Although it is well established that all behaviors and experiences, spiritual or otherwise, must originate in the brain, information on the causative link between brain activity and spirituality is lacking. Neuroimaging studies have associated activity within a large network in the brain that connects the frontal, parietal, and temporal cortexes with spiritual experiences, but researchers have been unable to establish a causative relationship between such a network and spirituality.
In order to establish that relationship, researchers studied the personality trait self-transcendence (ST), which is thought to be a measure of spiritual feeling, thinking, and behaviors, in patients before and after surgery to remove a brain tumor.
Researchers have isolated an independent processing channel of synapses inside the brain's auditory cortex that deals specifically with shutting off sound processing at appropriate times. The discovery, detailed this week in Neuron, challenges a long-held assumption that the signaling of a sound's appearance and its subsequent disappearance are both handled by the same pathway.
The new finding could lead to new, distinctly targeted therapies such as improved hearing devices, said Michael Wehr, a professor of psychology and member of the University of Oregon Institute of Neuroscience.
An international team of climate scientists say they have developed a new approach to modeling the earth's climate that will improve the accuracy of future models utilized by the IPCC and provide the framework for thousands of individual scientific studies on climate impacts and adaptation, and changes in the way societies generate and use energy.
Previous scenarios used by the IPCC usually assumed that no one would try to reduce climate change. Today, policymakers and researchers are interested in exploring ways to limit changes. Understanding the impacts and interactions of activities such as increasing energy efficiency and conservation, developing new renewable fuels to replace fossil-based fuels, and regulating how land is used are crucial to better decision-making.
The authors of a new study published in Human Communication Research say that the media is losing some its ability to sway viewers on important social issues. Specifically, the study shows that the 'OC', a crummy drama series about teens and their turbulent lives in southern California, may be more effective in persuading young women to use birth control than a news-format program on the same issue.
The results show the power that narratives like TV shows can have in influencing people, said Emily Moyer-Gusé, co-author of the study and assistant professor of communication at Ohio State University.
A new commentary just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences claims that more evidence is mounting that birds did not evolve from ground-dwelling theropod dinosaurs and challenging decades of accepted theories about the evolution of flight.
The weight of the evidence is now suggesting that not only did birds not descend from dinosaurs, but that some species now believed to be dinosaurs may have descended from birds, according John Ruben, a professor of zoology at Oregon State University who authored the PNAS commentary.
A new study conducted by researchers from UC Davis and the John Innes Center in Norwich, England, suggests that it is harder than previously thought to predict when sudden shifts in Earth's natural systems will occur. The finding is troubling for scientists who are trying to identify the tipping points that could push climate change into an irreparable global disaster. The study was published recently in Ecology Letters.