The Brain Lab Tour

This past weekend, I got to visit one of the coolest places I’ve ever seen: the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging (LONI). So just for today, I’m gonna take a break from news reporting, and tell you a little about what goes on inside an actual cutting-edge neuroscience lab. Sound good? OK, let’s go! I’m not sure quite what I was expecting to see as I stepped through the lab’s electronically locked door – certainly not the roomful of clean, open-walled work areas that greeted me. I might’ve been standing in a sleek law office, or an advertising agency – except that…

Babies, Brains, and Bilingualism

If you’d like to learn a new language, pay attention to the background noise, a new study┬ásuggests. See, each person’s brain responds a little differently to different types of sounds. Yours is most sensitive to slight variations in your native tongue (which you think of as accents), and less sensitive to variations in other languages. If you’re musically inclined, your brain is highly responsive to slight changes in rhythm and pitch. But when it comes to say, ceiling fans, it’s unlikely that you could tell them apart by sound alone. None of this is hard-wired, though – when we’re born, we’re extraordinarily…