Yearly Archives: 2022

Built on recent advances in machine learning, the model predicts how well individuals will produce and comprehend sentences. [Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences | December 22, 2022] Cognitive scientists have long sought to understand what makes some sentences more difficult to comprehend than others. Any account of language comprehension, […]

Cognitive scientists develop new model explaining difficulty in language comprehension

[Spectrum News, Anila D’Mello | December 22, 2022] Listen to this story: How scientists can counteract their unwitting contributions to autism’s sex bias Audio Playe The amount of research dedicated to understanding autism has grown rapidly, with more than 50,000 papers about the condition published over the past decade alone. To […]

How scientists can counteract their unwitting contributions to autism’s sex ...

MIT researchers are discovering which parts of the brain are engaged when a person evaluates a computer program. [Steve Nadis | MIT CSAIL | December 21, 2022] Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which measures changes in blood flow throughout the brain, has been used over the past couple of decades for a […]

This is your brain. This is your brain on code

Researchers discover that to sharpen its control over precise maneuvers, the brain uses comparisons between control signals — not the signals themselves. [Kevin Hartnett | Quanta Magazine | November 28, 2022] A mouse is running on a treadmill embedded in a virtual reality corridor. In its mind’s eye, it sees […]

The Brain Uses Calculus to Control Fast Movements

Large scale ECoG recording during social scene watching and social behaviors in marmosets Authors: *H. Xu, Y. Su, J. Sharma, W. Menegas, C. Trimmer, F. Liang, R. Landman, B. Zhang, M. Sur, R. Saxe, G. Feng, R. Desimone Abstract: Humans can understand social scenes at a glance. Abilities such as […]

SCSB @ the 2022 Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting

Professors Mark Bear and Laura Kiessling ’83, along with Krishna Shenoy SM ’92, PhD ’95, David Tuveson ’87, and Martin Burke are among the newly elected members. On October 17, the National Academy of Medicine announced the election of 100 new members to join their esteemed ranks. MIT faculty members Laura […]

Five with MIT ties elected to the National Academy of ...

[Anne Trafton | MIT News Office | October 12, 2022] Gloria Choi’s studies of how the immune system and nervous system influence each other could yield new approaches to treating neurological disorders.   When Gloria Choi was making plans to launch her research lab at MIT, nearly 10 years ago, she thought […]

Building a bridge between neuroscience and immunology

[Emma Yasinski | Spectrum News | October 4, 2022] The Children’s Communication Checklist 2 (CCC-2) could help identify children with social-pragmatic communication difficulties, a new study has found. Although few children meet the diagnostic criteria for social (pragmatic) communication disorder (SCD) on its own, many with autism or other types of language problems also […]

Social-pragmatic difficulties common with autism, other diagnoses

Neurons derived from the cells of a person with fragile X syndrome develop atypically when transplanted into a mouse’s brain, a new study has found. Some of the differences replicate those seen in the brains of people with fragile X syndrome. Researchers have struggled to create mice that accurately model the condition, […]

Fragile X neurons develop atypically in chimeric mice

[Peter Hess | Spectrum News | September 14, 2022] A large mutation that leads to fragile X syndrome in people does not set off the same genetic cascade in mice, a new study shows. The work highlights the limitations of using mice to model the condition and the need to explore other model animals, […]

Largest-yet fragile X mutation in mice confirms model’s shortcomings

A commonly used screening test creates a gender gap that may hinder diagnosis and treatment for women and girls. [Anne Trafton | MIT News Office | September 8, 2022] In recent years, researchers who study autism have made an effort to include more women and girls in their studies. However, despite these […]

Studies of autism tend to exclude women, researchers find

Using organoids to model early development, researchers used an emerging microscopy technology to see that new neurons struggled to reach their developmental destination. [David Orenstein | Picower Institute for Learning and Memory | August 3, 2022] Using an innovative microscopy method, scientists at The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT […]

Advanced imaging reveals mired migration of neurons in Rett syndrome ...

To ensure a quick halt, brain circuit architecture avoids a slow process of integration in favor of quicker differentiation, study finds. [David Orenstein | Picower Institute for Learning and Memory | July 28, 2022] Your new apartment is just a couple of blocks down the street from the bus stop, but today […]

Sprint then stop? The brain is wired for the math ...

Studying speakers of 45 languages, neuroscientists found similar patterns of brain activation and language selectivity. [Anne Trafton | MIT News Office | July 18, 2022] Over several decades, neuroscientists have created a well-defined map of the brain’s “language network,” or the regions of the brain that are specialized for processing language. Found […]

Whether speaking Turkish or Norwegian, the brain’s language network looks ...

[Leah Campbell | Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences | June 21, 2022] A team of cognitive scientists and doctors finds that patients with aphasia use different cognitive tools to compensate for language deficits. Bruce Willis’s recent announcement that he was retiring from acting brought widespread public attention to the neurological condition […]

Study illuminates trade-off between complex words and complex sentences

[Anne Trafton | MIT News | June 1, 2022] Unexpected outcomes trigger release of noradrenaline, which helps the brain focus its attention and learn from the event. When your brain needs you to pay attention to something important, one way it can do that is to send out a burst of noradrenaline, […]

How the brain responds to surprising events

Source: [Anne Trafton | MIT News Office, May 25, 2022] Modeling study suggests that the muffled environment in utero primes the brain’s ability to interpret some types of sound. Inside the womb, fetuses can begin to hear some sounds around 20 weeks of gestation. However, the input they are exposed to is […]

Early sound exposure in the womb shapes the auditory system

Source: [Jason Sparapani | Department of Materials Science and Engineering | MIT News | May 13, 2022] Professor Polina Anikeeva’s innovation in the treatment of neurological disorders highlights the interdisciplinary nature of her field. A pivotal moment in Polina Anikeeva’s career was when she looked at an MRI scan of Parkinson’s disease […]

Is it neuroscience? Chemistry? Art? Wulff Lecture shows versatility, diversity ...

Source: [David Orenstein | Picower Institute for Learning and Memory | May 2, 2022] Innovative brain-wide mapping study shows that an “engram,” the ensemble of neurons encoding a memory, is widely distributed and includes regions not previously realized. A new study by scientists at The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at […]

A single memory is stored across many connected brain regions

Source: [MIT News Office | April 28, 2022] Prestigious honor society announces more than 250 new members. Seven MIT faculty members are among more than 250 leaders from academia, the arts, industry, public policy, and research elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the academy announced Thursday. One […]

Seven from MIT elected to American Academy of Arts and ...

Source: [David Orenstein | Picower Institute for Learning and Memory | April 28, 2022] Competitive seed grants launch yearlong investigations of novel hypotheses about potential causes, biomarkers, treatments of Alzheimer’s and ALS. Neurodegenerative diseases are defined by an increasingly widespread and debilitating death of nervous system cells, but they also share other […]

Aging Brain Initiative awards fund five new ideas to study, ...

Source: [McGovern News | Jennifer Michalowski | April 26, 2022] From search engines to voice assistants, computers are getting better at understanding what we mean. That’s thanks to language processing programs that make sense of a staggering number of words, without ever being told explicitly what those words mean. Such programs infer […]

What words can convey

With a comprehensive map of the wiring, researchers can now discern what information flows into the circuit to enable a key brain function Source: [David Orenstein | Picower Institute | April 21, 2022] In a new brain-wide circuit tracing study, scientists at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory focused selective attention […]

Circuit that focuses attention brings in wide array of inputs

When artificial intelligence is tasked with visually identifying objects and faces, it assigns specific components of its network to face recognition — just like the human brain. Source: [Jennifer Michalowski | McGovern Institute for Brain Research | April 6, 2022] The human brain seems to care a lot about faces. It’s dedicated […]

An optimized solution for face recognition

These cells, located in the brain’s striatum, appear to help with decision-making that requires evaluating risks and benefits. Source: [Anne Trafton | MIT News Office | March 24, 2022] When we make complex decisions, we have to take many factors into account. Some choices have a high payoff but carry potential risks; […]

Study finds neurons that encode the outcomes of actions

Tracing connections between neuron populations could help researchers map brain circuits that underlie behavior and perception. Source: [Anne Trafton | MIT News Office | March 3, 2022] Using a novel probe for functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), MIT biological engineers have devised a way to monitor individual populations of neurons and reveal […]

New MRI probe can reveal more of the brain’s inner ...

Source: [Picower News, David Orenstein | February 28, 2022] National Institute recognizes innovations and research elucidating neuronal plasticity and computations The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) has elected Mriganka Sur, Newton Professor of Neuroscience in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT to its College of Fellows. Peers […]

Mriganka Sur elected to the 2022 class of the AIMBE ...

Professor and cognitive neuroscientist recognized for groundbreaking work on the functional organization of the human brain. Source: [Julie Pryor | McGovern Institute for Brain Research | January 31, 2022] The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has announced that Nancy Kanwisher, the Walter A. Rosenblith Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience in MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive […]

Nancy Kanwisher wins National Academy of Sciences Award in the ...

Sharing food and kissing are among the signals babies use to interpret their social world, according to a new study. Source: [Anne Trafton | MIT News Office | January 20, 2022] Learning to navigate social relationships is a skill that is critical for surviving in human societies. For babies and young children, […]

Babies can tell who has close relationships based on one ...