People are intuitive physicists — knowing from birth how objects under the influence of gravity are likely to fall, topple or roll. In a new study, scientists have found the brain cells apparently responsible for this innate wisdom.
Recent news from The Johns Hopkins University
This section contains regularly updated highlights of the news from around The Johns Hopkins University. Links to the complete news reports from the nine schools, the Applied Physics Laboratory and other centers and institutes are to the left, as are links to help news media contact the Johns Hopkins communications offices.
More than a century ago Pavlov figured out that dogs fed after hearing a bell eventually began to salivate when they heard the ring. A Johns Hopkins University-led research team has now figured out a key aspect of why.
You see a man at the grocery store. Is that the fellow you went to college with or just a guy who looks like him?
One tiny spot in the brain has the answer.
Johns Hopkins University neuroscientists have identified the part of the hippocampus that creates and processes this type of memory, furthering our understanding of how the mind works, and what’s going wrong when it doesn’t. Their findings are published in the current issue of the journal Neuron.
By tracking brain activity when an animal stops to look around its environment, neuroscientists at Johns Hopkins University believe they can mark the birth of a memory.
Minimizing a person’s sight for as little as a week may help improve the brain’s ability to process hearing, neuroscientists have found.
In the today’s online issue of Current Biology, a Johns Hopkins team led by neuroscientists Ed Connor and Kechen Zhang describes what appears to be the next step in understanding how the brain compresses visual information down to the essentials. They found that cells in area “V4”, a midlevel stage in the primate brain’s object vision pathway, are highly selective for image regions containing acute curvature. Experiments by doctoral student Eric Carlson showed that V4 cells are very responsive to sharply curved or angled edges, and much less responsive to flat edges or shallow curves.
Back in 1980 when The Empire Strikes Back hit the big screen, it seemed like the most fantastic of science fiction scenarios: Luke Skywalker getting a fully functional bionic arm to replace the one he had lost to arch enemy Darth Vader. Thirty years later, such a device is more the stuff of fact and less of fiction, as increasingly sophisticated artificial limbs are being developed that allow users a startlingly life-like range of motion and fine motor control. Johns Hopkins neuroscientist Steven Hsiao, however, isn’t satisfied that a prosthetic limb simply allows its user to move. He wants to provide the user the ability to feel what the artificial limb is touching, such as the texture and shape of a quarter, or the comforting perception of holding hands. Accomplishing these goals requires understanding how the brain processes the multitude of sensations that come in daily through our fingers and hands.