Curiosity Makes one a Better Learner

Being interested in something makes it easier to learn; the researchers also found that  incidental information presented during the learning phase was also recalled better. The link contains a video with the authors explaining their findings. States of Curiosity Modulate Hippocampus-Dependent Learning via the Dopaminergic Circuit Summary People find it easier to learn about topics…

High Fat Diet Skews Brain Reward Signal

High fat diet reduces reward signalling so you eat more to boost that signal. The study below gets a full, reader-friendly treatment at the neurorexia blog. http://neurorexia.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/how-a-high-fat-diet-makes-that-stick-of-celery-seem-less-rewarding/ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23950538 A gut lipid messenger links excess dietary fat to dopamine deficiency. Excessive intake of dietary fats leads to diminished brain dopaminergic function. It has been proposed that…

Please Send Us Money So We Can Release Your Winnings

Why are elderly people frequent victims of implausible ‘get rich’ scams? This study suggests the elderly are less able to detect reward prediction errors – the difference between the predicted reward (what they are promised) and the actual reward (what they get). Young and old participants were given a gambling task to guess which of…

Athletic Mice Have Bigger (mid) Brains

These are not dumb jocks. Mice that have been selectively breed for voluntary running have larger midbrains. This supports a model that proposes sections of the brain can evolve independent of the rest of the brain.  Also see “Genetic architecture supports mosaic brain evolution and independent brain–body size regulation” See also http://jeb.biologists.org/content/216/3/iii.full http://jeb.biologists.org/content/216/3/515 Mice selectively bred…