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New Robotics Solve an Old Riddle

It turns out your teachers were being a little hasty when they said there are only five senses. For instance, there’s proprioception, which is essentially the brain’s ability to take stock of where your limbs are in relation to the rest of your body, without seeing or touching anything. Even floating in a pool with your eyes shut, you don’t have to check to know where your arms and legs are. This, of course, gets a bit complicated when you lose an arm or leg. In 80% of patients, the result, at least for a little while, is a condition called phantom limb syndrome: a burning or tingling perceived in the area of the former extremity, which scientists theorize may be the nerve endings attempting

Bamboozled! How Disguises Fool Us

At this point, it’s well-trod territory: why couldn’t star reporter Lois Lane recognize that her nerdy coworker Clark Kent was also Superman? How could simply changing one’s clothes, slipping off a pair of glasses, and brushing one’s hair fool a grown adult? Who could fall for such surface-level changes in appearance? Well. Plenty of people, as it turns out. Researchers at the University of York and University of Huddersfield recently led an experiment testing the average person’s ability to recognize disguised faces in photos. Models were given resources to change their hair, facial hair, and makeup, but were not allowed to wear common spy movie props like hats or sunglasses, since these

In a Heartbeat

Some amount of fear is healthy. As a 2015 episode of NPR’s Invisibilia illustrates, that rare person born with no fear suffers some unique setbacks. Still, given the millions of people around the world with anxiety disorders and/or post-traumatic stress disorders, it’s easy to see the ways that experiencing too much fear, or experiencing it at the wrong times, can adversely affect day to day life. That’s where the Cardiac Control for Fear in Brain (CCFB) studies come in. Led by Professor Sarah Garfinkel of the University of Sussex, in Brighton, UK, the goals are lofty. “Imagine what might be possible if you can turn fear on and off,” begins their fact sheet on the website for the European Re

Change Your Food, Change Your Mood?

If you’re looking to bring a change in your psychological state, the answer may be as simple as adjusting your eating habits. So, which diet are we promoting today? Any of them, basically. Dr Joseph Firth, an Honorary Research fellow at The University of Manchester and Research Fellow at NICM Health Research Institute at Western Sydney University, led a recent meta-study. It checked 16 randomized studies encompassing 45,826 people, most of whom had non-clinical depression. In other words, they were bummed out, but not in a way that had been diagnosed as medical. Each of the 16 studies examined the effects of making various positive dietary changes—less fat, more nutrients, and so on—combined

Take 9 Hours and Call Me in the Morning

Sleep: we all know it’s important. We all know we should be getting 7 to 9 hours a night. And yet one in five U.S. adults regularly fails to hit that target. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in twenty-five adults admits to having fallen asleep while driving within the last thirty days. That’s bad news to everyone on the road, but sleep deprivation can come back to bite you even if you aren’t literally dozing off at the wheel. For instance, the next time you stub your toe. A new study from the University of Berkeley, California shows that sleep deprivation doesn’t just make you more likely to get in an accident—it actually makes the injuries from those