Science News - Tricking The Brain

Placebo Beer Triggers Real Dopamine Rush


photo by Petra Bork,

Not a drop of alcohol was needed to trigger a hefty Dopamine rush in study participants – just the mere taste of beer did the trick. The dopamine release, of course, is normally associated with drinking, and other drugs of abuse.

“We believe this is the first experiment in humans to show that the taste of an alcoholic drink alone, without any intoxicating effect, can elicit dopamine activity in the brain’s reward centers,” said David A. Kareken, Ph.D., professor of neurology at the IU School of Medicine.

This indicates the validity of the point we are trying to make on this website: If you play it right and think the right thoughts, it is possible to access the body’s hormonal resources at will. Read more about it in the introduction to our Quick Trance Seminar.

Source: StrangeScience

‘Seeing’ the flavor of foods before tasting them


photo by Marvin Küppers,

“Important new insights into how people perceive food flavors” have been anounced Terry E. Acree, Ph.D. “We are beginning to understand that flavor depends on parts of the brain that involve taste, odor, touch and vision. The sum total of these signals, plus our emotions and past experiences, result in perception of flavors, and determine whether we like or dislike specific foods.”

Acree said that people actually can see the flavor of foods, and the eyes have such a powerful role that they can trump the tongue and the nose.

In a test that people can do at home, psychologists have asked volunteers to smell caramel, strawberry or other sweet foods and then take a sip of plain water; the water will be tasting sweet. But smell bread, meat, fish or other non-sweet foods, and water will not taste sweet.

From: StrangeScience

Science News - Memory

Raise Your Fist Against Memory Loss


photo by Jutta Rotter,

Clenching your right fist may help form a stronger memory of an event or action, and clenching your left may help you recollect the memory later, according to new research.

“The findings suggest that some simple body movements – by temporarily changing the way the brain functions – can improve memory.” says Ruth Propper, lead scientist on the study.

The authors clarify that further work is needed to test whether their results also will extend to memories of visual stimuli like remembering a face, or spatial tasks, such as remembering where keys were placed. The authors suggest that this effect of hand-clenching on memory may be because clenching a fist activates specific brain regions that are associated with memory formation.

Source: ScienceDaily

Musicians Don’t Lose Sleep Over Practice


photo by Rainer Sturm;

A new study examining how the brain learns and retains motor skills looked particulary into whether sleep enhances the learning process for musicians practicing a new piano melody. The study found that musicians who practiced and learned a new melody and were tested on it again after a night’s sleep show enhanced skill.

“The goal is to understand how the brain decides what to keep, what to discard, what to enhance, because our brains are receiving such a rich data stream and we don’t have room for everything,” says researcher Sarah E. Allen from Dallas.

“Becoming a star over night” seems to be a scientifically sound project now!

But stick to your One Hit Wonder, because the study also found, that when two similar musical pieces were practiced one after the other, followed by sleep, any gains in speed and accuracy were diminished. Can’t have it all, folks.

Source: ScienceDaily

Reactivating memories during sleep

reactivating memories

photo by Rainer Sturm,

Why do some memories last a lifetime while others disappear quickly? A new study suggests that retaining and reactivating memories has a lot to do with rehearsal.

The study shows that when a memory has a perceived high value, it is more likely to be rehearsed and consolidated also during sleep and remembered later. Many memories that are stored during the day are not remembered.

“We have to rehearse memories in order to keep them. Practice increases the likelihood of later remembering,” says Delphine Oudiette, a postdoctoral fellow in the department of psychology at Northwestern and lead author of the study. “And a lot of our rehearsal happens when we don’t even realize it – while we’re asleep.”

From: ScienceDaily