‘Straight from the lab’

  • When our brains are damaged, they make new ones. New research shows that these future neurons are born in the forebrain, migrate to the olfactory bulb (which processes smell), maturing into neurons along the way. As a result, the loss of smell may be one early sign of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
  • Individuals with damage to certain parts of their frontal lobes tend to lack empathy and compassion in social situations. New research finds that this brain damage – and resulting emotional disconnection – may significantly influence moral reasoning ability. When research subjects were confronted with the hypothetical option to either kill a person or risk future harm to many, normal subjects either waivered or said they couldn’t. In contrast, the brain-damaged people regularly showed a willingness to bring harm to an individual.
  • Unfortunately you can’t play foreign language CDs and hope juniors will pick up the lingo. While infants learn any language when exposed to it in person, they apparently tune it out as background noise if it’s only presented electronically.
  • A new study of monkeys reveals that perception of one sense might enhance the perception of another without higher brain areas ever being involved. One monkeys learned to associate auditory and visual stimuli, their visual cortices intergrated the auditory area. Since we may hear faster than we see, when the two occur together, sound may speed up our ability to process visual stimuli.

Source: Johnston, J. (2009) The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Psychology, Penguin Group: New York


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