Brain Plasticity and Environmental Manipulations That Can Counteract Brain Pathology and Aging

Written by Brett Weiss August 2019 Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay Brain plasticity, the ability of neurons of the cerebrum to change structure and function with experience, constitutes a remarkable feature of cerebral neurons.  How does this ability evolve over the lifespan of neurotypical individuals?  Also, how might environmental manipulations facilitate enhanced brain plasticity …

Dog Cognition and the Domestication Hypothesis

Written by Brett Weiss August 2019 Image by Gorkhs from Pixabay Previous studies have shown that domestic dogs, Canis familiaris, respond to pointing gestures from humans to find hidden food.  Previous studies have also shown that hand-reared wolves, Canis lupus, do not have this ability, failing to find hidden food given human pointing gestures.  Moreover, …

Caffeine: Mechanisms of Action, Effects on Cognition, and Potential Toxicity

Written by Brett Weiss July 2019 Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay More than 80% of the US population consumes caffeine (1,3,7-trimethylxanthine) (McLellan et al., 2016).  Many people who consume this psychoactive stimulant do so to enhance cognition and physical performance.  Recent scientific research has provided evidence that caffeine enhances attention, vigilance, and motivation.  Athletes and …

Immediate-Early Genes: Markers of Neurons in a Memory Trace

By Brett Weiss July 2019 Image by thesi from Pixabay Synaptic plasticity entails the changes that take place between neurons at their synapses based on activity.  Experience facilitates the activity leading to synaptic changes.  The synaptic changes lead to memory formation and learning in general.  The cellular mechanisms at play in synaptic plasticity include long-term …

Theory of Mind: Predicting Others’ Thoughts, Intentions, Beliefs, and Behavior

Written by Brett Weiss July 2019 Image by ElisaRiva from Pixabay Our social lives depend upon theory of mind, defined as attributing thoughts, intentions, and beliefs to others. We develop our theory of mind to predict future actions of others based on our past experiences with those individuals. Interestingly, when we have little acquired data …

An Interesting State of Consciousness: Lucid Dream

Written by Brett Weiss July 2019 Image by 95C from Pixabay I wrote the following after waking up this morning from one of the most interesting lucid dreams that I can recall having (I have frequent lucid dreams): I just awoke from one of the most interesting lucid dreams I’ve ever had.  The message of …

A Bark Scorpion Stung Me

Written by Brett Weiss July, 2019 Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay             About a week ago, as I worked to clean a hot tub in southern Arizona where I currently reside, a bark scorpion stung my right ankle.  I moved to Arizona about six years ago so do not consider myself a native and have …

Brett’s Neuroscience Podcast: Episode 3

Image by MARIO OLAYA from Pixabay This podcast deals with evidence suggesting that elevated testosterone is a physiological driving force in prosociality in ingroup settings along with antisocial behavior and hostility toward outgroups (parochial altruism). Previous research has only implicated elevated testosterone levels in dominance behaviors, hostility, and antisocial behaviors.