This Week on NeuroScientistNews: 19 January – 23 January
News Jan 24, 2015
Music across cultures; emotional differences in men and women; long-term outcomes of parental programs and more.
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.
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.
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
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.
When infants are playing with objects, their early attempts to pay attention to things are accompanied by bursts of high-frequency activity in their brain. But what happens when parents play together with them? New research shows for the first time that when adults are engaged in joint play together with their infant, their own brains show similar bursts of high-frequency activity.
Many species of mammals have evolved what appear to be paradoxical behaviours towards their young. Like humans, most exhibit nurturing, protective behaviours, and in some circumstances even act as surrogate parents. However, virgin males often engage in infanticide as a strategy to propagate their own genes. How are these conflicting social behaviours controlled?