Mirror Neurons Activate With Your Actions And The Actions Of Others
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In the 1990s, Italian neuroscientists discovered something amazing in the brains of macaque monkeys: there were motor (movement) cells that activated the same way when the monkeys did something as they did when the monkeys watched others do the same thing. They called these "mirror neurons." The idea is that when you watch someone else pick up a glass, kiss a loved one, or perform any other action, mirror neurons are making your brain simulate that activity; acting as if you were doing it yourself even when you're standing still. Other scientists quickly began studying their role in all sorts of areas, from empathy to autism.
Neuroscientists Found The Most Relaxing Song
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How do you manage your stress? Maybe you blow off steam by going on a run, or practice the art of mindfulness with meditation or a yoga class. You might know that music therapy has been proven effective in managing stress, but did you know that neuroscientists have determined the most relaxing song? Give it a listen in the video below, then decide if you agree with their findings.The song is "Weightless" by English ambient music band, Marconi Union. UK neuroscientists from Mindlab International conducted a study where they instructed participants to solve difficult puzzles while they were attached to sensors. While the puzzles did their magic raising the participants' stress levels, the scientists measured their brain activity, heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing. Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson of Mindlab International explains to Inc. that "Weightless" "produced a greater state of relaxation than any other music tested to date," dropping participants' anxiety rate by 65 percent.
Why Reading In The Car Makes You Carsick
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Are you reading this in the car right now? Feeling a little sick? You're not alone. Nearly 80% of the general population experiences motion sickness at some point in their life. That's because although humans have changed in many ways over our evolutionary history, our brains still need to catch up to modern travel methods. That sickly feeling you get reading in a moving vehicle all starts with your thalamus. Neuroscientist Dean Burnett from Cardiff University explains to Melissa Dahl at New York Magazine: "It's the job of the thalamus to interpret all the sensory signals the body sends its way." In everyday life, those sensory signals come from your muscles as you move, your eyes as you observe what's going on around you, and even your inner ear, which contains balance sensors that tell you which way is up and how much you're moving. But when you're reading in a car, your muscles and eyes tell your thalamus that you're sitting still while your inner ear says that you're in motion.
We're Too Self-Aware To Tickle Ourselves
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Have you ever noticed that certain areas of your body are more ticklish than others? If someone tickles your shoulder, you might not feel a thing, but have them tickle your armpits or the soles of your feet and you're sure to squirm. That's because these body parts are packed with nerve endings, the fibers of the nervous system that perceive outside information and send it up to the brain.According to Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, a neuroscientist at University College London, different parts of the brain activate if someone else is tickling you than if you're tickling yourself. When someone else tickles you and you start to laugh—a phenomenon known as "gargalesis"—both the touch and emotion and reward centers of the brain are activated. Some scientists think that this laughter may be a "false alarm" response. Our brains detect the startling contact as a potential threat, and then we laugh to signal to others that there isn't any danger after all.