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  • How researchers look at the bird brain in action
    on September 18, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    How do birds make decisions and which brain regions are particularly active when they solve tasks? Researchers are investigating these questions. So far, only anesthetized birds and therefore passive experiments could be examined using the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Thus, the examination of brain processes during active tasks was not possible. Now the researchers have constructed an experimental set-up which allows them to carry out fMRI examinations on awake pigeons and thus also investigate cognitive processes for the first time.

  • Key brain region was 'recycled' as humans developed the ability to read
    on August 4, 2020 at 5:47 pm

    A new study offers evidence that the brain's inferotemporal cortex, which is specialized to perform object recognition, has been repurposed for a key component of reading called orthographic processing -- the ability to recognize written letters and words.

  • Big brains and dexterous hands
    on July 24, 2020 at 6:10 pm

    Primates with large brains can master more complex hand movements than those with smaller brains. However, fine motor skills such as using tools can take time to learn, and humans take the longest of all. Large-brained species such as humans and great apes do not actually learn more slowly than other primates but instead start later, researchers have shown.

  • More than one cognition: A call for change in the field of comparative psychology
    on July 14, 2020 at 2:12 pm

    Researchers argue that cognitive studies in comparative psychology often wrongly take an anthropocentric approach, resulting in an over-valuation of human-like abilities and the assumption that cognitive skills cluster in animals as they do in humans. The authors advocate for philosophical and procedural changes to the discipline that would lead to a better understanding of animal minds and the evolution of multiple forms of cognition.

  • Light drinking may protect brain function
    on June 30, 2020 at 4:51 pm

    Light to moderate drinking may preserve brain function in older age, according to a new study.

  • In the wild, chimpanzees are more motivated to cooperate than bonobos
    on June 24, 2020 at 2:00 pm

    Scientists investigated cooperation dynamics in wild chimpanzees (Tai, Ivory Coast) and bonobos (LuiKotale, DCR) using a snake model. While chimpanzees cooperate to defend their territory, bonobos do not. The study reveals no differences in both species' social intelligence but supports theories linking territoriality and in-group cooperation in humans since chimpanzees were more motivated to cooperate by informing others of a threat as compared to bonobos.

  • Baboon model could aide in Alzheimer's disease interventions
    on June 11, 2020 at 1:41 pm

    Scientists recently published findings indicating the baboon could prove to be a relevant model to test therapeutics and interventions for neurodegenerative diseases, such as early stage Alzheimer's and related dementias.

  • Extended parenting helps young birds grow smarter
    on June 1, 2020 at 12:03 am

    The current study analyzes social and life-history data from several thousand songbirds, including 127 corvids, the family that includes jays, crows, ravens, and magpies. Results show that corvids are unusual in having larger brains and 'extended childhoods,' where parents provide the young with a safe haven to learn and practice skills they need to survive as adults. These findings shed light on how extended parenting in humans facilitated the evolution of our extraordinarily large brains.

  • Origins of human language pathway in the brain at least 25 million years old
    on April 20, 2020 at 4:55 pm

    The human language pathway in the brain has been identified by scientists as being at least 25 million years old -- 20 million years older than previously thought.

  • Diet may help preserve cognitive function
    on April 14, 2020 at 12:43 pm

    According to a recent analysis of data from two major eye disease studies, adherence to the Mediterranean diet - high in vegetables, whole grains, fish, and olive oil -- correlates with higher cognitive function.

  • Does consuming fruit during pregnancy improve cognition in babies?
    on March 4, 2020 at 7:17 pm

    A new study explores in greater depth the effect on infant cognition of drinking fruit juice while pregnant.

  • Bees recognize that six is more than four
    on March 2, 2020 at 3:37 pm

    A new study at the University of Cologne proves that insects can perform basic numerical cognition tasks. Their neuronal network can also be used to perform successful machine learning.

  • Researchers Were Not Right About Left Brains, Study Suggests
    on February 14, 2020 at 7:43 pm

    Brain imprints on cranial bones from great apes and humans refute the long-held notion that the human pattern of brain asymmetry is unique, according to new research.

  • Elephants' unique interactions with their dead
    on February 6, 2020 at 11:43 pm

    Stories of unique and sentient interactions between elephants and their dead are a familiar part of the species' lore, but a comprehensive study of these interactions has been lacking -- until now. A recent review of documented field observations of elephants at carcasses reveals patterns of elephants' behavior toward their dead, regardless of the strength of former relationships with the deceased individual.

  • Early life experiences biologically and functionally mature the brain
    on February 3, 2020 at 4:43 pm

    Experiences early in life have an impact on the brain's biological and functional development, shows a new study by a team of neuroscientists.

  • Strongly 'handed' squirrels less good at learning
    on January 20, 2020 at 4:34 pm

    Squirrels that strongly favor their left or right side are less good at learning, new research suggests.

  • New dog, old tricks? Stray dogs can understand human cues
    on January 17, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    Pet dogs are highly receptive to commands from their owners. But is this due to their training or do dogs have an innate ability to understand human signals? A new study finds that 80% of untrained stray dogs successfully followed pointing directions from people to a specific location. The results suggest that dogs can understand and respond to complex gestures without any training, meaning that dogs may have an innate connection to human behaviors.

  • How zebra finches learn to sing
    on January 15, 2020 at 5:06 pm

    Complex learning processes like speaking or singing follow similar patterns. Using the example of zebra finches, researchers have investigated how young birds imitate the courtship songs of their fathers and practice them thousands of times. The study has revealed what aspects of the song are remembered overnight, and that sleep allows the bird to optimally build upon the progress made on the previous day.

  • African grey parrots spontaneously 'lend a wing'
    on January 9, 2020 at 6:01 pm

    People and other great apes are known for their willingness to help others in need, even strangers. Now, researchers have shown for the first time that some birds -- and specifically African grey parrots -- are similarly helpful.

  • Dogs process numerical quantities in similar brain region as humans
    on December 18, 2019 at 8:33 pm

    The results of a new canine numerosity study suggests that a common neural mechanism has been deeply conserved across mammalian evolution.

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