New in Neuroscience: Pay Attention to this, not that

New in Neuroscience: Pay Attention to this, not that

"New in Neuroscience" is a new feature highlighting recent neuroscience findings. In this edition, Malcolm Campbell discusses a recent research article about how the brain pays attention to some things, while ignoring others. 

The ability to selectively attend to relevant stimuli and ignore distractions is essential to animal survival. This ability is especially interesting to neuroscientists since it involves the interaction of executive control--the “mind” of the animal--with early sensory processing. It is widely believed that executive control originates in the cortex, whereas sensory signals originate in the periphery and travel to the cortex through subcortical structures such as the brain stem and the thalamus.

Read More

To Sleep, Perchance to Feed the Cat

To Sleep, Perchance to Feed the Cat

We all have an anecdote or two about real-life sensations—the smell of cooking food, the noise of thunderstorms, or the pressure of a full bladder—that made appearances in our dreams. It’s not that rare for external stimuli, when they happen to occur during dream-producing REM sleep, to be incorporated into dream content. Becca Krock discusses one such case, involving dreams, drums, and an impatient cat.

Read More