In nature, we find many examples of animals that favor mates with a certain set of features. In some cases, such sexual selection leads to impressive changes to the morphology of animals through the course of evolution, such as the enormous and colorful tail of peacocks, deployed during courtship. When choosing a partner for reproduction, animals are facing an important dilemma. On the one hand, some of the characteristics of their potential mate may truly indicate the quality of their genes – they may somehow correlate with how good of an offspring can be expected from mating with them. Continue reading
How does the visual system process information from the outside world and what are the rules that constrain the evolution of sensory systems? We discuss these questions with Dale Purves, Geller Professor of Neurobiology at Duke University. Continue reading
I awoke this morning to a ferocious lightning storm. The house shook from thunderous booms. The predawn darkness blanched in blazing white flashes. Lightning is impressive; especially in contrast to the feeble bioelectricity generated by the body’s nerve cells. Or is that just an illusion? Neuroscientist Michael Persinger has done some back-of-the-envelope calculations that may surprise you.
Before I started doing research on social interactions, I worked on the control of locomotor movements and respiration in an aquatic animal, the lamprey. One of the questions that always intrigued me is how the nervous system of this animal controls steering movements, how it makes lampreys turn left or right. It may appear like a trivial problem: to go left, they just have to orient the body slightly to the left and continue performing the propulsive movements. But it is not as simple. The problem comes when you realize that the muscles involved in steering are the very muscles involved in straightforward locomotion – and some of them might be busy when the animal decides to turn. Continue reading
In this episode of NEURO.tv, we discuss with Dr. Anteonello Bonci, scientific director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about the effects that drug abuse has on the brain. Continue reading