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A Math Theory for Why People Hallucinate

July 30, 2018

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.


To Remember, the Brain Must Actively Forget

July 24, 2018

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


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

July 10, 2018

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 Carina Curto

Her Key to Modeling Brains: Ignore the Right Details

June 19, 2018

Being able to think like a physicist helps Carina Curto, a mathematician-turned-neuroscientist, pull insights about the human brain out of theoretical models.

Illustration for "Brains May Teeter Near Their Tipping Point"

Brains May Teeter Near Their Tipping Point

June 14, 2018

In a renewed attempt at a grand unified theory of brain function, physicists now argue that brains optimize performance by staying near — though not exactly at — the critical point between two phases.


Overtaxed Working Memory Knocks the Brain Out of Sync

June 6, 2018

Researchers find that when working memory gets overburdened, dialogue between three brain regions breaks down. The discovery provides new support for a larger concept about how the brain works.

Photo of Emmanuelle Charpentier, Virginijus Šikšnys, Jennifer Doudna
Abstractions blog

CRISPR Gene-Editing Pioneers Win Kavli Prize for Nanoscience

May 31, 2018

The inventors of a “Swiss army knife” for genome editing received prestigious honors, as did pioneering scientists in astrophysics and neuroscience.

Image of feathers
Abstractions blog

How Brain Waves Surf Sound Waves to Process Speech

May 22, 2018

By paying more attention to behaviors, and not just the activity of neurons, two researchers critical of most neuroscience learned how brains make sense of spoken language.

Art for "Artificial Neural Nets Grow Brainlike Navigation Cells"
Abstractions blog

Artificial Neural Nets Grow Brainlike Navigation Cells

May 9, 2018

Faced with a navigational challenge, neural networks spontaneously evolved units resembling the grid cells that help living animals find their way.