Could birds’ courting behaviors change when they’re being watched? In episode 42, Masayo Soma from Hokkaido University discusses her research into monogamous songbirds which intensify their singing and dancing during courtship rituals – but only while in the presence of an audience of other birds. Her article “Couples showing off: Audience promotes both male and female multimodal courtship display in a songbird,” coauthored […]
Can cognitive biases and heuristics regarding race influence U.S. Supreme Court decisions? In episode 40, Jonathan Feingold and Evelyn Carter from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) discuss the sometimes selective use of social science research by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist as analyzed in their article “Eyes Wide Open: What Social Science Can Tell Us About the Supreme Court’s […]
What can the chance discovery of an illusion tell us about how our eyes and brains work together? Ben Balas from North Dakota State University talks with us in episode 37 about his research into the Flashed Face Distortion Effect, an illusion in which normal faces – when rapidly presented in people’s peripheral vision – are perceived as grotesque and distorted. His article, “Factors that […]
While we can’t regenerate limbs, might our brains have greater plasticity than commonly thought? In episode 36, Marlene Behrmann from Carnegie Mellon University, discusses her 3-year longitudinal investigation of a young boy who had the region of his brain which recognizes faces removed, but regained this ability through neural plasticity. Her article “Successful Reorganization of Category-Selective Visual Cortex following Occipito-temporal Lobectomy […]
Almost lost to history, these toys quite literally put quantum mechanics at one’s fingertips. In episode 35, Jean-François Gauvin from Université Laval in Canada, discusses how he came to understand the purpose and value of unique toy blocks that ended up on his desk at Harvard University in 2014 as the director of the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments (CHSI).
Because 98% of the human genome doesn’t serve a direct role in gene expression, many biologists have long thought of them as nothing but “junk DNA.” But might they hold the key to helping stem the formation of deadly cancers? In episode 34, Mike Feigin from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center talks with us about his discovery of mutations in part of the human genome that most people have so far tended to ignore, but which appears to regulate the expression of genes which drive the formation of cancers.
Can we put the brakes on cancers’ ability to metastasize? In episode 33, John Lewis from the University of Alberta talks with us about his research into inhibiting cancer cell movement and metastasis through genomic targets.
Can auditory errors and illusions better help us understand how the brain works? In episode 32 Mike Vitevitch from the University of Kansas talks with us about his research into the cognitive mechanisms underlying the Speech-to-Song auditory illusion.
Might early hearing impairment lead to cognitive challenges later in life? Yune Lee from the Ohio State University talks with us about his research into how even minor hearing loss can increase the cognitive load required to distinguish spoken language.