Thinking Sensing and Behaving

Photograph of a man cleaning and taking care of a child at the same time
The brain works best with one job at a time, but daily life calls for multitasking, causing a “bottle neck” in the brain.
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Dementia is a description of any progressive disorder that takes away a person’s cognitive and functional abilities.
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How does the brain track smells? Scientists use the olfactory system in insects to study how the brain responds to and processes different odors.
Neurons in the eye turn light into electrical signals. How and where signals travel between these cells is thought to affect vision.
Synesthesia is a condition in which stimulation of one sense automatically evokes a perception in an unstimulated sense.
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Tossing and turning generally occurs during very brief arousals from sleep during the night.
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When two tasks demand competing attention, there is generally a switching that occurs between the neural processes involved, rather than concurrent processing as may be expected with true multitasking.
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Brain plasticity (from the Greek word ‘plastos’ meaning molded) refers to the extraordinary ability of the brain to modify its own structure and function following changes within the body or in the external environment.
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Humans have used opiate drugs, such as morphine, for thousands of years, but these are often highly addictive and dangerous to one's health.
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Although legal, alcohol is addictive. Together, alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction — sometimes referred to as alcoholism or alcohol dependence — are among the nation's major health problems.
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Despite definitive proof that smoking can be fatal, nicotine still is one of the most widely abused substances. In fact, tobacco kills more than 440,000 U.S. citizens each year — more than alcohol, cocaine, heroin, homicide, suicide, car accidents, and HIV combined.
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Ecstasy, herbal ecstasy, rohypnol ("roofies"), GHB (gamma hydroxy-butyrate), and ketamine are among the drugs used by some teens and young adults as part of raves and trances. Recent research, however, is uncovering the serious damage that can occur in several parts of the brain from use of some of these drugs.
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Marijuana distorts perception and alters the sense of time, space, and self. Researchers have made some progress in uncovering the reasons for these responses.
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