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Plasticity

Growth and pruning: the brain of a child

By on 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

By on 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 Vision

Face recognition

By 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

By 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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Perception Vision

Let the sunshine in

By on 14 September 2017
How would we manage, if we could not visualise three-dimensional objects from flat two-dimensional diagrams? An amazing feat our brain performs. What role does predetermined programming play in this? That is related to how the sun shines on us.


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Crime

The parable of the murderous brain

By on 31 August 2017
In a country with golden sand dunes by the sea, each year saw more murders committed than the year before. Neuroscientists had proven that the conscience of most murderers did not function. The judges were stuck. How could they solve this problem?


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Memory

Driving and memory

By on 17 August 2017
When you drive a car, you have to execute several actions at the same time, and also pay attention to traffic. For this to take place, most of your actions are performed automatically. These are laid down in a separate memory in a specific part of the brain: the corpus striatum.


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Predictive Process

Amazing and paradoxical

By on 3 August 2017
What is the relation between what the neurologist calls amazing and the psychiatrist paradoxical? Our impression of the world around us is not formed on the basis of what we actually perceive with our senses. Instead, we carry a preexisting image of our surroundings in our head, and we check if that matches with our perceptions. Sometimes this goes awry.


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Complex Systems

Who directs the brain?

By on 20 July 2017
Our brain controls everything we do and think and what happens in our body. Who directs these complicated brains? "I" do? No, there is no central power or police force, no editor, prime minister or CEO, no leader. The brain controls all without a director.


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Plasticity

The language of music… and a bit of football

By on 6 July 2017
Successful musicians put in hours of practice from an early age. But is all that practice really necessary? Is talent alone - with a bit of practice - not enough? How does the brain change with practice, and can you create a genius?
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