What we think we know — but might not — pushes us to learn more: New findings challenge the popular assumption that curiosity in general is the prime driver of learning

Spoiler alert if you haven’t watched the “Game of Thrones” season finale. If you think you know the farm animal most closely related to T-Rex, or the American president who inspired the creation of blue jelly beans — but aren’t entirely sure — you’re more likely to bone up on the chicken-dinosaur connection or Ronald Reagan’s predilection for glazed, gel-filled […]

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Engineers translate brain signals directly into speech: Advance marks critical step toward brain-computer interfaces that hold immense promise for those with limited or no ability to speak

In a scientific first, Columbia neuroengineers have created a system that translates thought into intelligible, recognizable speech. By monitoring someone’s brain activity, the technology can reconstruct the words a person hears with unprecedented clarity. This breakthrough, which harnesses the power of speech synthesizers and artificial intelligence, could lead to new ways for computers to communicate directly with the brain. It […]

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Difficulties with audiovisual processing contributes to dyslexia in children: Findings could lead to tests that identify the disorder before kids fall far behind their peers

A University at Buffalo psychologist has published a neuroimaging study that could help develop tests for early identification of dyslexia, a disorder that effects 80 percent of those diagnosed with difficulties reading, writing and spelling. Tasks which require audiovisual processing are especially challenging for children with dyslexia, according to Chris McNorgan, an assistant professor in UB’s psychology department and project […]

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Great apes and ravens plan without thinking

Planning and self control in animals do not require human-like mental capacities, according to a study from Stockholm University. Newly developed learning models, similar to models within artificial intelligence research, show how planning in ravens and great apes can develop through prior experiences without any need of thinking. Researchers have previously suggested that ravens can plan better than four-year-old children. […]

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For adults, the terrible twos are a confusing earful

Here’s another reason you might be exhausted after that preschool birthday party: Your brain had to work to figure out who actually asked for more ice cream. “What we found with two-and-a-half-year-olds is that it’s amazingly hard for adults to identify who’s talking,” said Angela Cooper, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Toronto. Cooper’s co-authored research will be presented […]

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Preschool children show awake responses to naptime nonsense words

Of all of our senses, hearing is the only one that has long been suspected as being “on” all the time — even in our sleep. Sounds that occur during the night have a way of registering in the brain. Now a group of scientists in Tennessee is reporting the results of studies on what is heard and not heard […]

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