Much neuroscientific research contains a serious statistical error, cognitive psychologist Sander Nieuwenhuis has discovered. This is even the case if the research has been published in top journals such as Nature and Science.
Curiosity makes people stressed. Satisfying the curiosity works as a reward and also stimulates the memory. Researchers at the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition have provided new evidence for a classical theory about human curiosity using functional MRI scans. The researchers have published an article on the subject in 'Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience'.
Can robots bake pancakes? As far as cognitive psychologist Bernhard Hommel is concerned, yes. Once they are equipped with a cognitive control system, robots can become increasingly smarter through interaction with internet. And that’s where the future lies. Robotics projects in seven European countries are collaborating in this interdisciplinary project, with a European subsidy of € 7.2 million.
Is attention from women different from attention from men? Leiden researchers and their colleagues in Toronto investigated the effects of the hormone oestrogen on spontaneous attention. They were hoping in this way to explain differences between the sexes. Women turned out to only be different from men when they had a high level of oestrogen in their menstruation cycle.
Adrenaline stimulates our body to take action. Noradrenaline does the same with our brain. It is the effect of noradrenaline on the brain that is the subject of research by cognitive psychologist Sander Nieuwenhuis. With his Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) for talented, up-and-coming researchers, he now has 1.5 million euro to fund his own research team.
Some people are by nature more sensitive to stress than others. It’s genetic. Such people might have a tendency to drink more alcohol to reduce stress-induced anxiety. This 'self-medication' hypothesis is confirmed by researchers of the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition of Leiden University.
The way in which written language is processed in the brain is a hot topic in cognitive research. Cognitive psychologist Rinus Verdonschot studied a Japanese script in which a single character can have up to three possible pronunciations. He discovered that all three are simultaneously activated in the brain. In the end, the right pronunciation is determined by the surrounding characters.
Cognition – the ability to understand and interpret situations - does not operate separately from our physical body, but is somewhere within it, you might say. How the processes of observation and behaviour influence one another is what cognitive psychologist Bernhard Hommel (Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition) and his colleagues will be researching in the Virtual Identity Lab (VIL).
‘Resting state fMRI opens up fantastic possibilities for patients suffering from dementia or those who are in a coma, who are scarcely able to carry out any activities at all. It is also a valuable tool for research into the effects of medicines and drugs.' These were the words of neuroscientist Serge Rombouts during his inaugural lecture on Friday 1 April.
During the first semester of academic year 2011-2012 Fenna Poletiek (Cognitive Psychology) will be visiting fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen: “This is the dream of all of us: time and money to do research and only research."
Professor Serge Rombouts with co-applicants Professor Joop van Gerven and Dr John van Swieten has been awarded a subsidy by the Netherlands National Brain and Cognition Initiative. He and his research team will be using a newly developed FMRI technique to develop early markers of dementia.
Researchers at the universities of Leiden, Amsterdam and Granada were the first to investigate the effects of the drug khat on a person’s ability to inhibit undesirable behaviour. Frequent use was shown to decrease self-control, with all the potentially dangerous consequences this implies. In view of the increased number of khat users, this is an alarming development.
13 May, Sebastiaan Meijer (TU Delft): 'Topic: How simulations help to optimize the complex task of rail traffic control at ProRail'; 14 May, Barbara Briers PhD, Universiteit Tilburg; 27 May, Bianca Beersma PhD, Universiteit van Amsterdam.
All top students in their Bachelor third year are invited to apply for the interfacultary Honours class 'Maximizing Human Potential'. The deadline for admission is 13 December 2010.
Religion impacts people’s visual attention. Even years after becoming an atheist, religion continues to influence the way a person sees things. A study on the effects of religion on cognition has shown that different religions can influence our minds in opposite ways. This may hinder communication and understanding between different religious groups.
Do homosexuals really have a "sixth sense" that allows them to recognise other homosexuals? This ability is often referred to as "gaydar". Research led by Lorenza Colzato provides evidence for the existence of a gaydar mechanism.
He says it is pushing back frontiers. Cognitive psychologist Professor Bernhard Hommel is going to lead an extensive interdisciplinary study into the interwovenness of rational and emotional aspects of human decisions. The NWO Programme of Exellence is supporting the project with a grant of € 500,000.
Researchers led by cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato have discovered that fanatical games players who play a lot of so-called shooter games have a higher degree of mental flexibility. Their research has been published in Frontiers in Cognition.
Professor Bernhard Hommel doesn't believe in destiny. After having failed to succeed in becoming an experimental rock singer and a stage actor, he worked as a truck driver for several years before he took up his studies of psychology, literature, and linguistics in Bielefeld, Germany.
An international partnership of brain researchers from 35 research centres - from the US to China - including the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition (LIBC), has collected resting-state functional MRI data from more than 1400 healthy volunteers and put the information online so that it is available for research.