Artistic representation of a brain depicted as a clock on a background with one half in dark blue with yellow stars and one half in light blue with clouds.
Which Neurons Go to Sleep First in Humans? fMRI Can Tell
By linking blood flow patterns to bioelectric signals in the brains of sleeping volunteers, scientists are studying the order in which brain regions fall asleep and wake up.
Which Neurons Go to Sleep First in Humans? fMRI Can Tell
Which Neurons Go to Sleep First in Humans? fMRI Can Tell

By linking blood flow patterns to bioelectric signals in the brains of sleeping volunteers, scientists are studying the order in which brain regions fall asleep and wake up.

By linking blood flow patterns to bioelectric signals in the brains of sleeping volunteers, scientists are studying the order in which brain regions fall asleep and wake up.

Brain activity
Illustration of brain activity
Same Parts of the Brain Control Processing of Dozens of Languages
Andy Carstens | Jul 21, 2022
While much is known about how the brains of English speakers process language, research has neglected people who speak other languages. The Scientist spoke with one of the authors of a study that seeks to change that.
illustration of brain with DNA strand coming out the top
Genetic Underpinnings of Brain Activity May Differ in Autism
Emily Harris, Spectrum | Jul 19, 2022
A study finds that expression levels of certain genes that track with brain activity—particularly those involved in brain development—vary between people with autism and their non-autistic peers.
gray mouse drinking from water bottle in cage
“Feel-Good” Neurons Steer Mice Toward Hydration-Boosting Liquids
Shafaq Zia | Jul 19, 2022
The cells signal to the brain how hydrating particular beverages are, but it’s not yet clear whether they play a similar role in humans.
Grey and white stones on a wooden plank
Eight Weeks of Meditation Doesn’t Change the Brain, Study Finds
Natalia Mesa | May 20, 2022
Study finds that, contrary to what other research has found, a popular meditation course does not appear to alter brain structure.
Electrode array, with needle-like electrodes facing upward
Brain Implant Allows Completely Paralyzed Patient to Communicate
Natalia Mesa | Mar 24, 2022
The patient, who has ALS, is able to communicate in complete sentences by deliberately altering his brain’s activity.
The head of a tadpole is pictured. Its eye is black, but the rest of its head is various shades of green
Scientists Use Photosynthesis to Power an Animal’s Brain
Abby Olena | Oct 13, 2021
Injecting oxygen-generating algae into tadpoles allows brain activity to continue in the absence of oxygen, researchers find.
Conceptual image of numbers
Is Your Brain Wired for Numbers?
Catherine Offord | Oct 1, 2021
Our perception of quantity, separate from counting or estimation of magnitude more generally, is foundational to human cognition, according to some neuroscientists.
Illustration of a Macaque viewing patterns of dots on a screen
Infographic: Single-Cell Recordings Identify “Number Neurons”
Catherine Offord | Oct 1, 2021
Some nerve cells in the brains of macaques respond selectively to particular numbers, hinting at a specialized pathway for extracting information about numerical quantity.
Photograph of a mouse covering his face with his paw.
Bless You: Mouse Model Reveals Molecular Pathway Behind Sneezing
Amanda Heidt | Oct 1, 2021
Researchers have identified specific cells and neuropeptides involved in mediating the sneeze response in mice exposed to allergens or chemical irritants such as capsaicin.
Power of thinking, abstract imagination, world, universe inside your mind, watercolor painting
The Link Between Wandering and Sleeping Minds
Annie Melchor | Oct 1, 2021
Researchers discover that when the mind wanders or goes blank, some parts of the brain behave as they do during sleep.
Illustration showing how a mouse study identifies the brain regions and specific signaling factors that regulate the sneeze response.
Infographic: The Neural Pathway of Sneezing
Amanda Heidt | Oct 1, 2021
A mouse study identifies the brain regions and specific signaling factors that regulate the sneeze response.
A series of brain scans on a black background
How Scientists Are Tackling Brain Imaging’s Replication Problem
Angie Voyles Askham, Spectrum | Jul 9, 2021
Researchers who spoke with Spectrum say that while brain imaging tools have their limitations, they still hold promise in helping to unlock the brain’s secrets. 
The Rise of BCI Enables Advances in Neuroscience
Jef Akst | Oct 1, 2020
A nascent but growing consumer market for brain-computer interface technology is driving the development of sleek new tools for decoding brain activity.
Infographic: Measurements that Predict People’s Behavior
Paul J. Zak | Oct 1, 2020
Changes in blood levels of oxytocin and adrenocorticotropic hormone and patterns of neural activity predict how much money people will donate to a cause with high accuracy.
Curiosity and Hunger Are Driven by the Same Brain Regions
Shawna Williams | Oct 1, 2020
Researchers tease out the effects of the two cravings by having participants gamble for the chance to satisfy them.
Artificial Intelligence Decodes Speech from Brain Activity: Study
Lisa Winter | Mar 31, 2020
The technology, tested out on patients with epilepsy who already had electrodes implanted in their brains, is currently limited to 30–50 sentences.
Alternate Activation of Two Brain Systems Tied to Consciousness
Ruth Williams | Mar 12, 2020
Imaging reveals how cyclical patterns of brain activity differ between conscious and unresponsive individuals.
Scientists Predict Fish Behavior from Real-Time Brain Monitoring
Abby Olena | Jan 22, 2020
Researchers could anticipate which way an eight-day-old zebrafish will flick its tail based on brain activity 10 seconds earlier.
image of two small electronic patches embedded in a brain
Speech Decoded from Brain Activity in Area for Hand Control
Shawna Williams | Dec 10, 2019
The surprising finding comes courtesy of two study participants with implanted electrode arrays that record activity at single-neuron resolution.