fMRI

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In a world where the temptation to lie, deceive and cheat is both strong and profitable, what compels some people to choose the straight and narrow path? According to a new brain-scanning study, honest moral decisions depend more on the absence of temptation in the first place than on people wilfully resisting these lures. Joshua…

Having your arm in a cast can be a real pain but immobilising your hand in plaster has consequences beyond itchiness, cramps and a growing collection of signatures. Silke Lissek from Bergmannsheil University found that just a few weeks in a cast can desensitise the trapped hand’s sense of touch, and lower neural activity in…

The blood that flows into our heads is obviously important for it provides nutrients and oxygen to that most energetically demanding of organs – the brain. But for neuroscientists, blood flow in the brain has a special significance; many have used it to measure brain activity using a technique called functional magnetic resonance imaging, or…

Bad experiences can be powerful learning aids for our sense of smell. A new study reveals that electric shocks can make people more sensitive to the differences between very similar chemicals that previously smelled identical. Every day, thousands of different molecules waft past our nose. Many of these are uncannily similar and some are more…

Modern brain-scanning technology allows us to measure a person’s brain activity on the fly and visualise the various parts of their brain as they switch on and off. But imagine being able to literally see what someone else is thinking – to be able to convert measurements of brain activity into actual images. It’s a…