Brain & Behavior

  • 23 Jul 1997

    During the first year of life, babies can recognize surprisingly small differences in the sounds of similar syllables. But in tomorrow's issue of Nature, researchers report that infants ignore these subtle differences as they begin to learn whole words.

  • 14 Jul 1997

    Quick, where's your wallet? You can reach at once for your billfold--without even glancing from your computer screen--because your brain unconsciously keeps track of nearby objects. Now scientists have found out what charts this mental map.

  • 26 Jun 1997

    Compared to heroin and cocaine, many people--scientists and teenagers alike--consider marijuana a relatively benign substance.

  • 24 Jun 1997

    Heroin addicts can cut their drug use up to 90% with a medication more convenient than the standard treatment, according to a report in tomorrow's Journal of the American Medical Association.

  • 20 Jun 1997

    Anyone watching two things at once is bound to miss something. Now research in this week's issue of the journal Nature reveals that your attention, when caught up in a challenging activity, will lapse for even the simplest additional tasks.

  • 2 Jun 1997

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is initiating an all-out effort to uncover the genetic and neurobiological roots of autism, a mysterious developmental disorder that affects about 400,000 Americans.

  • 23 May 1997

    A new study of twins suggests that attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is strongly linked to genes, and that it is less a clear-cut disorder than an extreme form of a trait, like blood pressure, that varies throughout the population.

  • 23 May 1997

    When you see something unexpected, your brain kicks into high gear--even when you're not consciously aware of the novelty.

  • 22 May 1997

    By monitoring the brains of napping and active cats, scientists have pinpointed a natural brain chemical that brings on a deep slumber after prolonged wakefulness.

  • 20 May 1997

    Women who are obese or who gain significant amounts of weight as adults have a higher risk of the most common kind of stroke, according to a study in tomorrow's issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.

  • 9 May 1997

    Despite a sound mind and fine ears, some 5% to 8% of preschoolers somehow confuse the sounds of consonants and struggle to talk coherently. Now scientists think they know why: The children's brains aren't fast enough to perceive rapidly changing sounds.

  • 1 May 1997

    WASHINGTON, D.C.--National Science Foundation director Neal Lane announced here yesterday the 1997 recipients of the National Medal of Science, the nation's highest scientific honor. Also announced were winners of the National Medal of Technology.

  • 30 Apr 1997

    Scientists have identified the first gene that may contribute to autism, a type of mental retardation long thought to run in families.

  • 24 Apr 1997

    Anyone who has struggled to converse at a noisy party knows that eye contact aids listening. But scientists have been in the dark about exactly how facial movements help the brain decipher babble.

  • 23 Apr 1997

    High daily doses of vitamin E seem to help people with Alzheimer's live on their own for about 7 months longer than untreated patients, scientists have found. Another drug, currently prescribed for Parkinson's disease, has a similar effect.

  • 21 Apr 1997

    Harvard pop psychology guru Timothy Leary has transcended his body one last time.

  • 16 Apr 1997

    The odor of rotting vegetables disgusts most of us, and for good reason: Eating bad food can make us sick. Now scientists have tracked this inborn disgust back to its roots--the amygdala, a part of the brain that processes emotions.

  • 9 Apr 1997

    When your eyes dart from the keyboard to the computer screen, then out the window, your brain must recompose the picture for each shift.

  • 3 Apr 1997

    Scientists today appear just as inclined to believe in God as their colleagues were in 1916. The findings of a survey, conducted last year and published in today's issue of Nature, counter a prediction made 80 years ago that scientists' faith would wane with time.

  • 20 Mar 1997

    Background noise can do more than distract. In certain situations--like the firing of neurons--noise can enhance a signal. Now researchers have shown for the first time that the coordinated activity of some brain cells may depend on a critical level of such noise.

  • 13 Mar 1997

    Despite all the efforts of psychiatrists, surgeons, and parents to feminize a boy who was accidentally deprived of his sexual organs, "John" is now happily married and living as a man.

  • 28 Feb 1997

    Have a hunch? Maybe you should act on it. Scientists have found key differences in decision-making behavior between normal individuals and those with a certain form of brain damage.

  • 20 Feb 1997

    SEATTLE--Everyone's familiar with optical illusions--those tricks that tell us not all seeing is believing.

  • 19 Feb 1997

    SEATTLE--Some birds that learn to sing just as people must learn to talk appear to have more cues to learning wired into their brains than researchers had previously recognized.

  • 8 Jan 1997

    Shortly after Charles Darwin returned to England from his famous Beagle voyage to the Gal‡pagos and other islands in the southern oceans, he holed up as a virtual recluse for the rest of his life. What was wrong with him?