This Week on NeuroScientistNews: 19 January – 23 January
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Music across cultures; emotional differences in men and women; long-term outcomes of parental programs and more.
♦ Men and Women Process Emotions Differently
It is known that women often consider emotional events to be more emotionally stimulating than men do. Earlier studies have shown that emotions influence our memory: the more emotional a situation is, the more likely we are to remember it. This raises the question as to whether women often outperform men in memory tests because of the way they process emotions. A research team from the University of Basel's “Molecular and Cognitive Neurosciences” Transfaculty Research Platform attempted to find out.
♦ Early parental program improves long-term childhood outcomes
Children whose parents participated in a prenatal program aimed at enhancing couples' co-parenting relationship were better adjusted at age seven than children whose parents were assigned to a control group, according to Penn State researchers. Teachers reported significantly better adjustment and positive school engagement among children whose parents received the intervention than in the control children, the researchers reported in the current issue of the Journal of Family Psychology.
Whether you are a Pygmy in the Congolese rainforest or a hipster in downtown Montreal, certain aspects of music will touch you in exactly the same ways. A team of researchers from McGill, Technische Universität Berlin, and the University of Montreal arrived at this conclusion after traveling deep into the rainforest to play music to a very isolated group of people, the Mbenzélé Pygmies, who live without access to radio, television or electricity. They then compared how the Mbenzélé responded both to their own and to unfamiliar Western music, with the way that a group of Canadians (in not-so-remote downtown Montreal) responded to the same pieces.
♦ Researchers Discover "Idiosyncratic" Brain Patterns in Autism
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has been studied for many years, but there are still many more questions than answers. For example, some research into the brain functions of individuals with autism spectrum have found a lack of synchronization ('connectivity') between different parts of the brain that normally work in tandem. But other studies have found the exact opposite — over-synchronization in the brains of those with ASD. New research recently published in Nature Neuroscience suggests that the various reports — of both over- and under-connectivity — may, in fact, reflect a deeper principle of brain function
♦ Visual restoration may never be complete in long-term blindness
Recent scientific advances have meant that eyesight can be partially restored to those who previously would have been blind for life. However, scientists at the University of Montreal and the University of Trento have discovered that the rewiring of the senses that occurs in the brains of the long-term blind means that visual restoration may never be complete.