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Perception

What is colour? How blue can look white…

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15 February 2018
How do we see colour? Can white look blue and vice versa? And does it matter which word you use for a colour? Apparently it does.


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Plasticity

The girl with half a brain

on
1 February 2018
The girl without the right hemisphere of her brain functions pretty normally. How is this compatible with the idea that women use their right hemisphere more?


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Heredity

Nature and nurture: congenital and acquired

on
18 January 2018
Is it Nature or Nurture, congenital or acquired? The answer is actually quite simple: everything is Nature and Nurture. The structure if the brain determines what we can learn and what we learn determines the structure of the brain.


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Memory

Where am I? Our internal GPS

on
21 December 2017
London taxi drivers know every street in London, as well as all the restaurants, post offices, shops and more. In our brain there is an ingenious GPS. And this GPS is integrated with our life history and emotions. Try doing that with a navigator!


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Perception

Where are the limits of the body?

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7 December 2017
What is the boundary of your body? Where does your body end? All fairly clear to you, but not to your brain. A rake you hold in your hand can become a part of your body, and sometimes a rubber hand can seem like your real hand. How can this be?


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Medical

The placebo effect doesn’t exist

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23 November 2017
Depression lifts with placebo pills, joint pain disappears after a placebo operation. Changes in the brain can be observed after the use of a placebo. How do such effects of sham treatment come about? Placebos do have effects. But THE placebo effect does not exist.


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Plasticity

Growth and pruning: the brain of a child

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9 November 2017
A newborn baby is well-equipped to eat and sleep, but not much more. It cannot speak, it sees almost nothing, and controlled movements of its arms and legs are minimal. Previously it was believed that, at birth, the brain was ready for all these tasks (nature), and that the child only had to learn through experience (nurture). Significant changes in the brain before, during and after this major learning period are however a condition for and also a result of this learning process.


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Complex Systems

The Ego is dead, long live the ego

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26 October 2017
The Ego does not exist, it is an illusion, a trick of the brain. This claim of neuroscientists may scare you. But is it true? Or does something like an ego exist? And if so, what is it?


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Perception

Recognising faces

on
12 October 2017
You walk down a street and nearly bump into someone; you look at their face and in a fraction of a second you know who it is. It does not really matter if you see them in profile or full face. And one can do this with thousands of faces; a clever trick of our brains. How do we recognise faces?


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Heredity

Autism is hereditary, but you don’t inherit autism

on
28 September 2017
The probability of having autism is greater for an individual if it runs in their family. This suggests hereditary factors. But what do you actually inherit? What you inherit is a predisposition for a specific development of your brain. This, together with what you experience while growing up, can lead to the development of a mild to severe form of autism.
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