Center for Mind and Brain

Understanding Learning by Inference

Both humans and other animals are good at learning by inference, using information we do have to figure out things we cannot observe directly. New research from the Center for Mind and Brain at the University of California, Davis, shows how our brains achieve this by constructing cognitive maps.

Student Autism Researcher Named a Goldwater Scholar

A UC Davis psychology major who hopes to someday work as a clinical psychologist with clients on the autism spectrum has been awarded a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, the nation’s leading scholarship for undergraduates pursuing research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering. Lynnette Hersh is one of two UC Davis students and among 417 sophomores and juniors nationwide selected from a pool of more than 5,000 applicants to receive the prestigious STEM scholarship

Making Decisions Based on How We Feel About Memories, Not Accuracy

When we recall a memory, we retrieve specific details about it: where, when, with whom. But we often also experience a vivid feeling of remembering the event, sometimes almost reliving it. Memory researchers call these processes objective and subjective memory, respectively. A new study from the Center for Mind and Brain at UC Davis shows that objective and subjective memory can function independently, involve different parts of the brain, and that people base their decisions on subjective memory — how they feel about a memory — more than on its accuracy.

How Groups Make Up Their Minds

The choices we make in large group settings, such as in online forums and social media, might seem fairly automatic. But our decision-making process is more complicated than we know. So, researchers at the University of Washington and UC Davis have been working to understand what’s behind that seemingly intuitive process. The research has discovered that in large groups of essentially anonymous members, people make choices based on a model of the “mind of the group” and an evolving simulation of how a choice will affect that theorized mind.

‘Earworms’ Research Will Help Reveal Link Between Memories and Music

“Earworms” are those fragments of songs that get stuck on repeat in your head. While earworms are often frustrating, repeated exposure to catchy tunes can also trigger old memories, even in people whose memory skills are impaired by Alzheimer’s disease or other cognitive disorders.