If you’ve ever done Karaoke, then you know how horribly some people sing, especially when the background music is too loud for them to hear themselves. The ability to adjust to the environment is essential for all sensory systems, which use feedback mechanisms to modify behavior. Usually the environmental cues are contaminated by noise, so your brain has to decide whether to modify behavior based on sensory feedback (and risk “adapting” to signals that do not accurately reflect performance) or to ignore sensory input (and risk leaving errors uncorrected). So, how does your brain deal with this mismatch between the actual and expected sensory feedback, so you can have a better Karaoke performance?Continue reading
One of the fundamental goals of cognitive and systems neuroscience is to create a computer program that can simulate the activity of the human brain, from single neurons, through network level processing, to influences on behavior. The only problem is that the human brain contains almost 90 billion neurons with an estimated total of 100 trillion synapses! As staggeringly large as those numbers are, researchers actually aren’t too far away from producing such a complex computer program.Continue reading
Your brain is endowed with the fascinating ability to detect saliency in the world. This means that it works to recognize patterns in the presence of excessive sensory information, which usually contains abundant noise. Each of your sensory systems is tuned to maximize this signal to noise ratio.Continue reading
The chorus of “Gangnam Style” makes us promptly break into a dance! Adele’s “Someone Like You” brings tears to our eyes. An electrifying rock concert brings shivers down our spines!
How do we feel music when, in reality, we’re only listening to it?Continue reading
If you think about it, most of our daily lives revolve around food: when our next meal will be, what it will be, and how yummy it will be! Evolutionarily, these have been essential thoughts for our survival, so that when we find food, we are compelled to eat as much as we can. Not only does this ensure that we get all our necessary nutrients, but it also keeps competitors from stealing our meals.Continue reading
My answer is YES, all the time, no exceptions! Do you remember when Miranda from “Sex and the City” was so addicted to chocolate cake that even after she threw it away, she pulled a piece of cake out of the trashcan and ate it? No doubt we have all had a moment when we knew we should stop but it was impossible to resist even when we are not hungry! So, why do we indulge in sweets? Is it because of our emotions, or is it due to chemicals in our brains?Continue reading