Neurosciency Friday: Uncertainty, coffee, autism, and more

It’s time for this week’s installment of Neurosciency Friday (inspired by NPR Science Friday!), in which I bring you science news and tidbits from around the web! 

Happy Friday, folks!  Here’s what’s going on in science this week:

– Uncertainty increases the appeal of “wants” over “shoulds.”  From the paper:

Self-control resembles an exhaustible muscle, coping with uncertainty about what the future may bring reduces self-control resources and increases individuals’ tendency to favor want options over should options. […] Overall, this work suggests that reducing uncertainty in a decision maker’s environment may have important spillover effects, leading to less impulsive choices.

As someone who has been tackling uncertainty AND is trying to avoid junk food and save money (I definitely should have volunteered for this study), I guess this means I should try to create as much certainty in my life as possible.  Well, thanks, science!

– Coffee lovers, take note.  Japanese scientists reported that coffee improved the function of small blood vessels in healthy people.  It seems like there’s a new scientific study about the merits of coffee consumption every day.  Could it be because scientists drink more coffee than people in any other profession?  Hmm…

– In individuals with autism, compared to a control group, neurons in the amygdala responded less strongly to the eye region of faces.  Yes, Ralph Adolphs, a neuroscientist at Caltech, actually recorded from individual neurons in people’s amygdalas.  A seriously cool and important finding! 

– Researchers at Monash University report that tickling yourself is impossible, even if you are tricked into thinking that someone else is tickling you…in case you didn’t already know that.

Have a great weekend!


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