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A collection of images from previous neuroscience articles, including those of an octopus in a chamber, artistic renditions of a brain, brain scans, and an image of neural connections in vitro.
Our Favorite Neuroscience Stories of 2022
This year, neuroscience researchers made important discoveries related to how neurodegeneration attacks the human brain, hooked cultured neurons up to machinery to teach them to play a video game, and more.
Our Favorite Neuroscience Stories of 2022
Our Favorite Neuroscience Stories of 2022

This year, neuroscience researchers made important discoveries related to how neurodegeneration attacks the human brain, hooked cultured neurons up to machinery to teach them to play a video game, and more.

This year, neuroscience researchers made important discoveries related to how neurodegeneration attacks the human brain, hooked cultured neurons up to machinery to teach them to play a video game, and more.

animal cognition
(Left) The optic lobes are thought to be involved in visual processing. In this study, researchers found that guppies with larger optic lobes more quickly learned a visual discrimination task—identifying which color well contained food. (Right) The fish telencephalon is thought to be involved in spatial learning, memory, and inhibitory control. Here, the researchers found that a larger telencephalon might enhance the fish’s cognitive flexibility, allowing them to more quickly associate food with a new color after the researchers switched it.
Infographic: Two Guppy Brain Regions May Help Them Learn Tasks
Natalia Mesa, PhD | Nov 14, 2022 | 1 min read
While guppies with larger optic lobes were champions at learning visual discrimination tasks, guppies with larger telencephalons fared better when researchers switched things up.
Photo of a Guppy fish
Fish Brain Region Size Correlates with Cognitive Flexibility
Natalia Mesa, PhD | Nov 14, 2022 | 3 min read
The relative sizes of specific parts of the guppy brain may explain why some fish are better at learning certain tasks than others. 
Brightly colored intersecting lines, creating a chaotic pattern that resembles a subway map.
Monkeys Look for Patterns that Aren’t There—Just Like Humans Do
Dan Robitzski | Aug 31, 2022 | 4 min read
Macaques continued to search for answers to an unsolvable laboratory task, seemingly refusing to believe that the correct answers were random and inconsistent.
Cover of When Animals Dream: A colourful illustration of an octopus.<br><br>
Book Excerpt from When Animals Dream
David M. Peña-Guzmán | Aug 25, 2022 | 3 min read
In Chapter 1, “The Science of Animal Dreams,” author David M. Peña-Guzmán relays the history of researchers digging into the mental realities of nonhuman brains.
Cover of When Animals Dream: A colourful illustration of an octopus.<br><br>
Opinion: Animal Dreaming Should Give Us Ethical Pause
David M. Peña-Guzmán | Aug 15, 2022 | 4 min read
Research shows that humans aren’t the only animals whose imaginations run wild while they sleep.
old dog smiles at camera
Inside the Brains of Aging Dogs
Lesley Evans Ogden, Knowable Magazine | Aug 1, 2022 | 8 min read
In a citizen science project, thousands of pet dogs are helping scientists to understand what happens to memory and cognition in old age.
A dolphin comes out of the water to catch a red ball.<br><br>
Dolphins May Remember Personal Experiences
Alejandra Manjarrez, PhD | Jul 29, 2022 | 4 min read
Bottlenose dolphins can recall trivial details of a prior event to later solve a novel task, a study finds, suggesting these mammals are capable of episodic memory.
A white lab mouse peers over the wall of a sprawling maze
Bacterial Metabolite May Regulate Cognition in Mice
Sophie Fessl, PhD | Jun 3, 2022 | 3 min read
Microbes in the gut influence the death of support cells in the brain by producing isoamylamine, a study suggests.
Octopus in tank lined with black dots
Do Invertebrates Have Emotions?
Natalia Mesa, PhD | May 26, 2022 | 10+ min read
And how do scientists go about answering that question?
goldfish in tank
Researchers Train Goldfish to “Drive”
Chloe Tenn | Jan 12, 2022 | 6 min read
The Scientist spoke with cognitive neuroscientist Ronen Segev about how he taught goldfish to maneuver a moveable tank over land toward a visual target.
mice on wheel and ground
Exercise-Associated Protein Boosts Brain Function in Mice
Chloe Tenn | Dec 9, 2021 | 5 min read
A study that transfused plasma from active to inactive mice suggests the protein clusterin enhances cognition.
ABOVE: A pair of Labroides dimidiatus cleaner fish cleaning a puffer fish
Cleaner Fish Alter Behavior if Partners Can See Them “Cheating”
Chloe Tenn | Oct 7, 2021 | 4 min read
A study of feeding behavior suggests the fish feed differently in front of their partners—a behavioral feature also found in primates.
Dogs Pass Test for Awareness of Their Own Bodies: Study
Catherine Offord | Feb 18, 2021 | 5 min read
Pets asked by their owners to pick up an object attached to a mat they were sitting on understood they needed to move in order to complete the task, researchers report.
animal behavior, animal cognition, reproducibility, replication, publishing, research integrity, animal research, experimental design, data reporting
STRANGE Framework Addresses Bias in Animal Behavior Research
Amanda Heidt | Jan 27, 2021 | 5 min read
The journal Ethology is the first to adopt the guidelines, aimed at clarifying experimental design and the potential biases within.
Infographic: What Do Dogs Perceive?
Catherine Offord | Jan 1, 2021 | 1 min read
Researchers use optical illusions to investigate canine perception.
animal learning, zebra finch, model organism, communication, fast mapping, individual recognition, cognition, evolution
Zebra Finches Recognize the Calls of Over 40 Fellow Finches
Amanda Heidt | Nov 13, 2020 | 5 min read
Their ability to distinguish between individuals is strong evidence for fast mapping, a learning tool generally thought to belong only to humans.
Wild Birds Remember a Novel Task for Nearly Two Years
Amy Schleunes | Feb 18, 2020 | 5 min read
A population of North Island robins in a New Zealand sanctuary provides a unique system for investigating the memory skills of birds in the wild.
The Mirror Test Peers Into the Workings of Animal Minds
Carolyn Wilke | Feb 21, 2019 | 5 min read
Nearly 50 years after its development, only a handful of creatures have passed the self-awareness exam. A new attempt with fish highlights a debate over the test’s use and meaning.
Contributors
Aggie Mika | Oct 1, 2017 | 3 min read
Meet some of the people featured in the October 2017 issue of The Scientist.
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