amygdala

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MRIs Reveal How Little Lies Snowball Into Bigger Ones

'The brain adapts to dishonesty'

(Newser) - Everybody lies at some point, but scientists say they've uncovered a biological mechanism supporting the "slippery slope" that leads some from smaller acts of dishonesty to larger transgressions. Reporting in the journal Nature Neuroscience , they write that MRI scans allowed them to watch how a particular part of... More »

Scientists Flick Switch, Boozy Rats Stop Drinking

Study suggests alcoholism can be conquered in the brain

(Newser) - Rats can hit the bottle too hard, just like humans—and a new study suggests the rodents' alcohol dependence may be reversible, Live Science reports. "We can completely reverse alcohol dependence by targeting a network of neurons," says lead scientist Olivier George in a statement on the study,... More »

When It Comes to Mood Disorders, Girls May Be Like Mom

Mothers and daughters have similar brain circuitry

(Newser) - A woman with depression might have her mother's brain circuitry at least partly to blame, suggests a new study out of the University of California San Francisco . In the small but potentially groundbreaking study led by psychiatry professor Fumiko Hoeft, researchers discovered that the structure of the part of... More »

Inside the Rare Case of the Woman Who Has No Fear

SM has been studied since the '90s

(Newser) - Would it be like to live a life completely void of fear? NPR's Invisibilia tackled that question in its second episode by talking to Antonio Damasio, a University of Southern California neuroscientist who has treated a woman—referred to as SM—with an inability to feel fear. SM suffers... More »

Kidney Donors Have Brains 'Built for Compassion'

'Empathy zone' is bigger than average, study finds

(Newser) - People who donate kidneys to total strangers aren't just bighearted, they're big-brained compared to most people, researchers say. Neurologists scanned the brains of 39 such donors and found that their brains were 9% bigger than non-donors' brains—with significantly greater volume in the part of the brain that... More »

What Scares Even the Medically Fearless

Suffocation ignites different form of fear: study

(Newser) - A much-studied woman was thought to be fearless—literally unable to experience the emotion after having part of her brain, the amygdala , damaged. Nothing from snakes to assaults could scare the woman, dubbed SM, until, in a recent study, she was faced with the feeling of suffocation. That prompted a... More »

Liberals, Conservatives Have Different Brains

Or least different-sized parts, say scientists

(Newser) - Here's a study sure to stoke controversy—British researchers have found that political orientation correlates to the relative size of certain parts of the brain. Liberals can boast of thicker gray matter at the anterior cingulate, while conservatives can brag about their bigger amygdalas, reports the Sydney Morning Herald . How... More »

Fearless Gambler? Could Be Brain Damage

Harm to amygdala seems to impair 'loss aversion'

(Newser) - People with damage to their amygdala, a deep part of the brain that governs basic value judgments, are more likely than others to take big risks for uncertain payoffs. A new study pitted 2 women with amygdala-specific lesions against 6 controls in tests of their willingness to gamble. The control... More »

Alcoholics Are Less Able to Read Your Face

Sensitivity is lower even when drinkers are sober for years: study

(Newser) - Long-term alcoholics have a diminished ability to sense others’ emotions, even if they have been sober for years, the Chicago Tribune reports. A new study used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to look at the brain activity of abstinent alcoholics and non-alcoholics while they looked at pictures of faces that... More »

Big Differences Found in Male, Female Brains

They're apparently based on different genetic blueprints, studies find

(Newser) - The brains of men and women are so physically different they amount to different organs and may have developed from distinct genetic blueprints, new research shows. Distinct anatomical differences between male and female brains likely explain many well-established differences of perception and behavior between the sexes, from problem-solving strategies to... More »

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