The News in Brain and Behavioural Sciences Newsletter is full of fun stuff this week:

  • The fraction of left-handed people today is about the same as it was during the Ice Age
  • People with a history of the digestive disorder celiac disease are three times more likely to develop schizophrenia than those without the disease
  • The ability to appreciate other people's agony is achieved by the same parts of the brain that we use to experience pain for ourselves
  • Just missing breakfast makes you more sensitive to sweet and salty tastes
  • Changes in hormone levels cause many women to be more critical of other women, according to a recent study [this is one of those "duh" things -- women, and the men who live with them, have known this for years. --MB]
  • Human beings are the only animals that have asymmetrical brains
  • A new study of young mothers by researchers at University College London (UCL) has shown that romantic and maternal love activate many of the same specific regions of the brain, and lead to a suppression of neural activity associated with critical social assessment of other people and negative emotions. The findings suggest that once one is closely familiar with a person, the need to assess the character and personality of that person is reduced, and bring us closer to explaining why, in neurological terms, 'love is blind.'
  • Researchers have identified areas of the brain where what we're actually doing (reality) and what we think we're doing (illusion, or perception) are processed.