A team at the University of Rochester has found that the human brain makes much more extensive use of highly complex statistics when learning a language than scientists ever realized. The research, appearing in a recent issue of Cognitive Psychology, shows that the human brain is wired to quickly grasp certain relationships between spoken sounds even though those relationships may be so complicated theyre beyond our ability to consciously comprehend.
"Were starting to learn just how intuitively our minds are able to analyze amazingly complex information without our even being aware of it," says Elissa Newport, professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University and lead author of the study. "There is a powerful correlation between what our brains are able to do and what language demands of us."
Newport and Richard Aslin, professor of brain and cognitive sciences, began by looking at how people are able to recognize the division between spoken words when spoken language is really a stream of unbroken syllables. They wanted to know how it is that we perceive breaks between spoken words, when in fact there are no pauses. This is why it often seems as if speakers of foreign languages are talking very quickly; we dont perceive pauses.
Jonathan Sherwood | EurekAlert!
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Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
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Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
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Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
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For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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