News and Events / BCS News

October 10, 2012

Gibson and Saxe: Explaining the origins of word order using information theory [more]

September 27, 2012

Sur: How attention helps you remember [more]

August 12, 2011

Emery N. Brown receives the 2011 Jerome Sacks Award [more]

August 9, 2011

Adelson: Portable, super-high-resolution 3-D imaging [more]

July 29, 2011

Gabrieli: Recognizing voices depends on language ability [more]

June 30, 2011

Schulz: Don't show, don't tell? [more]

May 27, 2011

Tenenbaum: Inside the infant mind [more]

May 24, 2011

Oliva: What makes an image memorable? [more]

May 3-5, 2011

Brains, Minds and Machines: This symposium is inspired by the old dream of understanding the mind and the brain [more]

April 25, 2011

Brown: You Won't Feel A Thing: Your Brain on Anesthesia [more]

April 25, 2011

Videos from the Brains on Brains Symposium [more]

Spring 2011 komaza issue [more]

April 11, 2011

Scientists settle centuries-old debate on perception: From the Brisbane Times: Researchers said Sunday they had solved a conundrum about human perception that has stumped philosophers and scientists alike since it was first articulated 323 years ago by an Irish politician in a letter to John Locke. [more]

April 11, 2011

Shedding light on a longstanding puzzle: Study of blind children in India helps answer a 300-year-old philosophical question. [more]

April 10, 2011

Emery Brown: 'Aspects of anaesthesia are consistent with patients in a coma': From The Patients under anaesthetic have more in common with coma victims than somebody sleeping, which has medical implications. [more]

April 4, 2011

Tenenbaum wins Troland Award: Joshua Tenenbaum, associate professor of computational cognitive science in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, is a recipient of the National Academy of Science's Troland Award for 2011. [more]

March 29, 2011

Afterhours with John Gabrieli: The psych professor tells us how marshmallows may determine success. [more]

March 28, 2011

A squeeze, a squeak, a glimpse of learning: From Studies find clues to babies' minds. [more]

March 25, 2011

Rodent of the Week: Is autism a disease of synaptic function?: From the L.A. Times: The synapses are areas in the brain that permit messages to travel from cell to cell through chemicals called neurotransmitters. A study published this week suggests that autism may caused by faulty synapses. [more]

March 21, 2011

Re-creating autism, in mice: Mice with a particular gene mutation avoid interacting with other mice and show compulsive, repetitive behavior. [more]

March 16, 2011

Why Preschool Shouldn't Be Like School: From New research shows that teaching kids more and more, at ever-younger ages, may backfire. [more]

March 1, 2011

Parts of brain can switch functions: In people born blind, brain regions that usually process vision can tackle language. [more]

February 28, 2011

Call It a Reversible Coma, Not Sleep: From the NY Times: Dr. Emery Neal Brown, 54, is a professor of anesthesiology at Harvard Medical School, a professor of computational neuroscience at M.I.T. and a practicing physician, seeing patients at Massachusetts General Hospital. Between all that, he heads a laboratory seeking to unravel one of medicine's big questions: how anesthesia works. [more]

February 28, 2011

When the mind's eye processes language : From the New Scientist: The mind's eye can develop a knack for language in people who have been blind since birth. [more]

February 18, 2011

The Big Picture: From The Improper Bostonian-MIT scientists in Rebecca Saxe’s “Saxelab”—officially the Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory—already had techniques to identify the source of judgments and intentions in the brain. Now they have the power, via magnetic interference, to alter those ideas. Saxe’s earlier studies show a particular section of the brain is highly active when a person thinks about someone’s intentions, thoughts and beliefs. By disrupting activity there—with a magnetic zap applied through a device attached to the scalp—you can alter the process of judgment. Rather then intuition or personal bias, the judger must now rely more on facts and outcomes. [more]

February 11, 2011

Born cataract blind: how the brain rewires as sight is regained: From The Hindu-Can a child, blind for several years since birth, benefit from optical correction of the eye? Is the brain “plastic” enough to make use of the information from the eyes later on in life? These are the questions that had interested Professor Pawan Sinha of the Cognitive Sciences department of MIT in Cambridge, MA, U.S.. [more]

February 11, 2011

When treating the blind helps neuroscience: From Business Standard-An India-born MIT professor is using neuroscience to restore the sight of blind children in India. Data culled from the project are simultaneously advancing his field research. [more]

February 10, 2011

Wordly wisdom: What determines the length of words? MIT researchers say they know. [more]

February 3, 2011

Autism's moral judgment gap explored: Imagine navigating a world of social situations in which you are a very poor judge of other people's motivations and state of mind. It could seem like a very random world indeed. That is the world as seen through the eyes of someone with profound autism. [more]

February 1, 2011

What blame can tell us about autism: Neuroscientists find evidence that autistic patients have trouble understanding other people’s intentions. [more]

January 31, 2011

I, algorithm: A new dawn for artificial intelligence: Breakthroughs in AI research are being driven by the new framework of probabilistic programming, which combines the power of earlier paradigms based on logic and probability.  One leading approach to probabilistic programming is based on the Church language, developed at MIT by Noah Goodman (now faculty at Stanford), Vikash Mansinghka (now co-founder of Navia Systems, Inc., a probabilistic programming start-up), and Dan Roy in Josh Tenenbaum's group. (note registration needed to view article) [more]

January 28, 2011

A clearer picture of vision: New mathematical model of information processing in the brain accurately predicts some of the peculiarities of human vision. [more]

January 28, 2011

Illuminating the brain: Neuroscientists' new technique can stimulate brain cells, then reveal how those neurons influence the rest of the brain. [more]

January 25, 2011

How words get the message across: Languages are adapted to deliver information efficiently and smoothly according to Steven Piantadosi and colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge who say that, to convey a given amount of information, it is more efficient to shorten the least informative — and therefore the most predictable — words, rather than the most frequent ones. [more]

January 24, 2011

Scientists Use Light to Make Worms 'Dance': Using tools that Ed Boyden helped create, this research could reveal how neural circuits work together in response to their environment. [more]

January 12, 2011

Nutritional cocktail holds promise as treatment for Alzheimer's disease: A nutritional drink called Souvenaid, developed by scientists, appears to treat the language deterioration and memory impairment that are typical in patients with mild Alzheimer's disease. [more]

January 11, 2011

Li-Huei Tsai is named AAAS fellowe: Li-Huei Tsai, together with six additional MIT faculty, has been elected as a Fellow for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Tsai was selected for her "studies of cellular mechanisms of learning and of learning disruptions in Alzheimer's Disease." [more]

January 3, 2011

Infants Seen Grasping Another's Point of View at an Early Age: Infants as young as 7 months have the ability to perceive and understand another person's point of view, according to a new study in the journal Science. * Note: This is joint work with Agnes Kovacs, who is the main author, and the bulk of the experiments were done at Sissa in Trieste, Italy. [more]

January 3, 2011

Understanding the anesthetized brain: MIT neuroscientist Emery Brown hopes to shed light on a longstanding medical mystery: how general anesthesia works. [more]

December, 2010

Nature Methods' choice of Method of the Year 2010 is optogenetics: Read the article, which discusses tools developed by Ed Boyden's lab, to see how these have "revolutionized the way experiments are conducted in neuroscience." [more]

December 30, 2010

Anesthesia Closer to Coma Than Sleep: New Study: "Coma" is not a word you want to hear before going into surgery. So anesthesiologists use the word "sleep." But according to new research published in the New England Journal of Medicine and co-authored by Emery Brown, the reality may be more the former than the later. [more]

December 28, 2010

Seeking the Connectome, a Mental Map, Slice by Slice: In Pursuit of a Mind Map, Slice by Slice — The field, at a very nascent stage, is called connectomics, and the neuroscientists pursuing it compare their work to early efforts in genetics. What they are doing, these scientists say, is akin to trying to crack the human genome — only this time around, they want to find how memories, personality traits and skills are stored. They want to find a connectome, or the mental makeup of a person. “You are born with your genes, and they don’t change afterward,” said H. Sebastian Seung, a professor of computational neuroscience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who is working on the computer side of connectomics. “The connectome is a product of your genes and your experiences. It’s where nature meets nurture.” [more]

December 22, 2010

How past experiences inform future choices: Neuroscientists--research scientist George Dragoi and Susumu Tonegawa, Picower Professor of Biology and Neuroscience and director of the RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics-- sheds light on how past experiences subconsciously influence behavior. The work will be reported on Dec. 22 in an advance online publication of Nature. [more]

December 21, 2010

A new way to evaluate dyslexia: Neuroscientists show that brain scans can predict whether children’s reading ability will improve. [more]

December 10, 2010

One Man's Continuing Contribution to the Science of Memory: The personal tragedy of the famous amnesic patient known for more than 50 years only by the initials H.M. revolutionized the science of memory. In a special lecture during the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego last month, researcher Suzanne Corkin summarized what H.M., whose full name was Henry Molaison, has taught us about memory, and what we may still learn from him now that he has died. [more]

December 9, 2010

An interview with Suzanne Corkin: SUZANNE Corkin is a professor of behavioural neuroscience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who worked with the famous amnesic patient H.M. for more than 45 years. I interviewed her at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego last month, for this article I wrote for The Dana Foundation. We talked about her work with H.M., and about the project to examine his brain now that he has died, which was partly funded by Dana. [more]

December 6, 2010

No Memory, but He Filled In the Blanks: Henry Gustav Molaison — known through most of his life only as H.M., to protect his privacy — became the most studied patient in the history of brain science after 1953, when an experimental brain operation left him, at age 27, unable to form new memories. However, after brain surgery, H.M. solved crossword puzzles without a memory. Mr. Molaison stunned researchers over the years by learning some new facts, said Suzanne Corkin, a professor in the department of brain and cognitive sciences at M.I.T. who worked with him in the last decades of his life. [more]

December 6, 2010

Mark Bear's Fight To Decode Autism: MIT researcher Mark Bear thinks that some forms of autism and mental retardation may be treatable with drugs already on laboratory shelves. [more]

November 26, 2010

When gender isn't written all over one's face: Neuroscientists find that the same face may look male or female, depending on where it appears in a person’s field of view. [more]

November 18, 2010

First Allen Distinguished Investigators Named: The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation today launched a program to advance important neuroscience and cellular engineering research. Ed Boyden is among the first group of people to receive funding from this program. [more]

November 17, 2010

Light switches on the brain: A new technique called optogenetics that uses light to control the activity of nerve cells is ushering in a world of remote-controlled animals, light-regulated genes and wireless brain implants. [more]

November 15, 2010

Jason Shepherd wins the Gruber Award: The Society for Neuroscience has awarded Jason Shepherd, a Post-Doc in the Bear Lab at BCS and at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, the Peter and Patricia Gruber International Research Award in Neuroscience. The award recognizes promising young scientists for their outstanding research and educational pursuit in an international setting. [more]

November 15, 2010

Watch Pawan Sinha discuss "Acquiring visual function after delayed sight onset". [more]

November/ December, 2010

Brain Control: Ed Boyden is learning how to alter behavior by using light to turn neurons on and off. [more]

November 9, 2010

Watch Rebecca Saxe discuss "How the brain thinks about the mind: a case study in the neural basis of abstract cognition". [more]

November 8, 2010

Laura Schulz is a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE): On Friday, Nov. 5, President Barack Obama named seven researchers from MIT as recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. The awards are coordinated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Among this year's honorees is Laura Schulz, the Class of 1943 Career Development Assistant Professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. [more]

October 28, 2010

Halloween Science: Why We Love To Scare Ourselves: BCS Professor Ki Goosens work on fear is featured on both MSNBC and Fox News.

October 25, 2010

Watch Josh Tenenbaum discuss "How to grow a mind: statistics, structure and abstraction" [more]

October 25, 2010

Force of habit: New study shows that costs and rewards of behavior help the brain form optimal habits. [more]

October 21, 2010

Younger brains are easier to rewire: Study of blind patients supports the idea that there is a period early in a person’s development when brain regions can switch functions. [more]

October 18, 2010

Neuroscientist Shares Rewards of Research: According to MIT neuroscientist Dr. Pawan Sinha, the two commandments for a scientist’s life are to advance knowledge and to help humanity. Most scientists hope their work will lead to tangible ways to change lives. He counts himself as one of the lucky ones whose work has made an impact on a great number of people. [more]

October 18, 2010

Science's memory man: The man who revolutionised the way we understand the brain continues to provide insights in the workings of human memory two years after his death, says Mo Costandi. [more]

Fall, 2010

Driving a Neuroscience Renaissance: Famous for her 2009 discovery of HDAC2, a gene protein that regulates mental decline, Li-Huei Tsai is driving a neuroscience renaissance at MIT. [more]

Fall, 2010

In Pursuit of Elegance: The first time his laboratory colleagues broke out the champagne, Mark Bear was barely old enough to drink it. Still an undergraduate, Mark had uncovered a new neural connection in the brain. “I was amazed that there were still tremendous discoveries to be made in this field,” he recalls. “It was a turning point in my decision to pursue basic research.” [more]

September 30, 2010

5 from MIT win NIH awards including new faculty member Feng Zhang: Congratulations to Feng Zhang for being awarded the NIH Transformative R01 grant, which is designed to "promote risky, innovative research with the potential to transform a field of study." [more]

September 28, 2010

According to the National Research Council, MIT has the #1 Neuroscience graduate program in the country!: National Research Council releases assessment of U.S. doctoral programs. Rankings reaffirm MIT’s leadership role in science and technology. [more]

September 28, 2010

Get set for next-gen brain probes: New types of brain probes could literally shed a different light on the internal workings of the brain. That was the message delivered by Ed Boyden, a researcher at the MIT, during today's "Open Questions in Neuroscience" symposium. [more]

September 23 , 2010

Brain Coprocessors: The need for operating systems to help brains and machines work together. [more]

September 23 , 2010

MIT neuroscientists reveal how the brain learns to recognize objects: Understanding how the brain recognizes objects is a central challenge for understanding human vision, and for designing artificial vision systems. A new study by MIT neuroscientists suggests that the brain learns to solve the problem of object recognition through its vast experience in the natural world. [more]

September 8 , 2010

Researchers find that interneurons are not all created equally: Study shows that some classes of interneurons may underlie distinct brain disorders. [more]

September 7, 2010

MIT neuroscientists develop new computational model to analyze mouse behavior: For decades, carefully logging data about how mice go through the motions of their daily routines has been a tedious staple of behavioral and neuroscience research?. It's a task most people would happily cede to automation. Now, according to a new study by MIT neuroscientists, published online Sept. 7 in the journal Nature Communications , that's finally possible. [more]

September 1 , 2010

Christopher I. Moore on Gamma Oscillations: Christopher I. Moore talks with and answers a few questions about this month's New Hot Papers paper in the field of Neuroscience & Behavior. [more]

August 30 , 2010

Listen to Sue Corkin on the BBC's Heath Watch talk about HM: A man known as HM provided the key to one of the mysteries of the human brain. Having lost his own memory through surgery for epilepsy, HM revealed how new memories are formed. Without a few unusual people, human behaviour would have remained a mystery - ordinary people whose extraordinary circumstances provided researchers with the exceptions that proved behavioural rules. [more]

August 23 , 2010

Matthew's liberation: It was the week the medication didn’t work that convinced Melissa Zolecki. She thinks her son Matthew got a bottle of inactive dummy pills that week by accident. And the change in his behavior was striking. [more]

August 20 , 2010

Feng Zhang, expert on genetic control of brain function, to join BCS faculty: The McGovern Institute for Brain Research has announced the appointment of Feng Zhang as a McGovern Investigator, starting in spring 2011. Zhang, an expert on genetic control of brain function, will also become an assistant professor in MIT's Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and a Core Member of the Broad Institute. [more]

August 13 , 2010

Babies are teaching scientists much about the human mind: Babies, it turns out, possess reasoning skills that make them adept at problem solving. [more]

August 13 , 2010

Malik named 2011 Miles and Eleanor Shore Fellow by CIMIT: Wasim Q. Malik, a member of the Neuroscience Statistics Research Lab at the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences (BCS), has been awarded the CIMIT Miles and Eleanor Shore Fellowship for 2011. [more]

August 2 , 2010

Time out boosts brains: New research, including work done at The Gabrieli Lab (Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience) at MIT, shows some types of optimistic daydreaming are productive, improve IQ and inspire resolve. [more]

July 29, 2010

Promising treatment: Families affected by fragile X syndrome can let out a modest cheer this week: the largest-ever randomized trial of a drug to treat the syndrome has just cleared its second phase. This work is being done at Seaside Therapeutics, a company co-founded by BCS and Picower Professor Mark Bear. [more]

July 14, 2010

Protein linked to aging may boost memory and learning ability:Discovery could lead to new drugs to fight Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases. [more]

July 13, 2010

Postdoc awarded Otto Hahn medal of the Max Planck Society:Sarah Weigelt, a Simon's Initiative for Autism and the Brain at MIT postdoctoral fellow working in lab of Nancy Kanwisher, has been awarded the Otto Hahn medal of the Max Planck Society. [more]

July 7, 2010

Guoping Feng joins MIT faculty:The McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT and The Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences (BCS) welcome their newest faculty member, Guoping Feng, who arrived at MIT in June. Feng, a leading expert on the development and function of synapses, comes to MIT from Duke University, where he was a faculty member in the department of neurobiology for the past 10 years. [more]

June 24, 2010

Li-Huei Tsai receives Glenn Foundation Award:Li-Huei Tsai, director of MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, has received a Glenn Foundation Award to continue research into the biological mechanisms of aging. [more]

June 10, 2010

Multitasking is no problem for these brain cells:Scientists find that neurons in the brain’s planning center can handle more than one kind of job. [more]

June 10, 2010

Yingxi Lin named a John Merck scholar:Yingxi Lin, an assistant professor in the department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and a member of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research, has been named a winner of the 2010 John Merck Scholar award. Lin was one of three awardees to be selected this year from a national pool of 80 applicants. [more]

June 9, 2010

Two brain circuits found to be involved with habitual learning: Patterns of activity in circuits evolve as our behaviors become more habitual. [more]

June 7, 2010

Earl Miller wins MERIT award from National Institute of Mental Health: Earl Miller, the Picower Professor of Neuroscience, was recently awarded the National Institute of Mental Health’s Method to Extend Research In Time (MERIT) award. Miller received this honor for his work on the prefrontal cortex and its role in executive brain functions. [more]

June 7, 2010

How the brain recognizes objects: A new computational model sheds light on the workings of the human visual system and could help advance artificial-intelligence research, too. [more]

June 4, 2010

Researchers hope to build autonomous 'Batmobile': If you think the Batmobile is just something from the movies or comic books, researchers at MIT and Harvard University want to change your mind. [more]

June 2, 2010

Sweetsir School students participate in graduate studies: Sixty first- and second-graders from the Sweetsir School recently participated in two studies by Massachusetts General Hospital and Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate research students to study how children process language. The researchers spent two days at the school, meeting with each student who had parental permission to participate in the study. Dr. Eveline Geiser and Dr. John Gabrieli of MIT collaborated on this project with Rockcastle. [more]

May/ June , 2010

Light Switch:Researchers use light to turn brain cells off and on. [more]

May 25, 2010

Mriganka Sur: A New Look into the Brains: Brain diseases are often sources of shame for people who have them. Understanding that such diseases are bodily afflictions is key to finding a better cure. [more]

May 4 , 2010

New analysis reveals clearer picture of brain's language areas: In a new study published in the Journal of Neurophysiology, MIT neuroscientists report on a new method to analyze brain imaging data — one that may paint a clearer picture of how our brain produces and understands language. [more]

May 4 , 2010

Additional congratulations to undergrads: Yesterday afternoon a number of BCS undergrads received acknowledgment and awards for their outstanding work while they have been at MIT, please congratulate: Alexandra May ‘10 Malcolm G. Kispert Award, Ryan Andrews “10 Frederick Gardiner Fassett, Jr. Award, Asha Martin ‘10 Albert G. Hill Prize, and Caroline Huang ‘10 Priscilla King Gray Award for Public Service.

April 26 , 2010

Amgen Scholar~Hannah Pelton: Please congratulate Hannah Pelton ’12 on being selected as an Amgen Scholar this summer.

April 23 , 2010

SMART scholarship: Sandhya Rawal has been awarded a SMART scholarship through the Department of Defense for the summer of 2010.

April 22 , 2010

Keri-Lee Garel ‘10 selected to receive the William L. Stewart award :The Stewart Awards are presented in memory of William L. Stewart, Jr., an alumnus and member of the Corporation who demonstrated deep interest in student life at MIT. The Stewart Awards recognize outstanding contributions by an individual student or student organization to extracurricular activities and events during the preceding year.

April 21 , 2010

Four BCS Undergrads are named Phi Beta Kappa's :Four of our outstanding undergrads have been named to the 2010 Phi Beta Kappa’s:Ryan Andrews,
Matthew Cohen, Aditya Joshi and Ellie Souganidis.

April 19 , 2010

Six from MIT elected to AAAS :Six members of the MIT community, including BCS' Edward Adelson, are among the 229 leaders in the sciences, the humanities and the arts, business, public affairs, and the nonprofit sector who have been elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. [more]

April 14 , 2010

Gene links neurodegeneration and cancer :Neuroscientists show that a tumor-suppressing gene also helps neurons keep their structure. [more]

April 1 , 2010

MIT doc brings hope for ‘curable blindness’ to 1,000 children:For decades, scientists have believed that children born with curable blindness must be treated within the first few years of life —- known as the ‘critical period’ — for their brain to learn to see. This is not true anymore, courtesy a Delhi-born scientist Dr Pawan Sinha, now an associate professor of neurosciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). [more]

Spring, 2010

MIT-MGH connections: Understanding the child's brain with neuroimaging: Dr. John Gabrieli, PhD returned to MIT as the Director of the HST-Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research in 2005. He now serves as the Grover Hermann Professor of HST and Cognitive Neuroscience in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Science. [more]

March/ April , 2010

Understanding Autism: MIT researchers are working to explain a baffling condition. [more]

March 30 , 2010

Moral judgments can be altered ... by magnets:By disrupting brain activity in a particular region, neuroscientists can sway people’s views of moral situations. [more]

March 30 , 2010

A grand unified theory of AI: A new approach unites two prevailing but often opposed strains in the history of artificial-intelligence research.[more]

March 25 , 2010

No harm, no foul: Study of moral judgment finds that patients with a specific brain defect lack the emotional reaction necessary to find fault with attempted murderers. [more]

March 24 , 2010

A change of mind: One protein appears to control neurons’ ability to react to new experiences, MIT scientists show. [more]

March 22 , 2010

Are You Smart: What is intelligence?: Mapping the connections among brain cells could someday prove as revolutionary as mapping the human genome. But tracing synaptic connections between neurons by hand has proven painstakingly slow. Bring on the computers.[more]

March 10 , 2010

How to Map the Human Brain: Mapping the connections among brain cells could someday prove as revolutionary as mapping the human genome. But tracing synaptic connections between neurons by hand has proven painstakingly slow. Bring on the computers.[more]

March 9 , 2010

McGovern Institute to acquire new brain imaging technology: The McGovern Institute for Brain Research will soon acquire a magnetoencephalography (MEG) scanner for human brain imaging. The new instrument will be installed in the Martinos Imaging Center under the direction of Professor John Gabrieli and will complement the center’s existing capabilities based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and electroencephalography. [more]

March 2 , 2010

Frontiers of Medicine: Radical Cures---REVERSING AUTISM: Mark Bear’s mice weren’t well. They were aggressive, slow learners, and kept convulsing in seizures—classic signs of Fragile X syndrome. But when the Massachusetts Institute of Technology neuroscientist tweaked a single receptor in the mice’s brains, they began acting as if they had never been sick. Now he plans to do the same for people. [more]

March 1 , 2010

New technique offers a more detailed view of brain activity: ‘Cleverly designed' MRI sensors detect dopamine, offering a high-resolution look at what’s happening inside the brain. [more]

February 25 , 2010

Unraveling the autism mystery: An ambitious study of autism is underway at MIT, with researchers using tailor-made brain scanners and behavioral analysis in an effort to better understand how and why autism develops in children. [more]

February 22 , 2010

Can't Remember Faces? Blame Your Genes: If you are one of those people who has trouble remembering faces, you can blame your parents. And if you never forget a face, you can thank them. NPR's Jon Hamilton reports on new research that finds people inherit their ability to recognize faces. [more]

February 17 , 2010

MIT neuroscientists unveil molecular pathway involved with Huntington’s disease: MIT researchers have discovered new molecular changes in the brains of individuals with Huntington’s disease, a genetic disorder that leads to neuronal loss accompanied by unwanted movements, psychiatric symptoms, and eventual death. By studying brains of human patients, as well as mouse and rat models, they have uncovered a protective response that may eventually lead to new therapies for this currently incurable disease. [more]

February 4 , 2010

MISTI Global Seed Funds winners announced: Covering an astonishing range of topics, from cement nanopores and predator-prey bacteria to continental shelves and quantum computing, 43 international faculty research projects received $664,793 in funding from the 2009-2010 MISTI Global Seed Funds competition. BCS professor, Pawan Sinha, was awarded one of these awards for his work, Enhancing educational opportunities for blind children in the developing world. [more]

January 28 , 2010

From the Brain, Lessons on Terror and Conflict: When some highly intelligent M.I.T. professors invite you to breakfast to discuss, well, intelligence, it’s probably a smart idea to go along. The good news from this fascinating voyage through the neurons in our brain, which help us distill complex information and read the motivations of others, is that the human brain is, in principle, well-equipped to solve the seemingly intractable problems that face humanity today. The bad news: sometimes we are not smart enough to use them correctly. [more]

January 28 , 2010

At Davos, MIT faculty discuss the nature of intelligence: At the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, MIT professors discussed their efforts to better understand the human mind, the nature of intelligence and the ways in which human and artificial intelligence can be brought together.[more]

January 27 , 2010

Mapping the brain: MIT neuroscientists are making computers smart enough to see the connections between the brain's neurons. [more]

January 27 , 2010

Magnesium supplement helps boost brainpower: Neuroscientists at MIT and Tsinghua University in Beijing show that increasing brain magnesium with a new compound enhanced learning abilities, working memory, and short- and long-term memory in rats. The dietary supplement also boosted older rats’ ability to perform a variety of learning tests. [more]

January 25 , 2010

Memories lost and found: Li-Huei Tsai became interested in the brain when she saw what happens when the mind begins to crumble. As a small child, she saw her grandmother suffer from Alzheimer’s disease - an experience that left a deep impression on her and helped shape her scientific career. [more]

January 20 , 2010

Brain structure predicts ability to learn video games: Researchers can predict your performance on a video game simply by measuring the volume of specific structures in your brain, a multi-institutional team reports this week. [more]

January 20 , 2010

Face recognition ability inherited separately from IQ: Recognizing faces is an important social skill, but not all of us are equally good at it. Some people are unable to recognize even their closest friends (a condition called prosopagnosia), while others have a near-photographic memory for large numbers of faces. Now a twin study by collaborators at MIT and in Beijing shows that face recognition is heritable, and that it is inherited separately from general intelligence or IQ. [more]

January 8 , 2010

Nutritional drink, imaging show promise for Alzheimer's: Doctors are already good at diagnosing Alzheimer's disease in a patient with obvious symptoms, which include memory loss, vision problems and confusion. But the cutting-edge research is looking for the brain mechanisms of the condition at its earliest stages, maximizing the potential for intervention. [more]

January 8 , 2010

Nutrient mix shows promise in fighting Alzheimer’s: In clinical trial, new approach developed at MIT improves memory in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.[more]

January 7 , 2010

Silencing the brain with light: MIT neuroengineers find a new way to quickly and reversibly shut off neurons with multiple colors of light, which could lead to new treatments for epilepsy and chronic pain. [more]

December 23 , 2009

HHMI lists Tsai team’s advance among 10 biggest stories of 2009: Howard Hughes Medical Institute honors discovery of gene protein that could lead to safer drug treatments for Alzheimer’s and other diseases. [more]

December 21 , 2009

Building a Search Engine of the Brain, Slice by Slice :The dissection marked a culmination, for one thing, of H. M.’s remarkable life, and of more than a year of preparation for just this moment, orchestrated by Suzanne Corkin, a memory researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who had worked with Mr. Molaison for the last five decades of his life. [more]

December 17 , 2009

Eight from MIT named AAAS fellows :The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has awarded the distinction of fellow to 531 members, including Tomaso A. Poggio, the Eugene McDermott Professor in the Brain Sciences and Human Behavior. [more]

December 16 , 2009

The Brain What Is the Speed of Thought? :Faster than a bird and slower than sound. But that may be besides the point: Efficiency and timing seem to be more important anyway. [more]

December 11 , 2009

The 'sci' behind the 'fi':A public television program explores the ways real science is starting to catch up with the futuristic visions in Star Trek. [more]

December 7 , 2009

Alumna wins Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Art Writers Grant:Geeta Dayal wins support for a publication on GPS, mapping and mobile technologies. [more]

December 3 , 2009

Uncovering Secrets of Human Memory:Scientists Examine Famous Brain to Try and Understand Why We Remember Some Things and Forget Others. [more]

December 2 , 2009

MIT and Harvard researchers demonstrate a better way for computers to ‘see’:Taking inspiration from genetic screening techniques, researchers from MIT and Harvard have demonstrated a way to build better artificial visual systems with the help of low-cost, high-performance gaming hardware. [more]

December 1 , 2009

3 Questions: Suzanne Corkin on the world’s most famous amnesic:This week, scientists plan to slice the brain of H.M., the amnesia patient who died last year and whose condition helped shed light on how memories are formed. MIT Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences Suzanne Corkin studied H.M. during his life and is now part of a team that will be analyzing H.M.’s brain starting this week. [more]

December 1 , 2009

Two from MIT win Marshall Scholarships:Two MIT students — including Tanya Goldhaber, who works in the Kanwisher lab and is a course 9 minor— have won Marshall Scholarships, allowing them to study for up to two years at a British university. [more]

November 29, 2009

Researchers To Study Pieces Of Unique Brain: Known to generations of scientists and psychology students as H.M., Molaison lost the ability to form new memories after surgery removed part of his brain and, by agreeing to be studied over several decades, transformed the way we understand memory. [more]

November 24 , 2009

Charlie Rose Brain Series:The Charlie Rose Brain Series explores one of sciences final frontiers, the study of the human brain. Episode Two of the series features Ted Adelson, Nancy Kanwisher and Pawan Sinha. [more]

November 24, 2009

NOVA--What are dreams? :Psychologists and brain scientists have new answers to an age-old question. [more]

November 23 , 2009

Three MIT students are Rhodes Scholars: Among the three chosen from MIT, two BCS students— Ugwechi Amadi and Caroline Huang — have won Rhodes Scholarships to study next year at Oxford University. [more]

November 3 , 2009

Back to (brain) basics:MIT neuroscientists are using their knowledge of the brain to generate promising treatments for autism, mental retardation and Alzheimer’s disease. [more]

October 22, 2009

Tomaso Poggio receives Okawa Prize for work in computational neuroscience:The Okawa Prize is presented annually by the Okawa Foundation for Information and Telecommunications to two individuals who have made outstanding contributions to research, technological development, and business management in the information and telecommunications fields. Poggio is the 13th Okawa Prize winner from the United States. [more]

October 20, 2009

Decoding the Brain with Light: Scientists are using genetic "light switches" to probe memory and improve disease therapy. [more]

October 20, 2009

A head of time:For the first time, neuroscientists find brain cells that keep track of time with extreme precision.[more]

October 19, 2009

In Profile: Matt Wilson:By listening in on rat brains, the Wilson tries to understand the role of sleep in learning and memory.[more]

October 4 , 2009

Astronomy Picture of the Day : Ted Adelson's Checker Shadow illusion was featured as NASA's "Astronomy Picture of the Day". [more]

October 1, 2009

Cortical Crosstalk- Scientists are eavesdropping on the brain’s conversations in search of clues underlying complex behaviors:The brain is the most complex organ in the human body, but for years, available technology greatly limited scientists’ interpretation of how the billions of neurons act in concert to create complex behaviors. Recent advances in neuronal recording technology, however, along with the invention of the Pentium processor–based computer capable of digitizing the data at a much higher rate than ever before, have enabled brain research to progress at an increasingly rapid pace. In 2007, MIT neuroscientist Earl Miller and his postdoc Timothy Buschman pushed the evolving technology to a new level with rhesus macaques. [more]

Fall 2009

MIT Brainpower-Leading a New Era in Nueroscience:Institute experts are now addressing one of the greatest intellectual and scientific challenges of the 21st century — understanding the human brain and mind. [more]

September 29, 2009

Following in their footsteps:A unique lineage of four women in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT discuss their 'special responsibility' to help others succeed in academia.[more]

September 16, 2009

Out of darkness, sight: By studying rare cases of restored vision in older children and young adults, MIT neuroscientists are figuring out how the brain learns to see.[more]

August 26, 2009

Rats' mental 'instant replay' drives next moves: MIT researchers have found that rats use a mental instant replay of their actions to help them decide what to do next, shedding new light on how animals and humans learn and remember. [more]

August 26, 2009

We Learn More From Success, Not Failure: There is a biological reason why we learn more from our triumphs than from our failures, according to new research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. [more]

August 15, 2009

Your Baby Is Smarter Than You Think: GENERATIONS of psychologists and philosophers have believed that babies and young children were basically defective adults — irrational, egocentric and unable to think logically.New studies, however, demonstrate that babies and very young children know, observe, explore, imagine and learn more than we would ever have thought possible. [more]

August 12, 2009

MIT researchers: The mind's eye scans like a spotlight: You're meeting a friend in a crowded cafeteria. Do your eyes scan the room like a roving spotlight, moving from face to face, or do you take in the whole scene, hoping that your friend's face will pop out at you? And what, for that matter, determines how fast you can scan the room? [more]

August 11, 2009

Is multi-tasking bad for your brain? Experts reveal the hidden perils of juggling too many jobs : The old adage that we "learn more from our mistakes" could be wrong, with new research showing our brain only learns from experience when we do something right. Speaking in the journal Neuron, Earl Miller, the Picower Professor of Neuroscience at MIT, said: "If the monkey just got a correct answer, a signal lingered in its brain that said, 'You did the right thing.' Right after a correct answer, neurons processed information more sharply and effectively, and the monkey was more likely to get the next answer correct as well. "But after an error there was no improvement. In other words, only after successes, not failures, did brain processing and the monkeys' behaviour improve." [more]

July 30, 2009

Is multi-tasking bad for your brain? Experts reveal the hidden perils of juggling too many jobs : The old adage that we "learn more from our mistakes" could be wrong, with new research showing our brain only learns from experience when we do something right. Speaking in the journal Neuron, Earl Miller, the Picower Professor of Neuroscience at MIT, said: "If the monkey just got a correct answer, a signal lingered in its brain that said, 'You did the right thing.' Right after a correct answer, neurons processed information more sharply and effectively, and the monkey was more likely to get the next answer correct as well. "But after an error there was no improvement. In other words, only after successes, not failures, did brain processing and the monkeys' behaviour improve." [more]

July 29, 2009

Why we learn more from our successes than our failures : If you've ever felt doomed to repeat your mistakes, MIT researchers may have explained why: Brain cells may only learn from experience when we do something right and not when we fail. New work by a team of neuroscientists may explain why brain cells only learn from experience when we do something right and not when we fail. [more]

July 20 , 2009

Trying to learn how learning works : John Gabrieli illustrates how neuroscience & education researchers have teamed up to tackle dyslexia, a difficulty with reading that afflicts 5% to 17% of children. Behavioral & brain measures can now identify dyslexic tendencies in infants, and lead to teaching that can "prevent dyslexia from occurring in the majority of children who would otherwise develop dyslexia," according to the study published in Science. [more]

July 14 , 2009

Adult brain can change within seconds : The human brain can adapt to changing demands even in adulthood, but MIT neuroscientists have now found evidence of it changing with unsuspected speed. Their findings suggest that the brain has a network of silent connections that underlie its plasticity. [more]

July 6 , 2009

Songbirds reveal how practice improves performance: By studying the chirps of tiny songbirds, MIT neuroscientists have gained new insights on trial-and-error learning -- findings that could further understanding of the complex brain structures that play a key role in learning and habit formation in humans. [more]

June 26 , 2009

Thinking of you: Based on studies involving the blind, MIT neuroscientists have some surprising new insights about how people make inferences about others' state of mind.[more]

June 24 , 2009

Sleep helps build long-term memories: Experts have long suspected that part of the process of turning fleeting short-term memories into lasting long-term memories occurs during sleep. Now, researchers have shown that mice prevented from "replaying" their waking experiences while asleep do not remember them as well as mice who are able to perform this function. [more]

June 14 , 2009

The man and his vision: It is nice to spot a familiar face in a crowd of unknowns. But how do we do that? And why do people who recover sight after years of blindness continue to have problems with perception? These are some of the questions Pawan Sinha and his lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are trying to unfold. [more]

June 8 , 2009

Magnetic fields test 'reflexes' of autism: "There's a lot of mystery about autism - it's not as if there's a well-understood story of what's going on at all, and there's a huge variety of autism, too," said John Gabrieli, a neuroscientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Transcranial magnetic stimulation "is fantastic for identifying brain regions that are essential for specific mental functions. . . . I think if we can start to use it more systematically with autism, one could hope we'd understand a lot more about what's going on." [more]

June 3 , 2009

Brain & Cognitive Sciences awards: Awards given in MIT Brain & Cognitive Sciences for the academic year 2008-2009. [more]

May 28, 2009

Long-distance brain waves focus attention: Neuroscientists found that neurons in the prefrontal cortex fire in unison and send signals to the visual cortex to do the same, generating gamma oscillations that are associated with cognitive states such as attention, learning and consciousness. [more]

May 19, 2009

Robotic therapy holds promise for cerebral palsy : Over the past few years, MIT engineers have successfully tested robotic devices to help stroke patients learn to control their arms and legs. Now, they’re building on that work to help children with brain injuries and disorders such as cerebral palsy. [more]

May 6, 2009

Trial drugs 'reverse' Alzheimer's: US scientists say they have successfully reversed the effects of Alzheimer's with experimental drugs. The drugs target and boost the function of a newly pinpointed gene involved in the brain's memory formation. In mice, the treatment helped restore long-term memory and improve learning for new tasks, Nature reports.[more]

May 4 , 2009

Attention Must Be Paid — but How?: How can you focus on what’s important? My latest Findings column discusses the science of paying attention. Now you can consult directly with two of the sources quoted in my column: Robert Desimone, the Doris and Don Berkey Professor of Neuroscience and the director of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at M.I.T., and Winifred Gallagher, the author of “Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life.” [more]

May 4 , 2009

Ear Plugs to Lasers: The Science of Concentration: Imagine that you have ditched your laptop and turned off your smartphone. You are beyond the reach of YouTube, Facebook, e-mail, text messages. You are in a Twitter-free zone, sitting in a taxicab with a copy of “Rapt,” a guide by Winifred Gallagher to the science of paying attention. This work features Robert Desimone, a neuroscientist at M.I.T. [more]

April 26, 2009

Making waves in the brain :Scientists have studied high-frequency brain waves, known as gamma oscillations, for more than 50 years, believing them crucial to consciousness, attention, learning and memory. Now, for the first time, MIT researchers and colleagues have found a way to induce these waves by shining laser light directly onto the brains of mice.[more]

April 20 , 2009

Eight from MIT elected to AAAS :Eight members of the MIT community, including Nancy Kanwisher, are among the 210 new Fellows and 19 new Foreign Honorary Members recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[more]

April 20 , 2009

Double Vision: Parsing Images That Trick Our Brain :Look at the picture above and you see Albert Einstein. Now walk across the room. Suddenly, he morphs into Marilyn Monroe. Trippy, right? Aude Oliva, an associate professor of cognitive science at MIT, uses images like this one to study how our brains make sense of sight. [more]

April 20 , 2009

Music at MIT hitting all the right notes:Whether it's tinkering with music-editing software, performing in one of MIT's eight professionally led music groups or making brain waves audible, music at MIT can mean many things. In the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, associate professor Pawan Sinha and graduate students are working on way to create music and art from brainwaves.[more]

April 9 , 2009

How you feel the world impacts how you see it :In the classic waterfall illusion, if you stare at the downward motion of a waterfall for some period of time, stationary objects -- such as rocks -- appear to drift upward. MIT neuroscientists have found that this phenomenon, called motion aftereffect, occurs not only in our visual perception but also in our tactile perception, and that these senses actually influence one another. Put another way, how you feel the world can actually change how you see it -- and vice versa.[more]

March 21 , 2009

Gene 'has key schizophrenia role' :A US team found that a mutated version of the DISC1 gene disrupts the growth and development of brain cells. The team showed that DISC1 plays a key role in normal brain development and the growth of individual neurons. However, carrying the wrong version of the gene can make this process go awry. Lead researcher Dr Li-Heui Tsai said: "We need to get a handle on the genetics of schizophrenia, but now we know how DISC1 probably contributes to the disorder, which is a big step." [more]

March 20 , 2009

Blocked Enzyme Reverses Schizophrenia-like Symptoms.:Researchers at MIT have found that inhibiting a key brain enzyme in mice reversed schizophrenia-like symptoms.[more]

March 19 , 2009

Mental health means new neurons?:A gene strongly associated with schizophrenia and other neuropsychiatric disorders regulates the birth of new neurons in the adult brain, according to new research. The study, published in Cell this week, supports a controversial theory linking diseases such as schizophrenia and depression to neurogenesis and provides new targets for the treatment of psychiatric conditions. [more]

March 19 , 2009

Blocked enzyme reverses schizophrenia-like symptoms:Researchers have found that inhibiting a key brain enzyme in mice reversed schizophrenia-like symptoms. The finding, reported in the March 20 issue of Cell, identified how a particular gene controls this brain enzyme. Better understanding of the relationship could lead to new drug treatments for schizophrenia, the severe brain disorder that affects about 1 percent of the population. [more]

March 13 , 2009

A human failure, seen at face value:Humans excel at recognizing faces, but how we do this has been an abiding mystery in neuroscience and psychology. In an effort to explain our success in this area, researchers are taking a closer look at how and why we fail. [more]

March 3 , 2009

What drives brain changes in macular degeneration?:In macular degeneration, the most common form of adult blindness, patients progressively lose vision in the center of their visual field, thereby depriving the corresponding part of the visual cortex of input. Previously, researchers discovered that the deprived neurons begin responding to visual input from another spot on the retina -- evidence of plasticity in the adult cortex.[more]

February 11 , 2009

Simons gift to fund autism research at MIT:Jim '58 and Marilyn Simons, along with the Simons Foundation, recently made a gift of $4.5 million to establish the Simons Initiative on Autism and the Brain at MIT. The new initiative will attract postdoctoral fellows, increase interest in autism research, and enhance collaboration among existing investigators. In addition, the funds will be used to purchase equipment to be shared by autism researchers at the Institute, support a colloquium series to raise awareness in the community, and fund pilot projects on innovative approaches for autism research.[more]

February 9 , 2009

Multiple genes implicated in autism:By pinpointing two genes that cause autism-like symptoms in mice, researchers at MIT have shown for the first time that multiple, interacting genetic risk factors may influence the severity of autistic symptoms. [more]

January 31, 2009

Of Voodoo and the Brain:Patterns of neural activity and thoughts or feelings are not as tightly linked as scientists have claimed.[more]

January 29 , 2009

What causes motor complications of Parkinson's treatment?:MIT Institute Professor Ann Graybiel, a prominent Parkinson's researcher, and her colleagues have identified two molecules whose expression in the brain is altered in the brains of animals with L-DOPA-induced dyskinesias. The results may lead to new approaches to the treatment of dyskinesias in Parkinson's patients, of which there are more than 1 million in the United States alone. [more]

January 29 , 2009

Voodoo Correlations: Have the Results of Some Brain Scanning Experiments Been Overstated?:Ed Vul is a graduate student in the Kanwisher Lab and the lead author of a recent paper, "Voodoo Correlations in Social Neuroscience," which explored the high correlations between measures of personality or emotionality in the individual with the activity of certain brain areas as observed in an fMRI machine. The paper has provoked a flurry of commentary. Mind Matters editor Jonah Lehrer chats with Vul about statistics, media coverage, and why we should always make multiple guesses. [more]

January 29 , 2009

Burgeoning field of neurotech spawns brainy businesses:The rapidly growing field of neurotechnology -- which draws upon biology, medical imaging, computer science and other areas of research -- is becoming a boon for existing businesses while generating startup ventures. With the aim of grooming the sector's future leaders, MIT has created a new research program and is offering numerous classes -- including one on how to launch businesses in the industry. [more]

January 26 , 2009

Fine tuning the Theory of Mind:This ability to sense what other people want, believe or intend is called the 'Theory of Mind'. The idea has fascinated philosophers & psychologists for centuries, but it wasn't until 2003 that Saxe, then a graduate student, identified a precise region in the brain — the temporo-parietal junction or TPJ — that's preferentially active when we think about what others are thinking. In the past year, now working in her own lab in BCS, Saxe has been designing FMRi experiments to study infant brain development, moral judgment & Theory of Mind in people with autism, who often have trouble grasping others’ thoughts. [more]

January 20 , 2009

Study may cast light on mental illnesses:You're sitting at a dull meeting and your attention drifts. You're waiting in a check-out line, thinking of nothing in particular. You're lying in bed, having just turned off the television. At such times, your conscious mind is on "idle," but your brain is not. [more]

January 19 , 2009

Altered brain activity in schizophrenia may cause exaggerated focus on self :Schizophrenia may blur the boundary between internal and external realities by over-activating a brain system that is involved in self-reflection, and thus causing an exaggerated focus on self, a new MIT and Harvard brain imaging study has found. [more]

January 18 , 2009

Have we met?:Men are red, women are green, the nose may be key to "reading" a face, and ordinary eyebrows may be what makes a face recognizable, rather than, say, provocatively bee-stung lips or baby blues.. [more]

January 17 , 2009

Test Subjects Who Call the Scientist Mom or Dad : Even before his son was born, Pawan Sinha saw unique potential. At a birthing class, Dr. Sinha, a neuroscience professor at the MIT, stunned everyone, including his wife, by saying he was excited about the baby’s birth “because I really want to study him and do experiments with him.” [more]

January 7 , 2009

Neuroscientists ID source of cognitive decline in aging brains:As people age, memory and the ability to carry out tasks often decline. Scientists looking for ways to lessen that decline often have focused on the "gray matter" -- the cortical regions where high-level functions such as memory are located. [more]

December 30, 2008

Blindsight:A team of international brain researchers recently produced some unbelievable footage: A completely blind man walking down a littered hallway, apparently cognizant of the obstacles before him and avoiding them all. For years, scientists have quarreled over the legitimacy of "blindsight." Now, it seems undeniable - but what will be the consequences? BCS Professor Dick Held discussed this on WNYC. [more]

December 22, 2008

Blind, Yet Seeing: The Brain’s Subconscious Visual Sense:The man, a doctor left blind by two successive strokes, refused to take part in the experiment. He could not see anything, he said, and had no interest in navigating an obstacle course — a cluttered hallway — for the benefit of science. Why bother? When he finally tried it, though, something remarkable happened. [more]

December 20, 2008

The Flipper Challenges the Crawl: TV viewers may think that they can process it all, but they’re fooling themselves, said Earl K. Miller, a professor of neuroscience at M.I.T. “A lot of times, when you think you’re multi-tasking, you’re just switching your attention between one or two or three things,” he said. As a result, viewers process less of each. Perhaps the bite-size style of online news consumption doesn’t translate to TV, after all. [more]

December 18, 2008

Nine from MIT, including three from BCS, named AAAS fellows:The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has awarded the distinction of fellow to 486 members, including three members of the BCS community (John D.E. Gabrieli, Mriganka Sur, and Li-Huei Tsai). [more]

December 15, 2008

Top 100 Stories of 2008 #39: Amazonian Tribe Doesn't Have Words for Numbers:A small group of hunter/gatherers living in the Amazon rain forest is overturning some fundamental assumptions about the mind. The Pirahã people in Brazil have no words to express numerical concepts such as “one,” “two,” or “many.” “They don’t count and they have no number words,” says MIT cognitive scientist Edward Gibson, who headed a study published in the journal Cognition. This work by Michael C. Frank, Daniel L. Everett, Evelina Fedorenko and Ted Gibson was recently named #39 in Discover magazine's list of the Top 100 Stories of 2008. [more]

December 10, 2008

Team sheds light on Alzheimer's mystery: In work that could lead to new drugs to target Alzheimer's disease, MIT researchers and colleagues have shed light on one of the molecular mysteries surrounding this common form of dementia. [more]

December 7, 2008

Top 100 Stories of 2008 #86: You, Too, Have a Photographic Memory:For decades cognitive scientists knew people could remember lots of images stretching back decades. But researchers at MIT found that human memory is much more powerful than that. This work by Tim Brady, Talia Konkle, George Alvarez and Aude Oliva was recently named #86 in Discover magazine's list of the Top 100 Stories of 2008. [more]

November 24, 2008

Adult brain neurons can remodel connections: Overturning a century of prevailing thought, scientists are finding that neurons in the adult brain can remodel their connections. In work reported in the Nov. 24 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Elly Nedivi, associate professor of neurobiology, and colleagues found that a type of neuron implicated in autism spectrum disorders remodels itself in a strip of brain tissue only as thick as four sheets of tissue paper at the upper border of cortical layer 2. [more]

November 21 , 2008

Not as easy as it may seem: Using adult stem cells to replace neurons lost because of brain damage and disease could be more difficult than previously thought, according to MIT researchers, because newly formed brain cells receive messages before they are capable of sending them. [more]

November 13 , 2008

Scientists named to Discover's 'Top 20 Under 40' : Discover Magazine has named two MIT researchers among its 'Top 20 Under 40' list including Professor Ed Boyden in the magazine's December issue. [more]

November 12 , 2008

Singing in slow motion : MIT scientists report using temperature to control the speed of brain activity. Thanks to some technical advances and some help from songbirds, they are closing in on the regions responsible for timing within the brain. [more]

November 3 , 2008

Ann Graybiel named Institute Professor: Ann Graybiel, the Walter A. Rosenblith Professor of Neuroscience in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, has been named Institute Professor, the highest honor MIT can bestow on a member of the faculty. Graybiel, who is also an investigator in the McGovern Institute for Brain Research, has been a member of the MIT faculty since 1973. She is the 14th current Institute Professor and the second to receive the honor this year. [more]

October 27, 2008

MIT neuroscience bolstered by new faculty, viral core facility: A facility exploiting viruses' ability to inject DNA precisely and efficiently into brain cells and two new experts on the molecular underpinnings of the brain's ability to change in response to experience will bolster neuroscience at MIT, home to one of the largest brain sciences research centers in the world. [more]

October 24, 2008

Multitasking Can Make You Lose ... Um ... Focus: As we are required, or feel required, to do more and more things in a shorter period of time, researchers are trying to figure out how the brain changes attention from one subject to another. Earl Miller, Picower Professor of Neuroscience, explained it this way: human brains have a very large prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain that contains the “executive control” process. This helps us switch and prioritize tasks. [more]

October 14, 2008

BCS faculty among Popular Science's 'Brilliant 10: Popular Science magazine has named MIT BCS faculty member Rebecca Saxe to its annual "Brilliant 10" list of the country's top young scientists to watch. The list appears in the November issue of the magazine, which hits newsstands Thursday, Oct. 14.  Saxe, whom the magazine called "The Infant's Philosopher," is the Frederick A. and Carole J. Middleton Career Development Assistant Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience. She received an MIT PhD in 2004. [more]

October, 2008

Brain-Scan Cell Mystery Solved — Scientists unmask cells that make functional MRI possible: Since its discovery in the early 1990s, functional MRI has been the basis for more than 19,000 studies of the living, working brain. The technique allows scientists an unprecedented glimpse of the brain regions that are most active during particular tasks or states of mind, but it does not do so directly: the scans measure blood flow, which seems to increase around neurons that are firing. Neurons are not directly connected to blood vessels, however, so until now the mechanism underlying fMRI’s robust success has been a mystery. Now a team from MIT reveal that the support cells dubbed astrocytes (because of their star-shaped bodies) form the link between neurons and blood vessels. [more]

October, 2008

Go Ahead, Change Your Mind — Averaging your guesses is better than trying only once: Ed Vul of MIT and Harold Pashler of UCSD asked 428 participants various trivia questions and then, without warning, asked them to guess again later. On average, a person's combined responses were more accurate than either his or her guesses alone. [more]

October 2 , 2008

Think You're Multitasking? Think Again: Don't believe the multitasking hype, scientists say. New research shows that we humans aren't as good as we think we are at doing several things at once. But it also highlights a human skill that gave us an evolutionary edge. [more]

September 13 , 2008

Mysteries of Memory—New research explores how the brain records and then recalls events: Think about yesterday's lunch and a variety of details may leap to mind, each of them employing a different section of your brain. The olfactory system calls up what the meal smelled like, while the visual cortex retrieves images of the restaurant you ate in and the temporal lobe recalls the sound of your waitress's voice. Scientists have long suspected that every recollection—from the mundane to the momentous—ignites a distinct pattern of neurons. [more]

September 11 , 2008

Time teaches us how to recognize visual objects : In work that could aid efforts to develop more brain-like computer vision systems, MIT neuroscientists have tricked the visual brain into confusing one object with another, thereby demonstrating that time teaches us how to recognize objects. [more]

September 9 , 2008

Total recall--MIT researchers: human memory capacity much bigger than previously thought: In recent years, demonstrations of memory’s failures have convinced many scientists that human memory does not store the details of our experiences. However, a new study from MIT cognitive neuroscientists may overturn this widespread belief: They have shown that given the right setting, the human brain can record an amazing amount of information. [more]

August 25, 2008

MIT model helps computers sort data more like humans:Humans have a natural tendency to find order in sets of information, a skill that has proven difficult to replicate in computers. Faced with a large set of data, computers don't know where to begin -- unless they're programmed to look for a specific structure, such as a hierarchy, linear order, or a set of clusters. [more]

July 28, 2008

"The Eureka Hunt," ANNALS OF SCIENCE about insight:There is something inherently mysterious about moments of insight. Earl Miller, a neuroscientist at M.I.T., has spent his career studying the prefrontal cortex, a brain area critical to insight and intelligence. In 2001, Miller and Cohen published an influential paper arguing that that the prefrontal cortex was not simply an aggregator of information, but rather it was more like a conductor, waving its baton and directing the players. [more]

July 17, 2008

MIT-led team creates touch-based illusions: A team of scientists from MIT, Harvard and McGill has designed a new illusion involving the sense of touch, which is helping to glean new insights into perception and how different senses--such as touch and sight--work together. [more]

July 15, 2008

Brain scientists spot nature/nurture gene link: Neuroscientists at MIT found that a previously unsuspected set of genes links nature and nurture during a crucial period of brain development. The results could lead to treatments for autism and other disorders. [more]

July 15, 2008

Six from MIT receive Fulbright scholarships: Four recent MIT graduates and two current PhD students have been awarded Fulbright scholarships for the 2008-2009 academic year.   Fulbright scholarships have given students a role in U.S. foreign relations since their inception in 1946. Two recent BCS graduates, Tao Liu and Tess Veuthey, are recipients of this honor.[more]

July 10, 2008

Study points to dietary cocktail for Alzheimer's: A dietary cocktail that includes a type of omega-3 fatty acid can improve memory and learning in gerbils, according to the latest study from MIT researchers that points to a possible beverage-based treatment for Alzheimer's and other brain diseases. [more]

June 19, 2008

MIT unlocks mystery behind brain imaging: In work that solves a long-standing mystery in neuroscience, researchers at MIT's Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department have shown for the first time that star-shaped brain cells called astrocytes make noninvasive brain scans possible. [more]

June 4, 2008

BCS professor award the Ho-Am Prize : Sebastian Seung, a professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, has been honored with the Ho-Am Prize for his pioneering work on developing the Nonnegative Matrix Factorization (NMF) for unsupervised learning in artificial intelligence. [more]

June 4, 2008

Brain & Cognitive Sciences awards: Awards given in MIT Brain & Cognitive Sciences for the academic year 2007-2008. [more]

May 14, 2008

MIT's Rebecca Saxe probes mechanics of thought: How do we know what other people are thinking? How do we judge them, and what happens in our brains when we do? MIT neuroscientist Rebecca Saxe is tackling those tough questions and many others. [more]

May 8, 2008

Study suggests caution on new anti-obesity drug: Anti-obesity drugs that work by blocking brain molecules similar to those in marijuana could also interfere with neural development in young children, according to a new study from MIT researchers. [more]

May 1, 2008

Singing in the brain: MIT study yields birdsong insight: In work that offers insights into how birds--and perhaps people--learn new behaviors, MIT scientists have found that immature and adult birdsongs are driven by two separate brain pathways, rather than one pathway that slowly matures. [more]

April, 2008

MIT Neuroscientist's paper designated a Current Classic : "An Integrative Theory of Prefrontal Cortex Function" by Earl Miller and Jonathan Cohen (2001) has been designated a Current Classic by Thomson Scientific as among the most cited papers in Neuroscience and Behavior. [more]

March 3 , 2008

Cultural insights: Brain scans support surprising differences in perception between Westerners and Asians.  East is East and West is West, and the difference between them is starting to turn up even on brain scanners. [more]

February 27 , 2008

Researchers catch rats' twitchy whiskers in action: In a finding that could help further understanding of perception across species, MIT neuroscientists have used high-speed video to reveal rat whiskers in action and show the tiny movements that underlie the rat's perception of its tactile environment. This work was recently featured in both Neuron and Time. [more]

February 17 , 2008

No easy answers in evolution of human language: The evolution of human speech was far more complex than is implied by some recent attempts to link it to a specific gene, says MIT Professor Robert Berwick, who will discuss his work Feb. 17 at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston. [more]

February 16 , 2008

Brains informing computers, and vice versa: After many years, Tomaso Poggio's two parallel lines of research--one aimed at using computers to understand how the brain works, the other at improving the abilities of computers to "think"--have begun to converge. [more]

February 13 , 2008

Major science conference to feature MIT speakers: The largest interdisciplinary scientific gathering of the year begins Thursday in Boston, and MIT students, faculty (including two affiliated with BCS) and staff will play prominent roles during the five-day event. [more]

February 12 , 2008

Gene research may help explain autistic savants: Mice lacking a certain brain protein learn some tasks better but also forget faster, according to new research from MIT that may explain the phenomenon of autistic savants in humans. The work could also result in future treatments for autism and other brain development disorders. [more]

February 6 , 2008

Researchers awarded $8.5 million to study brain basis of autism and dyslexia : Two researchers at MIT will head an ambitious new project to study the origins of autism and dyslexia, supported by an $8.5M grant from the Ellison Medical Foundation. [more]

January 24, 2008

Computer vision may not be as good as thought: A new MIT study cautions that apparent successes in teaching computers to recognize visual objects like humans may be misleading because the tests being used are inadvertently stacked in favor of computers.

January 24, 2008

New MIT tool probes brain circuits: Researchers at MIT report that they have created a way to see, for the first time, the effect of blocking and unblocking a single neural circuit on learning and memory in a living animal. [more]

January 11, 2008

Culture influences brain function, MIT imaging shows: People from different cultures use their brains differently to solve the same visual perceptual tasks, researchers report in the first brain imaging study of its kind, focusing on mapping brain activity patterns that reflect different mental operations. [more]

January 1, 2008

The Ape That Teaches: Chimps, bonobos, and other great apes may show signs of having rudimentary cultures. Yet their achievements—honing weapons from sticks, or crafting primitive tools to dig for termites, for instance—pale in comparison to what we humans accomplish. In this interview, Rebecca Saxe, a cognitive scientist at MIT, delves into a key reason why: While apes can "ape," humans are able and motivated to teach, passing along cultural knowledge to future generations. [more]

December 12, 2007

MIT corrects inherited retardation, autism in mice: Researchers at MIT have corrected key symptoms of mental retardation and autism in mice. The work indicates that a certain class of drugs could have the same effect in humans. [more]

December 4, 2007

Missing protein may be key to autism: A missing brain protein that helps in the development of synapses may be one of the culprits behind autism and other brain disorders, according to work done by Li-Huei Tsai and colleagues published in the Dec. 6 issue of Neuron.[more]

December 3 , 2007

Project Prakash's: one of Time's 2007 most significant medical findings:Recently published results from Project Prakash challenge the conventional notion of visual critical periods. They suggest that the human brain retains an impressive capacity for visual learning even after several years of congenital blindness. This work, conducted by members of the Sinha lab, was profiled in Time magazine in March, 2007 and also included in the December 3 issue as one of the year's significant medical findings.[more]

November 30, 2007

Brain stem cells limited for replacement therapies:MIT scientists report that adult stem cells produced in the brain are preprogrammed to make only certain kinds of connections--making it impossible for a neural stem cell originating in the brain to be transplanted to other regions. [more]

November 26, 2007

Mix of compounds improves rodents' brain function:MIT researchers have shown that a cocktail containing three compounds normally in the blood stream promotes growth of new brain connections and improves cognitive function in rodents. The treatment is now being tested in Alzheimer's patients. [more]

November 15, 2007

Emery Brown elected to be a Fellow of the IEEE:The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has awarded the honor of Fellow to Emery N. Brown, MD, PhD, a professor in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology and in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. Each year, following a rigorous evaluation procedure, the IEEE Fellow Committee recommends a select group of recipients for one of the Institute’s most prestigious honors, elevation to IEEE Fellow. Professor Brown is cited for contributions to state-space algorithms for point processes and applications to neuroscience data. [more]

November 7, 2007

MIT IDs enzymes key to brainpower:By zeroing in on the enzymes that manipulate a key scaffolding protein for synapses, MIT researchers have found that bolstering disintegrating neural connections may help boost brainpower in Alzheimer's disease patients. [more]

October 31 , 2007

Big MIT contingent at annual neuroscience meeting:MIT's excellence in brain research will be showcased next week in San Diego as Institute scientists give five of the 24 invited talks at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. [more]

October 26 , 2007

Seven from MIT named AAAS Fellows:The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has awarded the distinction of Fellow to 471 members, including Emery N. Brown, M.D./ Phd., a professor in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology and in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.  Brown was cited for "fundamental contributions to statistical modeling of dynamic biological phenomena, especially involving circadian rhythms, functional imaging signals and neuronal spike trains." [more]

October 18 , 2007

MIT finds new role for well-known protein: In a finding that may lead to potential new treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, researchers at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT report an unexpected role in the brain for a well-known protein. [more]

October 16 , 2007

Blood may help us think: MIT scientists propose that blood may help us think, in addition to its well-known role as the conveyor of fuel and oxygen to brain cells. The theory has implications for understanding brain diseases such as Alzheimer's and schizophrenia. [more]

October 13 , 2007

Institute of Medicine elects Brown: Emery N. Brown, M.D., a professor in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology and in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, has been elected to the Institute of Medicine. [more]

September 19 , 2007

Four MIT faculty win NIH awards: Four MIT faculty, including two BCS affiliated professors- Emery Brown and Alan Jasanoff, have been honored by the National Institutes of Health for their "exceptionally innovative" research. [more]

September 16 , 2007

Brain's messengers could be regulated:Researchers at MIT's Picower Institute have found that tiny, spontaneous releases of the brain's primary chemical messengers can be regulated, potentially giving scientists unprecedented control over how the brain is wired. [more]

September 13 , 2007

MIT IDs binocular vision gene: In work that could lead to new treatments for sensory disorders in which people experience the strange phenomena of seeing better with one eye covered, MIT researchers report that they have identified the gene responsible for binocular vision. [more]

September 5 , 2007

Adult brain can change, study confirms: Neuroscientists from MIT and Johns Hopkins University have used evidence from brain imaging and behavioral studies to show that the adult visual cortex reorganizes--and that the change affects visual perception. [more]

August 21 , 2007

'Clutter detector' could cut visual confusion: A team of MIT scientists has identified a way to measure visual clutter. Their research could lead to more user-friendly displays and maps, as well as tips for designers seeking to add an attention-grabbing element to a display. [more]

August 5 , 2007

MIT study: Maturity brings richer memories: MIT neuroscientists exploring how memory formation differs between children and adults have found that children rival adults in forming basic memories, but adults do better at remembering the rich, contextual details of that information. [more]

July 10, 2007

NOVA scienceNOW--Sleep:Why do we need sleep? Part of the answer may be to strengthen memories. [more]

July 9, 2007

Team reports genetic link between aging, neurodegenerative disorders: Li-Huei Tsai, Picower Professor of Neuroscience in the Department of Brain, and Cognitive Sciences and colleagues report that one particular gene is a link between aging and neurodegenerative disorders. The work may lead to new drugs against debilitating neurological diseases. [more]

June 19, 2007

Four from MIT receive NARSAD awards: Ann M. Graybiel, the Walter A. Rosenblith Professor of Neuroscience, has been selected by The Mental Health Research Association to receive its Distinguished Investigator Award. Graybiel is one of 23 leading scientists to receive the award.[more]

June 4 , 2007

Brain has 'teacher' and 'tinkerer' in learning: While most people need peace and quiet to cram for a test, the brain itself may need noise to learn, a recent MIT study suggests. The researchers found that neural activities in the brain gradually change, even when nothing new is being learned. [more]

May 8 , 2007

Peter Schiller elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences : Twelve MIT faculty members are among the 203 new Fellows and 24 new Foreign Honorary Members recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[more]

April 30 , 2007

Peter Schiller elected to National Academy of Sciences: Five MIT faculty members are among the 72 newly elected members and 18 foreign associates of the National Academy of Sciences--an honor that recognizes their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. [more]

April 30 , 2007

Team reverses Alzheimer's-like symptoms in mice : Mice whose brains had atrophied like those of Alzheimer's disease patients regained long-term memories and the ability to learn after living in an enriched environment, reports MIT Professor Li-Huei Tsai and colleagues in the journal Nature. [more]

April 4 , 2007

Computer model mimics blink of a human eye : MIT researchers report that a computer model designed to mimic the way the brain processes visual information performs as well as humans do on rapid categorization tasks. [more]

March 31 , 2007

Hybrid Images "A change on the approach" : Step away from this page... and you'll see something that can be used to probe the workings of your brain, TAKE a good look at the image above - what do you see?  Phantom-like optical illusions are helping us understand how the brain processes vision - try some for yourself here- Hybrid Image. BCS Professor Aude Oliva's work on Hybrid Images is the focus of a recent New Scientist article.[more]

March 29, 2007

Neuroscientists find different brain regions fuel attention - Work could be significant in treatment of ADD: MIT graduate student Timothy J. Buschman and Professor Earl Miller of the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences have found concrete evidence that two radically different brain regions play different roles in the different modes of attention. [more]

March 28, 2007

Child's play is serious study of cause and effect: It's not child's play to Laura E. Schulz, assistant professor of brain and cognitive sciences at MIT, to figure out what child's play is all about. She addressed her research at a recent event, "Twisting the Lion's Tail: Exploratory Play and Children's Causal Learning." [more]

February 23, 2007

An Unlikely Vision: Neuroscientists have long been convinced that the first few years of life are a crucial period for brain development--a time when connections between neurons are being forged at a prodigious rate as a baby learns to make sense of the external world. [more]

February 23, 2007

Model mimics neural processes in object recognition: For the first time, MIT scientists have applied a computer model of how the brain processes visual information to a complex, real world task: recognizing the objects in a busy street scene. [more]

February 14, 2007

MIT study shows those who once were blind can learn to see: How does the human brain "learn" to see? If the brain is deprived of visual input early in life, can it later learn to see at all? MIT researchers are exploring those questions by studying some unique patients--people who were born blind, or blinded very young, and later had their sight restored. [more]

February 14, 2007

Sinha honored : Pawan Sinha, associate professor of brain and cognitive sciences, has been named the 2007 recipient of a Troland Research Award. The $50,000 awards, granted by the National Academy of Sciences, are given annually to two researchers to recognize and support research in psychology regarding the relationships of consciousness and the physical world. Sinha was chosen "for elucidating how humans learn to recognize visual objects." The Troland Research Awards were established by a bequest from Leonard T. Troland and have been presented since 1984. [more]

February 12, 2007

Scientists: A good lie detector is hard to find : In the not-too-distant future, police may request a warrant to search your brain. This was said only partly in jest by one of the panelists at a symposium titled "Is There Science Underlying Truth Detection?" [more]

January 8 , 2007

The Surprise Peptide Researchers have accidentally found a promising way to stop bleeding : In 2001, Rutledge Ellis-Behnke, PhD '03, a research scientist in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, was doing surgical research on hamster brains. He and his colleagues were using a liquid made of protein fragments known as peptides to encourage the regeneration of neural tissue, a prospective treatment for stroke. In early experiments, the technique appeared to promote the strengthening and rewiring of traumatized neural regions in rodents. But in the lab one day, something seemed awry. [more]

December 18, 2006

Memory experts show sleeping rats may have visual dreams: Memories of our life stories may be reinforced while we sleep, MIT researchers report Dec. 17 in the advance online edition of Nature Neuroscience. Matthew A. Wilson, professor of brain and cognitive sciences at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, and postdoctoral associate Daoyun Ji looked at what happens in rats' brains when they dream about the mazes they ran while they were awake. [more]

October 20 , 2006

Neuroscientists pinpoint brain site for rapid learning : MIT researchers have provided the first two-pronged evidence--based on both behavior and physiology--that a specific juncture in the memory center of the brain is crucial for rapid learning. [more]

October 12, 2006

Institute Professor Emilio Bizzi is installed as academy president : Three MIT professors were inducted Oct. 7 into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as part of the 226th class of fellows. ... The academy also installed Institute Professor Emilio Bizzi, a brain scientist, as its 44th president. [more]

September 27, 2006

Nanoparticles to aid brain imaging, team reports: If you want to see precisely what the 100 billion neurons in a person's brain are doing, a good way to start is to track calcium as it flows into neurons when they fire. [more]

August 24, 2006

MIT provides first evidence for learning mechanism : Finally confirming a fact that remained unproven for more than 30 years, researchers at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory report in the Aug. 25 issue of Science that certain key connections among neurons get stronger when we learn. [more]

August 8, 2006

Professor explores Alzheimer's causes: Some people live to be 100 without falling victim to Alzheimer's disease. Li-Huei Tsai, who joined MIT this spring as Picower Professor of Neuroscience, wants to know why. [more]

July/ August 2006

Ann Graybiel PS '71 MIT Neuroscience Professor Asks Why Bad Habits Are So Hard to Break: Ann Graybiel, PS '71, wants to know why good habits are so hard to make and bad habits so hard to break. After completing her bachelor's degree at Harvard University, she began studying neuroanatomy at MIT in the Department of Psychology and Brain Science. MIT was one of the few places in the country where researchers were asking behavioral questions and expecting to find cellular answers. [more]

July 31, 2006

HST professor takes eye-opening look at anesthesia: Raise your hand if you are more afraid of the prospect of general anesthesia than of surgery itself. If you raised your hand, you are not alone, according to the newest faculty member at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST). [more]

July 11 , 2006

Reverse-Engineering the Brain At MIT, neuroscience and artificial intelligence are beginning to intersect. Forty years ago, the idea that neuroscience and AI might converge in labs like Miller's would have been all but unthinkable. Back then, the two disciplines operated at arm's length. While neuroscience focused on uncovering and describing the details of neuroanatomy and neural activity, AI was trying to develop an independent, nonbiological path to intelligence. [more]

May 24, 2006

Sur elected fellow of Royal Society: Mriganka Sur, the Sherman Fairchild Professor of Neuroscience and head of the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, has been elected a fellow of the Royal Society. [more]

April 28, 2006

Brain researchers see visual role for growth factor: Researchers at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory have identified an insulin-like growth factor that prevents the usual effects of visual deprivation in the brain. [more]

April 27, 2006

MIT research offers new hope for Alzheimer's patients: MIT brain researchers have developed a "cocktail" of dietary supplements, now in human clinical trials, that holds promise for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. [more]

April 26, 2006

Ted Adelson elected to National Academy of Sciences: Three MIT faculty members are among the 72 newly elected members and 18 foreign associates of the National Academy of Sciences -- an honor that recognizes their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. [more]

March 24, 2006

Scientists show that children think like scientists: Even preschoolers approach the world much like scientists: They are convinced that perplexing and unpredictable events can be explained, according to an MIT brain researcher's study in the April issue of Child Development. [more]

March 16, 2006

Picower research finds unexpected activity in visual cortex: For years, neural activity in the brain's visual cortex was thought to have only one job: to create visual perceptions. A new study by researchers at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory shows that visual cortical activity can serve another purpose -- connecting visual experience with non-visual events. [more]

March 13, 2006

MIT researchers restore vision in rodents blinded by brain damage: Rodents blinded by a severed tract in their brains' visual system had their sight partially restored within weeks, thanks to a tiny biodegradable scaffold invented by MIT bioengineers and neuroscientists. [more]

February 14, 2006

Eyes wide shut: McGovern research sheds light on visual circuits: For the human brain, birth is a great divide. Like marble ready for sculpting, the prenatal brain abounds in extraneous neurons and connections waiting for experiences to carve the neural circuits that enable us to perceive, think and learn. [more]

February 12, 2006

Picower researcher explains how rats think: After running a maze, rats mentally replay their actions -- but backward, like a film played in reverse, a researcher at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT reports Feb. 12 in the advance online edition of Nature. [more]

December 27, 2005

Picower researcher finds neuron growth in adult brain: Despite the prevailing belief that adult brain cells don't grow, a researcher at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory reports in the Dec. 27 issue of Public Library of Science (PLoS) Biology that structural remodeling of neurons does in fact occur in mature brains. [more]

December 5, 2005

Institute dedicates Brain & Cog Complex: The atrium of the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Complex resembled a five-story illuminated manuscript -- complete with golden light, dazzling surfaces and young faces gazing down -- during the dedication ceremony to open the new homes for the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, the McGovern Institute for Brain Research and the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory. [more]

December 2, 2005

MIT opens world's largest neuroscience research center: On Friday afternoon, Dec. 2, MIT officially opened the new Brain and Cognitive Sciences Complex (BCS), the largest neuroscience research center in the world. The complex will advance MIT's efforts to address one of the great scientific challenges of the 21st century: the understanding of the human brain and mind. [more]

December 2, 2005

Brain and Cognitive Sciences Complex Opens: Friday, December 2nd BCS celebrated the opening of its new building. The day began with a symposium honoring 40 years of BCS graduates followed by the formal dedication of the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Complex.[more]

November 29, 2005

Mriganka Sur sees 'great synergy' in new complex: In advance of this week's opening of the new Brain and Cognitive Sciences Complex, News Office writer Elizabeth Thomson conducted the following interview with Mriganka Sur, head of the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. [more]

November 29, 2005

New architecture brings scientists together - Three tenants share neuroscience complex: Just over two years ago, MIT broke ground on what would become the largest neuroscience complex in the world. [more]

November 17, 2005

Brain structures 'tune in' to rhythms to coordinate activity: Different brain regions working together may coordinate by locking into an oscillation frequency the way a radio tuner locks into a station, report researchers from the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT in the Nov. 15 issue of the journal PLoS (Public Library of Science) Biology. [more]

October 3, 2005

MIT Launches Effort to Understand Autism: MIT brain researchers are undertaking an ambitious, multifaceted approach to understanding the genetic, molecular and behavioral aspects of autism, with the help of a $7.5 million grant from the New York-based Simons Foundation founded by James and Marilyn Simons. [more]

July 1, 2005

BCS Moves to a New Building (BCSP): For years, talks about a new building existed only in our imaginations. Then, a daunting steel skeleton outlined the image of what the building would look like. Now, in the final stages of development, we can picture details of where to put that chair and how to hang this plant. The building is still on schedule to be ready for the move this fall. [more]

June 10 , 2005

BCS Hosts Mini-Symposium : This summer's Vision Mini-Symposium features repeat performances of presentations from the Fifth Annual Meeting of VSS, on Friday 10 June 2005. Talks in E25-117 from 1 to 3pm, posters in E25 atrium from 2 to 5pm.

June 6 , 2005

Largest Class Ever: On June 3, 2005, forty-seven BCS undergraduates donned their caps and gowns marking not only their graduation, but also the largest undergraduate class in BCS history. [more]

May 26 , 2005

Research explains how the brain finds Waldo: At any given moment, the world bombards the senses with more information than the brain can process, and for more than a century scientists and psychologists have debated how the brain filters out distractions and focuses attention on the things that matter. Using the visual system as a model, Professor Robert Desimone, director of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, and his former colleagues at the National Institutes of Health show that neurons synchronize their signals to command attention, like a chorus rising above the din of noisy chatter in a crowded room. [more]

April 22 , 2005

Birds' Brains Reveal Source of Songs: Scientists have yearned to understand how the chirps and warbles of a young bird morph into the recognizable and very distinct melodies of its parents. Neuroscientists at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT now have come one step closer to understanding that process. They've shown for the first time how a particular brain region in birds serves as the source of vocal creativity. [more]

March 30 , 2005

MIT Researchers Identify Gene Involved in Building Brains: A tiny molecule is key to determining the size and shape of the developing brain, researchers from the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT reported in the March issue of Nature Neuroscience. [more]

February 17 , 2005

Teams Build Robots that Walk Like Humans: Three independent research teams, including one from [BCS at] MIT, have built walking robots that mimic humans in terms of their gait, energy-efficiency and control. [more]

January 24, 2005

Spotlighting the Brain: Neurologist Thomas Byrne offered a two-hour IAP class in neuroscience as an introduction to 9.91, "A Clinical Approach to the Human Brain," which he will teach at MIT this spring. [more]

December 16, 2004

Cell's Tiny Power Source Critical for Synapse Function: Mitochondria, the tiny power plants inside all plant and animal cells, play a critical role in the health and well-being of synapses, neuroscientists at MIT's Picower Center for Learning and Memory report. [more]

November 17, 2004

Team Finds Genetic Key to High-Level Thinking: A gene expressed only in brain areas responsible for high-level thinking and feeling may be key to the brain's ability to respond rapidly to new input, scientists at MIT's Picower Center for Learning and Memory and colleagues report. [more]

October 29, 2004

Brain and Cognitive Sciences Facilities Taking Shape: Students returned to MIT this fall to discover that yet another major addition to the campus is taking shape: the new facilities for the brain and cognitive sciences on Vassar Street, scheduled for completion next year. [more]

September 27, 2004

Animal Learning Discussed at Symposium: Birds that are genetically programmed to sing and the effect of pheromones on the mouse brain were among the topics covered recently by an international contingent of respected brain researchers at MIT's Picower Center. [more]

September 21, 2004

Desimone to Direct McGovern Institute: The McGovern Institute at MIT, a leading research and teaching institute committed to advancing the understanding of the human mind and communications, has announced the selection of Robert Desimone as the next director. [more]

September 8, 2004

Cellular Clue to Memory: Researchers at MIT's Picower Center for Learning and Memory are one step closer to understanding how brain synapses make chameleon-like changes in their structure and composition depending on the input they receive. [more]

August 23, 2004

Research Shows Adult Brain Has More Plasticity Than Previously Believed: In a Nature Neuroscience paper, BCS researchers show that mice "rewired" to receive visual cues in the hearing region of their brains learned to respond to it as if they had heard instead of seen it. [more]

August 10, 2004

The Right Name Can Affect How Others Rate Your Looks: BCS graduate student Amy Perfors' study on the effect of sound symbolism on the perception of facial attractiveness receives flurry of media attention. Titled "What's in a Name?" it was presented at the 26th Annual Conference for Cognitive Science. [more]

July 21, 2004

Study May Hold Key to Boosting Brainpower: The finding by an MIT neuroscientist that a tiny molecular change signficantly alters the number of synapse receptors may one day lead to the ability to boost brainpower in the area of the brain where long-term memories are stored. [more]

June 10, 2004

Synapse Size and Shape Key in Storing Long-Term Memory: The Neuroscientists at MIT have shown for the first time that storage of long-term memories depends on the size and shape of synapses among neurons in the cerebral cortex. [more]

May 19, 2004

BCS Professor Bear's Work Offers Hope for Treating Retardation: By blocking a single brain chemical, many of the psychiatric and neurological disabilities associated with a primary cause of mental retardation could be treated, according to MIT neuroscientist Mark Bear. [more]

May 19, 2004

Tonegawa Makes Pitch: Susumu Tonegawa is a Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist, but his greatest achievement may be his ability to help the Red Sox win baseball games through the influence of brain waves. [more]

April 1, 2004

Visual Cues Provide Clues: MIT scientists are reporting new insights into how the human brain recognizes objects, especially faces, in work that could lead to improved machine vision systems. [more]

March 10, 2004

Brain Circuitry Findings Could Shape Computer Design: Guosong Liu, neuroscientist at Picower Center at MIT, reports new information on neuron design and function that could lead to new directions in how computers are made. [more]

March 3, 2004

Memories with Emotion Light Up Areas of Brain: Memories light up the corners of our mind. Scientific evidence for this notion comes from studies using magnetic resonance imaging to examine the living human brain. [more]

February 5, 2004

Memory Mechanism Discovered: MIT neuroscientists have discovered a new brain mechanism controlling the formation of lasting memories. [more]

December 19, 2003

BCS Launches New Web Site: The new BCS web site features a new look and feel as well as enhanced functionality to make it even easier to use. [more]

December 19, 2003

Building Framework Nears Completion: Only a few months after breaking ground, the new BCS building is taking shape as its steel framework rises over Main St. [more]

October 23, 2003

MIT work may help prevent loss of brain synapses: By discovering one of the first mechanisms through which brain synapses are dismantled, an MIT neuroscientist sheds new light on how our brains eliminate connections between neurons. The work was reported Thursday, Oct. 23 on Science magazine's Science Express web site. [more]

September 10, 2003

Peptides: the 21st century's building blocks: Thousands of years after humans domesticated farm animals, they're moving on to a different sort of workhorse: molecules. [more]

June 12, 2003

MIT researchers: vision brain cells are smarter than previously thought: Contrary to popular belief, cells in the brain's primary visual cortex are "smart" enough to help determine where the eyes will look next, MIT researchers report in the June 13 issue of Science. [more]

June 4, 2003

Brain and cognitive sciences awards: The Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department honors the graduate students who have made a difference. [more]

April 9, 2003

Brain and cognitive sciences project on deck: Preparation for construction of MIT's new brain and cognitive sciences project will affect the northeast area of campus in several ways over the coming weeks. [more]