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.
People have practiced various forms of meditation for thousands of years, usually in a religious context. But only recently has meditation been the subject of scientific study. In the latest episode of The Backdrop podcast, Clifford Saron, a neuroscientist at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain who directs the Shamatha Project meditation study, discusses how mindfulness can affect our physical, mental and emotional health.
If you have watched TV since the ’90s, the sitcom theme song, “I’ll Be There For You,” has likely been stuck in your head at one point or another. New research from UC Davis suggests these experiences are more than a passing nuisance — they play an important role in helping memories form, not only for the song, but also related life events like hanging out with friends — or watching other people hang with their friends on the ’90s television show, "Friends."
Seven capstone seminars in the UC Davis College of Letters and Science this quarter have offered seniors the option of attending in person instead of online. For most of the students — and their professors — the seminars are their first in-person courses since pandemic precautions shut down the campus more than a year ago.
Much of what scientists know about human learning, visual attention and memory comes from laboratory studies involving artificial tasks, like watching and recalling words or colored shapes flashed on a computer monitor. Two UC Davis research teams, with support from the James S. McDonnell Foundation, will study the development of learning in a wide range of ages — from infancy to young adulthood — in more naturalistic settings.
Even in these social-distanced days, we keep in our heads a map of our relationships with other people: family, friends, co-workers, and how they relate to each other. New research from the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain shows that we put together this social map in much the same way that we assemble a map of physical places and things.
Toddlers may not be able to describe their feelings of uncertainty, but a new study from the Center for Mind and Brain at UC Davis provides evidence that toddlers may experience and deal with uncertainty in decision-making in the same way as older children and adults.
When George “Ron” Mangun led a campuswide effort to launch the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain in 2002, he declared, “This is the most exciting time in mind and brain research in human history.” In an interview, Mangun talks about becoming the center's director for a second time and the even greater potential for mind and brain breakthroughs today.
A lot of brain power is concentrating at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain for a July 15–24 “boot camp” on researching human brain activity. The annual ERP Boot Camp brings 35 emerging and established scientists from around the world to learn from leading experts how to best record “event-related potentials (ERPs),” the electrical signals generated in the brain in response to events like a spoken word or an image on a computer screen.