with autism have a surplus of synapses in the brain, and this excess is due to a slowdown in a normal brain “pruning” process during development, according to a study by neuroscientists at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC).

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Inability to Recognize Faces Linked to Broader Visual Recognition Problems

Imagine that you're supposed to meet colleagues for dinner, only you can't remember what their faces look like. For some, this is a reality, as people with face blindness or developmental prosopagnosia (DP) have severe difficulties recognizing faces, including those of family and friends, despite having no history of brain damage (e.g., brain trauma, head injuries). A new study finds that developmental prosopagnosia often occurs as a result of a neurobiological problem in the brain, which affects visual recognition broadly.

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The Secret to Honing Kids’ Language and Literacy

Researchers found that a child's ability to self-regulate is a critical element in childhood language and literacy development, and that the earlier they can hone these skills, the faster language and literacy skills develop leading to better skills in the long run.

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Scientists Pinpoint Neural Interactions that Help Us Learn by Watching Others

It's often said that experience is the best teacher, but the experiences of other people may be even better. This kind of learning, known as observational learning, offers a major advantage.

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Study Explores Link between Curiosity and School Achievement

Researchers know that certain factors give children a leg up when it comes to school performance. Family income, access to early childhood programs and home environment rank high on the list. Now, researchers are looking at another potentially advantageous element: curiosity.

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A Letter We’ve Seen Millions of Times, Yet Can’t Write

Despite seeing it millions of times in pretty much every picture book, every novel, every newspaper and every email message, people are essentially unaware of the more common version of the lowercase print letter 'g,' Johns Hopkins researchers have found.

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Want to Listen Better? Listen with Your Right Ear

Listening requires sensitive hearing and the ability to process information into cohesive meaning. Add everyday background noise and constant interruptions, and the ability to comprehend what is heard becomes that much more difficult. Audiology researchers have found that in such demanding environments, both children and adults depend more on their right ear for processing and retaining what they hear.

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Who’s Smarter in the Classroom — Men or Women?

If you believe it, you can achieve it. You've probably heard this motivational phrase more than once. But what if your beliefs about your own intelligence compared to others come down to your gender?

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