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How is conceptual knowledge represented in the brain such that we can flexibly use it to interpret unfamiliar information or to infer relations we’ve never directly experienced? One means of organizing conceptual knowledge would be in a kind of internal map. Thus, in order to use a map-like representation to transfer meaning to novel information via similarity to familiar exemplars, the map would have to be dynamically defined along those feature dimensions that are currently relevant to the concept.
Stephanie Theves and Christian Doeller together with Guillén Fernández of the Donders Institute Nijmegen, have now shown such a distinction between conceptually relevant and overall features for the mapping function of the hippocampus. more

Individual frequency can be used to specifically influence certain areas of the brain and thus the abilities processed in them - solely by electrical stimulation on the scalp, without any surgical intervention. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences have now demonstrated this for the first time. more

The brain never processes the same information in the same way. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (MPI CBS) have found out why this is the case and how it works. A decisive role plays a critical state of the neuronal networks. more

Our brains construct mental maps of the environment from the experiences of our senses. This allows us to orient ourselves, remember where something happened, and plan where we go next. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig and the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience in Trondheim have now developed a new computer model that can finely watch the brain as it orients in space and remembers things. In their recent publication in Nature Communications, they show that newly formed memories affect how we perceive the world around us: the more familiar our environment is, the fewer information needs to be integrated. This is directly reflected in our brain activity and can now be measured. more

The less animal products someone consumes, the lower his body mass index and the less he tends to be extroverted. This is the result of a large-scale study on the relation between nutrition, the body and the psyche. more

She wants to understand how innate and the environmental factors shape our brain and ultimately our thoughts and feelings: Sofie Valk, head of the new research group "Cognitive Neurogenetics" at the MPI CBS. A conversation about how she wants to investigate the function of brain structure, how genes and environment make us who we are - and how challenges drive her personally. more

The scientific process involves many steps, such as developing a theory, creating hypotheses, collecting data and analyzing the data. Each of these steps can potentially affect the final conclusions, but to what extent? For example, will different researchers reach different conclusions based on the same data and hypotheses? more

Solving problems, planning one's own actions, controlling emotions — these executive functions are fundamental processes for controlling our behaviour. Despite numerous indications, there has not yet been any clear evidence to support which brain areas process these abilities. A study has now succeeded in identifying the crucial region — with the help of a unique patient and the not-so-rare dysexecutive syndrome. more

The heartbeat affects the brain. But the underlying mechanisms were still unclear. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (MPI CBS) in Leipzig and Berlin School of Mind and Brain have now identified two mechanisms underpinning how the heart influences our perception, the brain, and how these mechanisms differ between individuals. more

A brain imaging study of humans, apes and monkeys by scientists from Newcastle University and Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences published in Nature Neuroscience reports the discovery of an earlier evolutionary origin to the human language pathway and sheds new light on its remarkable transformation.  more

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