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Dunbar’s number: Why we can only maintain 150 relationships

November 5th, 2019 at 12:29 pm » Comments Off

The theory of Dunbar’s number holds that we can only really maintain about 150 connections at once. But is the rule true in today’s world of social media? If you’ve ever been romantically rejected by someone who just wanted to be friends, you may have delivered a version of this line: “I’ve got enough friends […]



Mini-brains grown in a lab have human-like brain activity

September 10th, 2019 at 3:29 am » Comments Off

A new study promises new paths to research mental illness, but raises questions about whether so-called organoids could develop consciousness Alysson Muotri was dumbfounded when the pea-sized blobs of human brain cells that he was growing in the lab started emitting electrical pulses. He initially thought the electrodes he was using were malfunctioning. Muotri was […]



Cambridge scientists reverse ageing process in rat brain stem cells

September 9th, 2019 at 11:34 am » Comments Off

Aged rat brain stem cells grown on a soft surface (right) show more healthy, vigorous growth than similar aged brain stem cells grown on a stiff surface (left) New research reveals how increasing brain stiffness as we age causes brain stem cell dysfunction, and demonstrates new ways to reverse older stem cells to a younger, […]



A map of the brain could help to guess what you’re reading

September 1st, 2019 at 3:18 am » Comments Off

A 3D map of how the brain responds to words could unlock new ways to understand and treat dyslexia and speech disorders. Map-making: Researchers at UC Berkeley used functional MRI to measure nine volunteers’ brain activity (using blood flow as a proxy) as they listened to, and then read, stories from “The Moth Radio Hour,” […]



Neuroscientists decode brain speech signals into written text

August 15th, 2019 at 11:43 am » Comments Off

Study funded by Facebook aims to improve communication with paralysed patients The study recording brain signals sent to trigger organ movement is considered a breakthrough. When Stephen Hawking wanted to speak, he chose letters and words from a synthesiser screen controlled by twitches of a muscle in his cheek. But the painstaking process the cosmologist […]



Chinese scientists have put human brain genes in monkeys—and yes, they may be smarter

April 19th, 2019 at 10:08 am » Comments Off

A quest to understand how human intelligence evolved raises some ethical questions. Human intelligence is one of evolution’s most consequential inventions. It is the result of a sprint that started millions of years ago, leading to ever bigger brains and new abilities. Eventually, humans stood upright, took up the plow, and created civilization, while our […]



Brains of 3 people have been successfully connected, enabling them to share thoughts

January 8th, 2019 at 11:37 am » Comments Off

Neuroscientists have successfully hooked up a three-way brain connection to allow three people to share their thoughts – and in this case, play a Tetris-style game. The team thinks this wild experiment could be scaled up to connect whole networks of people, and yes, it’s as weird as it sounds.



Can tiny doses of magic mushrooms unlock creativity?

November 3rd, 2018 at 11:30 am » Comments Off

Preliminary study suggests that ‘microdoses’ of psychedelics may enhance a person’s creative problem solving abilities The use of minute doses of magic mushrooms and truffles containing psychedelic substances could induce a state of unconstrained thought that may produce more new, creative ideas. ‘Microdosing’ in this way may allow people to experience the creative benefits of […]



Scientists have connected the brains of 3 people, enabling them to share thoughts

October 10th, 2018 at 10:48 am » Comments Off

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Neuroscientists have successfully hooked up a three-way brain connection to allow three people share their thoughts – and in this case, play a Tetris-style game. The team thinks this wild experiment could be scaled up to connect whole networks of people, and yes, it’s as weird as it sounds. […]



We’re starting to learn some incredible things about hypnosis

September 12th, 2018 at 8:58 am » Comments Off

About 15% of the population is way more hypnotisable than everybody else. There is increasing scientific evidence to say that hypnosis is an important psychological tool with some exciting applications, from curing anxiety to reducing pain, and potentially fighting addiction. So why do we still tend to think of hypnosis as a sideshow performance? And […]



Where do you go when you die? The increasing signs that human consciousness remains after death

February 12th, 2018 at 12:11 pm » Comments Off

Clinically, we understand death to mean the state that takes hold after our hearts stop beating. Blood circulation comes to a halt, we don’t breathe, our brains shut down—and that’s what divides the states we occupy from one moment (alive) to the next (dead).



Will we ever be able to upload a mind to a new body?

February 12th, 2018 at 11:51 am » Comments Off

In Altered Carbon, the body no longer matters. As one character quipped: “You shed it like a snake sheds its skin.” That’s because the human consciousness has been digitized, and can be moved between bodies—both real and synthetic.



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