Dreams are a complex phenomenon that most people experience during sleep. They are characterized by a series of thoughts, images, and emotions that are felt and recalled sometimes with high vividness. Such activity is associated with the so-called rapid eye movement (REM) sleep phase, which entails a separate phase from the no-REM (NREM) sleep cycle. Brainwave activity linked to REM sleep resembles that of the waking brain making it hard to distinguish between them. Recently, new research has found for the first time a novel brain pattern that allows predicting when someone is dreaming and even the content of dreams. In this post, you will get to know better what is going on in the brain when you dream and the purpose of dreaming.Continue reading “Dreaming: A peculiar form of cognitive activity”
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?”
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”
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?
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?”
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?