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Art for "‘Functional Fingerprint’ May Identify Brains Over a Lifetime"

‘Functional Fingerprint’ May Identify Brains Over a Lifetime

A unique neurological “functional fingerprint” allows scientists to explore the influence of genetics, environment and aging on brain connectivity.

Abstractions blog

How Insulin Helped Create Ant Societies

Evolution may have coopted an ancient metabolic mechanism to set social insects on the path toward one of the most puzzling behaviors found in nature.

Art for "A Math Theory for Why People Hallucinate"

A Math Theory for Why People Hallucinate

Psychedelic drugs can trigger characteristic hallucinations, which have long been thought to hold clues about the brain’s circuitry. After nearly a century of study, a possible explanation is crystallizing.

Photo of Escherichia coli under a microscope
Abstractions blog

Swarming Bacteria Create an ‘Impossible’ Superfluid

Researchers explore a loophole that extracts useful energy from a fluid’s seemingly random motion. The secret? Sugar and asymmetry.

Illustration for "To Remember, the Brain Must Actively Forget"

To Remember, the Brain Must Actively Forget

Researchers find evidence that neural systems actively remove memories, suggesting that forgetting may be the default mode of the brain.

Abstractions blog

Why Nature Prefers Couples, Even for Yeast

Some species have the equivalent of many more than two sexes, but most do not. A new model suggests the reason depends on how often they mate.

Art for "To Make Sense of the Present, Brains May Predict the Future"

To Make Sense of the Present, Brains May Predict the Future

A controversial theory suggests that perception, motor control, memory and other brain functions all depend on comparisons between ongoing actual experiences and the brain’s modeled expectations.

Photo of Physarum Polycephalum
cognitive science

Slime Molds Remember — but Do They Learn?

Evidence mounts that organisms without nervous systems can in some sense learn and solve problems, but researchers disagree about whether this is “primitive cognition.”

Photo of an axolotl
developmental biology

Salamander’s Genome Guards Secrets of Limb Regrowth

With a fully sequenced genome in hand, scientists hope they are finally poised to learn how axolotls regenerate lost body parts.