behavior · brain · environment · neuroscience

Human Brain Responds To Animals, Cute Or Creepy : NPR

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Humans are hard-wired to spot animals in our environment. Image by Rennett Stowe via Flickr

Have you ever sworn you knew what your cat was thinking? You may have been right. It turns out we are more tuned into animals and their emotional status than we might think:

Animals have a special place in the human heart. Now, researchers are reporting that creatures great and small also have a special place in our heads.

A team led by researchers at Caltech has found individual brain cells that respond when a person sees an animal, but not when that person sees another person, a place, or an object.

The cells were found in the amygdala, an almond-shaped part of the brain involved in emotions, including fear. And they responded to any kind of animal, including spiders, dogs and rodents, says Christof Koch, a researcher at Caltech and the lead author of the study, published in Nature Neuroscience.

One reason present-day humans have these cells may be because some animals posed a threat to our ancestors, Koch says. Specialized cells could have helped the brain respond quickly to danger, he says.

more via Human Brain Responds To Animals, Cute Or Creepy : NPR.

I love the idea that urge to cuddle puppies comes from the amygdala, often referred to as the “lizard” part of our brain! It makes sense that as humans we’d survive better if we were more in tune with the animals in our surroundings and whether they wanted to eat us or not.

brain · cognition · creativity · music · neuroscience

How the brain reacts to music, improv

As a follow-up to my previous post about brain reactions to improv, creativity, and problem-solving, check out my post on my other blog, Art of Science, to see the TED talk by Charles Limb discussing how the brain works on music.

How the brain reacts to music, improv.

anthropology · brain · creativity · Mental · neuroscience · psychology

The Evolving Minds Of Humans : NPR

 

 

Where do we get artistic ideas and inclinations? What is it about the brain that makes us like art? Neurologist Antonio Damasio writes about his ideas why in his new book, Self Comes to Mind.

In his new book, Self Comes To Mind, neurologist Antonio Damasio argues that consciousness gave humans an evolutionary advantage. Damasio describes the differences between self and mind, and traces the evolutionary path of the human brain.

Where do we get the ability to create works of art, to be moved by a piece of beautiful music or to feel bad when someone says something hurtful?

via The Evolving Minds Of Humans : NPR.

His main focus is on consciousness, but touches on the idea of creativity, new thinking, and artistic desires as part of our evolution as humans.