Blog, Brain research, Cognitive Neuroscience, Cognitive Psychology, EEG research, Emotional Brain

Binaural Beats as Brain Enhancers: is there any Scientific Proof?

Maybe you have heard of binaural beats, a soundwave stimulus that has spread across the internet for having positive effects on mood and cognition. Binaural beats are auditory illusions that occur when presenting two tones with a slight frequency mismatch to each ear separately. Some evidence support that such acoustic stimulation can train the brain signals, altering both, specific brainwaves and connectivity patterns. Other evidence indicates just placebo effects suggesting no better benefits than monoaural beat stimuli. Today, the assumed exceptional effects of binaural beats on human emotion and cognition remain still unclear. Regardless of such discrepancies, what is the scientific evidence of its claimed effects on the human brain?

Continue reading “Binaural Beats as Brain Enhancers: is there any Scientific Proof?”
Blog, Brain research, Cognitive Neuroscience, Cognitive Psychology, Eating behavior, Emotional Brain

Food Preferences: How the Brain Drives our Eating Behavior

You probably have noticed that after the intake of certain types of food and drinks, you experience a change in your mood or even a boost in your mental activity. Food intake is not only a basic human need but a reward for most people. When we eat, our brain responds instantly to the taste and smell of food as well as other sensory properties like visual appearance. Although our food choices mainly depend on homeostatic factors, there are other internal states referred to as psychological “drivers”, also playing an important role in many of our daily eating decisions. Such motivational drivers are expressed when your brain triggers goal-directed actions to consume food even without feeling hunger. While it is true that feeling hungry is not a voluntary decision, whether and how to satisfy or not hunger it is indeed voluntary. In that process, the brain handles multiple aspects of food stimuli even those that you are not aware of.

Continue reading “Food Preferences: How the Brain Drives our Eating Behavior”
Affective Neuroscience, Blog, Cognitive Neuroscience, Cognitive Psychology, Uncategorized

Neurofeedback: learning to unlock the brain’s self-regulating ability

Have you noticed that some of our actions or behaviors are not carried out consciously? The truth is that we are not fully aware of everything that happens inside our brain like all the connections triggered when an emotion or thought suddenly appears in our mind. Instead, we know that the major brain activity is highly driven by both, internal biological signals linked to the autonomous system and external cues coming from the environment. Apparently, all these brain activity generators are beyond our conscious control. But is this really the case?

Illustrated-Header2-1500x475

Continue reading “Neurofeedback: learning to unlock the brain’s self-regulating ability”

Blog, Brain research, Cognitive Neuroscience, EEG research, Neurostimulation, Neurotechnology

Neurotechnology: where we are and where we are going?

brain-hack

Today,  advance “brain-reading” technology makes increasingly possible to access an individual’s mental activiy. Although it may sound a bit scary, the reality is that scientists from different  fields are already working with sophisticated technologies to “decipher” the bases human thoughts in real-time. Control a computer, move an artificial arm, or obtain knowledge of individuals´ mood and thoughts are just few examples of the advances of neurotechnology. Very recently last summer, Tesla founder Elon Musk, presented to the big public an implantable brain device capable of reading users’ minds. 

One interesting question is why “mind-reading” technology could be necessary for our lives? Leaving aside ethical issues, should we worry if modern neurotechnology can figure out what we are thinking? Continue reading “Neurotechnology: where we are and where we are going?”

Blog, Neurostimulation

Investigating the brain from home: how can it possibly be?

The wide world pandemic COVID-19 has generated an unprecedented social situation considerably affecting the scientific work. With a large number of ideas to implement, experiments to run, data to analyze and outcomes to share with society, researchers have left the labs adapting their scientific activity to current social distancing measures. But, how are they actually approaching research from home?

Imagen2

 

Leaving the lab temporarily

Following the advice of authorities, hundreds of brain research labs and neuroscience institutes all over the world have closed their facilities and no single experiment or laboratory activity is being carried out. Despite the apparent extra time in the comfort of home, it’clear that this current model of socially distant science is not desirable for the future. For every lab, it’s extremely disruptive and costly. 

0319 Morley Nelson closed sign

The good news is that researchers are finding ways to make progressnonetheless. Even with labs closed and separated from each other, we are still coming together to advance in our respective everyday research activities. Thanks to remote technology and online platforms, research is possible from home. Are you wondering how are we managing? Continue reading “Investigating the brain from home: how can it possibly be?”

Blog

The impact of illusory self-motion in virtual reality: does it helps?

Visual information is a key aspect of human perception that facilitates successful interaction with the environment. When moving, we experience the perception of self-motion adapting our velocity and body posture to space. In part, this is possible because of the close link between two brain systems: the visual cortex and the vestibular cortex. The main assumption is that both systems contribute to distinguishing between self-motion and motion of the environment. However, sometimes these two systems are in conflict like when we experience self-motion when actually is the scene that moves and not us as happens in a simulator or virtual reality settings. This phenomenon of illusory self-motion is called vection and has been well investigated during the last decades.

An illusion for you but a conflict in your brain

Have you ever been seating on a stationary train before departing when the train on the neighboring track begins to move? You will probably feel like the train you are sitting in is starting to move instead of the train on the next track. This is a real-life situation that perfectly illustrates the experience of illusory self-motion perception. The good news is that there is a scientific explanation.

giphy1

Continue reading “The impact of illusory self-motion in virtual reality: does it helps?”

Blog

Can brain technology increase mental processing speed?

Processing speed is an important skill of the cognitive system that allows the execution of various mental operations, ranging from seemingly simple perceptual abilities to highly complex problem-solving.  Although some individuals perform faster than others, it has nothing to do with intelligence. It just reflects how fast a person can manage and effectively use information. Surely, we all would like to overcome our current processing speed and excel in our cognitive performance at work, studies or sports. The good news is that, far from having to repeat a task hundreds of times, there are new ways to get the brain to process faster and more efficiently. Today, the brain optimization phenomenon is not a question of imagination because scientifically it is already possible. But before considering increasing your processing speed, you may want to know how this technology really works in the brain and how realistic it can be.

What makes the brain perform fast or slow?

Continue reading “Can brain technology increase mental processing speed?”

Affective Neuroscience, Blog, Brain research, EEG research, Emotional Brain, Emotional development, Infants research

Exploring the brain correlates of emotions in babies

One of the most interesting topics in the field of emotional development research relates to infants´ capacity to express and experience different emotional states. A general question refers to when emotions first emerge in humans life.  Approach and withdrawal are two important concepts in the definition of human´s emotions. Both constructs have not typically been viewed as features of infant emotional behavior until late in the first year. However, when looking directly into infants´ brain, researchers have found a different story suggesting that infants experience positive and negative emotions from birth but in a very basic way and not as adults do.

Infants´ emotions are not equivalent to adults emotions

Continue reading “Exploring the brain correlates of emotions in babies”

Bilingualism, Blog, Brain research, Cognitive Neuroscience, Numerical Cognition

Bilingual brain: a preferred language for math?

The phenomenon of bilingualism is an important research topic in cognitive neuroscience. If you are bilingual you probably have felt the need to count or perform simple arithmetic – such as additions and multiplications-  using one particular language, even when communicating more frequently with your other language. You may wonder if your brain works differently compared to monolinguals or why you find more difficult to perform mental calculations when you are not using your preferred language for math. But for the brain, what it means to be bilingual?

Bilingual advantage yes or no?

Continue reading “Bilingual brain: a preferred language for math?”