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The UCL Media Relations team is the university’s central press office.


We connect journalists to expert academics and promote UCL research and teaching throughout the global media.


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Duncan Wisbey, impressionist and voice artist on Alistair McGowan's Big Impression, and Professor Sophie Scott, a cognitive neuroscientist at UCL (University College London), will explore the human voice from the perspective of the brain in a talk given during Brain Awareness Week. The duo will discuss how our voices are perceived and produced, and how artists can change their voice to make themselves sound older, or taller, or like someone else altogether. The talk will be held at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London on Tuesday 11 March 2008 at one pm.

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A proportion of people suffering from schizophrenia have loss or duplication of regions of their chromosomes that significantly increase risk of the disease, according to new findings from a large multinational research group published today in Nature.

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Teenagers have difficulty incorporating other people’s points of view, according to a new study published in the journal Developmental Science. The findings imply that our brains continue to evolve ‘theory of mind’ until our late teens or earlier twenties, says UCL (University College London) researcher Dr Sarah-Jayne Blakemore. The research is being presented at the Royal Society’s Summer Science Exhibition which opens today (30 June 2009), where members of the public can try out the experiment for themselves.

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Neuroscientists at UCL (University College London) and Ghent University have found the brain circuit involved in thinking twice and checking impulsive behaviour. The duo discovered that an area in the fronto-median cortex of the brain is activated when you begin to think ‘I’m not going to go through with this’ and stop yourself doing what you were about to do.

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UCL has created two new Pro-Provost positions – one for North America and one for South Asia and the Middle East - to maintain and develop the university's interests in these regions. Pro-Provost for North America, Professor Janette Atkinson , and Pro-Provost for South Asia and the Middle East, Professor Vince Emery, will take up post this month.

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The first known case of someone born without the ability to recognise voices has been reported in a paper by UCL (University College London) researchers, in a study of a rare condition known as phonagnosia. The UCL team are calling for other people to come forward if they think they have also grown up with the condition.

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UCL (University College London) researchers have found the first physiological evidence that invisible subliminal images do attract the brain’s attention on a subconscious level. The wider implication for the study, published in Current Biology, is that techniques such as subliminal advertising, now banned in the UK but still legal in the USA, certainly do leave their mark on the brain.

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Exposure to new experiences improves memory, according to research by UCL psychologists and medical doctors that could hold major implications for the treatment of memory problems. The study, published in ‘Neuron’ on 3 August, concludes that introducing completely new facts when learning, significantly improves memory performance.

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In a significant development for European higher education and research, University College London (UCL) today signed a research alliance agreement with Université Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC) and the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS), with the ambition of creating a tri-polar centre of world excellence in the cognitive and neurosciences.

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In a unique public experiment, scientists from UCL working with the New London Orchestra will test Camden schoolchildren to find out how musicians learn a piece of music. There will also be talks and hands-on demonstrations held as part of global 'Brain Awareness Week'. Members of the public and media are welcome to watch or participate - no booking necessary. The free event will take place on 20th March 2004 , 12:30-5:30pm , at Camden School for Girls, Sandall Road , NW5. Musical children should pre-register by calling in advance Cassie Tait on 020 7823 5523. www.icn.ucl.ac.uk/music

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The last novel written by author Iris Murdoch before she died reveals signs of the first stages of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study published in the latest online issue of Brain.

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By morphing the faces of state figures such as Margaret Thatcher into those of famous actors like Marilyn Monroe, University College London (UCL) scientists have discovered how our brains process and identify people from their faces.

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Scientists can now predict memory of an event before it even happens. A team at UCL (University College London) can now tell how well memory will serve us before we have seen what we will remember.

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By morphing the faces of state figures such as Margaret Thatcher into those of famous actors like Marilyn Monroe, University College London (UCL) scientists have discovered how our brains process and identify people from their faces.

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When a subject lifts a heavy box, and sees someone else lifting an object, the subject thinks the other person's box is lighter than it really is. It seems therefore that performing an action influences our perception of an observed action. This is the central finding of a paper published in today's edition of the journal 'Current Biology' from a research team led by Dr Antonia Hamilton of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London (UCL).

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Fast language learners have more white matter and a less symmetrical brain than slower language learners, according to UCL (University College London) research published today in the journal Cerebral Cortex.

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Media stories relating to UCL for 9 April 2006

The miracle worker - 9 April

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In a study published in the latest issue of Current Biology, University College London (UCL) scientists have shown that the human brain holds and continuously updates an internal map of the body. The UCL team hope their findings will help explain how the processes in the brain which create a coherent body map may go wrong in people with neurological or psychiatric disorders.

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The neurological basis for poor witness statements and hallucinations has been found by scientists at UCL (University College London). In over a fifth of cases, people wrongly remembered whether they actually witnessed an event or just imagined it, according to a paper published in NeuroImage this week.

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Hypnosis can induce synaesthetic experiences – where one sense triggers the involuntary use of another – according to a new study by UCL (University College London) researchers. The findings suggests that people with synaesthesia, contrary to popular belief, do not necessarily have extra connections in their brain; rather, their brains may simply do more ‘cross talking’ and this can be induced by changing inhibitory processes in the average brain.

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Patients with schizophrenia are able to correctly see through an illusion known as the ‘hollow mask’ illusion, probably because their brain disconnects ‘what the eyes see’ from what ‘the brain thinks it is seeing’, according to a joint UK and German study published in the journal NeuroImage. The findings shed light on why cannabis users may also be less deceived by the illusion whilst on the drug.

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Professor John O’Keefe, UCL Cell & Developmental Biology, has won the 2008 Neuroscience Prize of the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation for “his pioneering work concerning the neural basis of complex cognitive functions in freely moving animals.”

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Two University College London (UCL) professors, John Collinge and Uta Frith, are among the new Fellows of the Royal Society announced today.

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University College London (UCL) is fielding a host of top researchers at the BA Festival of Science at the University of Salford. Academics from across the university will be presenting the latest developments in their field.

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There is a specific mechanism in our brains that deals only with recognising peoples’ faces and it is separate from the mechanism that allows us to recognise objects like houses, cars, horses or even people’s bodies, according to a study led by Dr Brad Duchaine at UCL (University College London). He shows how we recognise faces by analysing one man, who can’t tell one face from another, in a paper that will appear online in Cognitive Neuropsychology journal on 13th February 2006.

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Scientists led by UCL (University College London) have induced dyscalculia in subjects without the maths learning difficulty for the first time. The study, which finds that the right parietal lobe is responsible for dyscalculia, potentially has implications for diagnosis and management through remedial teaching.

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An academic husband and wife at UCL (Unversity College London) have found themselves in the unique position of being both Fellows of the Royal Society (FRS) and Fellows of the British Academy (FBA), an exceptional accomplishment in the history of UCL for an academic couple.

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Scientists at UCL (University College London) have discovered the area of the brain linked to dyscalculia, a maths learning disability. The finding shows that there is a separate function in the brain used for counting that is essential for diagnosis and an understanding of why many people struggle with maths.

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The underlying sense of being in control of our own actions is challenged by new research from UCL (University College London) which demonstrates that the choices we make internally are weak and easily overridden compared to when we are told which choice to make.

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Are you hip to your hippocampus? Is your somatosensory cortex seeking stimulation? UCL (University College London) has a square full of scientists to tickle your thalamus during Brain Awareness Week, along with a website to test your music listening ability.

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Are you hip to your hippocampus? Is your somatosensory cortex seeking stimulation? UCL (University College London) has a square full of scientists to tickle your thalamus during Brain Awareness Week, along with a website to test your music listening ability.

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University College London (UCL) scientists have made the first steps towards building a mind-reading device. In a study published in the latest issue of Nature Neuroscience, the UCL team discovered that they could use brief recordings of brain activity alone to predict which of two objects volunteers were viewing.

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New research led by scientists at UCL’s Institute of Neurology and Cardiff University has found that the brain’s so-called ‘supplementary motor regions’, located in the medial frontal cortex, play a key role in suppressing unconsciously-triggered actions which occur when we encounter familiar objects and situations.

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Scientists have discovered that a system in our brain which responds to actions we are watching, such as a dancer's delicate pirouette or a masterful martial arts move, reacts differently if we are also skilled at doing the move. The University College London (UCL) study, published in the latest online edition of Cerebral Cortex , may help in the rehabilitation of people whose motor skills are damaged by stroke, and suggests that athletes and dancers could continue to mentally train while they are physically injured.

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Scientists have discovered that a system in our brain which responds to actions we are watching, such as a dancer's delicate pirouette or a masterful martial arts move, reacts differently if we are also skilled at doing the move. The University College London (UCL) study, published in the latest online edition of Cerebral Cortex , may help in the rehabilitation of people whose motor skills are damaged by stroke, and suggests that athletes and dancers could continue to mentally train while they are physically injured.

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Autistic children have a capacity to understand other people through stereotypes, say scientists at UCL (University College London). The research shows that autistic children are just as able as others to predict people’s behaviour when stereotypes, such as gender and race, are the only available guide.

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UCL (University College London) scientists have found the reason why individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome spend less time paying attention to others – weaker connections between brain areas mean that they benefit less from doing so.

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Teenagers take less account than adults of people’s feelings and, often, even fail to think about their own, according to a UCL neuroscientist. The results, presented at the BA Festival of Science today, show that teenagers hardly use the area of the brain that is involved in thinking about other people’s emotions and thoughts, when considering a course of action.

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Knowing the words for numbers is not necessary to be able to count, according to a new study of aboriginal children by UCL (University College London) and the University of Melbourne. The study of the aboriginal children – from two communities which do not have words or gestures for numbers – found that they were able to copy and perform number-related tasks. The findings, published in the journal PNAS, suggest that we possess an innate mechanism for counting, which may develop differently in children with dyscalculia.

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Intelligent design, terrorism, pain perception in low birth weight babies, Bram Stoker’s Transylvania and how to predict the future locations of crime are just a few of the topics to be covered in this term’s Lunch Hour Lecture series at UCL.

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Intelligent design, terrorism, pain perception in low birth weight babies, Bram Stoker’s Transylvania and how to predict the future locations of crime are just a few of the topics to be covered in this term’s Lunch Hour Lecture series at UCL.

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The country’s first mind gym opened yesterday as experts hailed the benefits of keeping the brain agile.

Scientists say a mental workout is as important as keeping the body trim in the fight to stay young. …

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A neuroscientist would tell you that the poor decisions and risky behaviour of adolescents are not just the result of raging hormones or a double shot of attitude. Instead, they are at least partially a result of differences in brain anatomy between teens and adults. …

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Teenagers are sulky and inconsiderate only because their brains are going through a period of rapid change, researchers said yesterday. …

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Scientists at UCL have discovered the neurological basis for poor witness statements and hallucinations. In over a fifth of cases, people wrongly remembered whether they actually witnessed an event or just imagined it, according to a paper published in ‘NeuroImage’.

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A condition that causes an inability to recognize faces is socially isolating – and surprisingly common.

Cecilia Burman has always had a problem with faces. As a child, she struggled to pick out her own face in school photos, and she is hard-pressed today to describe her mother’s features. Over the years she has offended countless friends, passing them on neighborhood streets or in office hallways like strangers. …

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New findings from researchers at Harvard and elsewhere suggest that a surprising number of people are face-blind, so bad at recognizing faces that they routinely snub acquaintances and have trouble following movie plots. In extreme cases, they may greet siblings as strangers and struggle to discern which child is theirs at school pick-up time.

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U.S. and British researchers say they’ve discovered prosopagnosia -- or “face blindness” -- is not as rare as has been believed.

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Mary King’s claims that genuine tone deafness is encounterd only in people with brain damage can hardly have been music to Emily Bearn’s ears (Lost in La La Lan, May 13).

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The notion that young children can learn productively by watching television is widely dismissed by scientists who study the developing brain.

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We’ve all failed to recognise someone we know or forgotten a person’s name, but for people with prosopagnosia – or ‘face blindness’ – this happens with everyone they meet. John (not real name), 30, is a graphic designer who was diagnosed with face blindness two months ago. Here’s his story.“I first became aware that I was prosopagnosic about two months ago, but I’ve always struggled with faces and have had to develop a web of support mechanisms to help me get round it.

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From blanking colleagues and acquaintances, Andrew Billen knew that his face-blindness was bad — then tests revealed just how bad. …

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The difference between real and illusory touch is revealed today in the journal ‘PLoS Biology’ by Dr Felix Blankenburg [UCL Institute of Neurology], Professor Jon Driver [UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience] and their colleagues.

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If you have experienced the horror of someone at a party greeting you as an old friend when you have no idea who they are, imagine how it must feel to have that inability to recognise people day after day throughout your life.

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Sports motivation images

PhD student Irma T. Kurniawan discusses the surprising motivations for sporting performance in the latest issue of Opticon1826.

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Global Health marque

Staff are advised that the ‘town meeting’ on developmental cognitive neuroscience on 9 June 2009 will now be held at the Kennedy Lecture Theatre in the UCL Institute of Child Health due to the high number of participants.

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Quad

Five of the 38 Fellows of the British Academy elected on 17 July 2008 are from the UCL community.

Professor Jon Driver (UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience), Professor Chris Frith (UCL Institute of Neurology), Professor Ruth Mace (UCL Anthropology), Professor Daniel Miller (UCL Anthropology) and Professor Vivian Nutton (Wellcome Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL).

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  • ‘The Times’

Why do some people hold on to their accents all their lives while others drop them overnight? Sophie Scott, a neuroscientist from UCL, has spent 16 years researching speech: how we formulate words, how we come by our accents and how we decode what is being said to us.

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  • ‘The Times’ 

Dr Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, 33, a Royal Society research fellow at the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and co-author (with Uta Frith) of The Learning Brain, explains the mysterious processes that cause sulking and lie-ins.

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  • Jerome Burne, ‘Daily Mail’

Deep brain stimulation sounds like a form of fiendish torture. …

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People have always been fascinated by the workings of the mind. Now a book in the Rough Guides series offers an insight. …

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Husain

New research led by scientists at the UCL Institute of Neurology and Cardiff University has found that the brain’s so-called ‘supplementary motor regions’, located in the medial frontal cortex, play a key role in suppressing unconsciously-triggered actions which occur when we encounter familiar objects and situations.

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Quiet environments provide a good setting for the human brain when it needs to interpret speech. But noisy environments, say researchers at UCL and Imperial College London, prove taxing on the brain because the speech it must make sense of seems incomprehensible. In their latest study, funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council, researchers aimed to simulate the everyday experience of people who need cochlear implants and to assess how these experiences with the devices can be improved. …

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Whenever some people see a series of mathematical sums, they experience the stifling condition of ‘number blindness.’

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Scientists from the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience have shown that the human brain holds and continuously updates an internal map of the body.

Teenagers shape each other’s views on how risky a situation is

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Group of teenagers

Young adolescents’ judgements on how risky a situation might be are most influenced by what other teenagers think, while most other age groups are more influenced by adults’ views, finds new UCL research.

Crossing fingers can reduce feelings of pain

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Cold stimulus on the crossed middle finger

How you feel pain is affected by where sources of pain are in relation to each other, and so crossing your fingers can change what you feel on a single finger, finds new UCL research.

Assumptions of equality lead to poorer group decisions

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European Central Bank governing council meeting

People of differing competence tend to give each other’s views equal weight, preventing them from making the best group decisions, finds new UCL-led research.

Having a romantic partner present can make pain feel worse

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Image of a similar experiment where the hand was stimulated by 'pinprick' laser pain pulses

The support of a romantic partner is often advised for painful medical procedures, but new research from UCL, King’s College London and the University of Hertfordshire finds that this can actually make the pain feel worse.

Most people would rather harm themselves than others for profit

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Example choice presented to participants

A UCL-led experiment on 80 pairs of adults found that people were willing to sacrifice on average twice as much money to spare a stranger pain than to spare themselves, despite the decision being secret.

Myelin vital for learning new practical skills

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Mouse brain

New evidence of myelin’s essential role in learning and retaining new practical skills, such as playing a musical instrument, has been uncovered by UCL research. Myelin is a fatty substance that insulates the brain's wiring and is a major constituent of ‘white matter’. It is produced by the brain and spinal cord into early adulthood as it is needed for many developmental processes, and although earlier studies of human white matter hinted at its involvement in skill learning, this is the first time it has been confirmed experimentally.

Professor John O'Keefe wins Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine

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John O'Keefe

Professor John O’Keefe, Director of the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre for Neural Circuits & Behaviour and Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience in the Department of Cell & Developmental Biology, Division of Biosciences at UCL, has today been awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain - an ‘inner GPS’ - that enables us to orient ourselves.

Goalkeepers prone to ‘gambler’s fallacy’ but penalty takers fail to exploit it

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French penalty against Uraguay in the 2013 U-20 World Cup final

After a string of penalties aimed in the same direction, goalkeepers are more likely to dive in the opposite direction on the next penalty but kickers fail to exploit this pattern, finds new UCL research.

The bit of your brain that signals how bad things could be

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The human habenula (in red, 3 mm diameter), in which activation tracked the degree to which electric shocks were anticipated

An evolutionarily ancient and tiny part of the brain tracks expectations about nasty events, finds new UCL research funded by the Medical Research Council.

UCL and Chiesi Group announce partnership to develop a novel therapeutic for birth asphyxia

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The Chiesi Group and UCL (University College London) are collaborating to test a novel melatonin formulation as a brain protective medicine for babies who suffer birth asphyxia.

‘Map of pain’ reveals how our ability to identify the source of pain varies across the body

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Demonstration of spatial acuity test

“Where does it hurt?” is the first question asked to any person in pain.

A new UCL study defines for the first time how our ability to identify where it hurts, called “spatial acuity”, varies across the body, being most sensitive at the forehead and fingertips.

Watch out: children more prone to looking but not seeing

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London bus featuring 'T-side' advertisement

Children under 14 are more likely than adults to be ‘blinded’ to their surroundings when focusing on simple things, finds a new UCL study.

Brain imaging study reveals what makes some people more susceptible to peer influence

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Beer

A brain area activated by group decisions can distinguish people more likely to conform to the will of a group, say researchers from UCL.

UCL and Max Planck Society invest €5m to open world’s first computational psychiatry centre

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Professor Peter Gruss, President of the Max Planck Society

The world’s first centre for computational psychiatry was launched on Tuesday 1st April, following a €5m investment from the Max Planck Society and UCL to be spent over the next 5 years.

Information overload acts ‘to dim the lights’ on what we see

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300sq RAF Pilot Training in Cockpit of Nimrod Aircraft

Too much visual information causes a phenomenon known as ‘load induced blindness’, with an effect akin to dimming the lights, reports a new UCL study.

Human brains ‘hard-wired’ to link what we see with what we do

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Active brain

Your brain’s ability to instantly link what you see with what you do is down to a dedicated information ‘highway’, suggests new UCL-led research.

Leading the world on dementia

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Jeremy Hunt IoN visit

The Prime Minister today called for a global effort to tackle one of the greatest challenges of our time: dementia. UCL scientists, working with clinicians at the university's partner hospitals, are at the heart of the battle to treat the condition.

New £20m centre pioneers first-in-human trials for neurodegenerative diseases

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LWENC (web)

A specialist £20 million research centre, funded by the Wolfson Foundation and dedicated to carrying out first-in-human studies, opens in London today. Researchers at the Leonard Wolfson Experimental Neurology Centre (LWENC) will investigate exciting new therapies for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

A slow, loving, 'affective' touch may be key to a healthy sense of self

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Quad in Autumn

A loving touch, characterised by a slow caress or stroke - often an instinctive gesture from a mother to a child or between partners in romantic relationships – may increase the brain's ability to construct a sense of body ownership and, in turn, play a part in creating and sustaining a healthy sense of self.

Why blame feels so hard to take

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Quad in Autumn

When something we do produces a positive result, we actually perceive it differently than we would if that same action yielded a negative result. In particular, people feel a greater connection between voluntary actions and their outcomes if those outcomes are good than if they are bad. The discovery, reported in the journal Current Biology, yields important insight into notions about personal responsibility.

Tingling sensation caused by Asian spice could help patients with chronic pain

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Szechuan peppercorns by C John Thompson on Flickr

The science behind the tingling sensation caused by eating a popular Asian spice has been explained by researchers at UCL.

UCL Grand Challenges Small Grants awarded to 24 new projects

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24 new research projects have been awarded funding of up to £3,000 through the 2013-2014 UCL Grand Challenges Small Grants Scheme.

Study finds brain system for emotional self-control

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Brain scan

Different brain areas are activated when we choose for ourselves to suppress an emotion, compared to situations where we are instructed to inhibit an emotion, according a new study from the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Ghent University.

TRACK-HD study identifies early predictors of disease progression in Huntington's disease

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Professor Sarah Tabrizi

An international team led by researchers at the UCL Institute of Neurology has identified a set of tests that could help identify whether - and how - Huntington’s disease (HD) is progressing in groups of people who are not yet showing symptoms.

Learning disabilities affect up to 10 per cent of children

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teacher

Up to 10 per cent of the population are affected by specific learning disabilities (SLDs), such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and autism, translating to 2 or 3 pupils in every classroom according to a new study.

Participants sought for neuropsychology research project

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Brain

Healthy young people (aged 5-16 years) are wanted to take part in a UCL research project: Neuroimaging investigations of language to aid paediatric neurosurgical decision-making.

ERC Advanced Grants fund exceptional research at UCL

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Funding totalling £12.9 million has been awarded to researchers at UCL by the European Research Council (ERC) under the Advanced Grants programme, which supports research leaders to develop ground-breaking projects and support pioneering research with far-reaching impact.

Human Brain Project wins major EU funding

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Active brain

The Human Brain Project has been officially selected as one of the European Commission’s two FET Flagship projects. The new project will unite European efforts to address one of the greatest challenges of modern science: understanding the human brain.

Where does it hurt? Pain map discovered in the human brain

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pain map

Scientists have revealed the minutely detailed pain map of the hand that is contained within our brains, shedding light on how the brain makes us feel discomfort and potentially increasing our understanding of the processes involved in chronic pain. 

Learning who’s the top dog

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Top dog by Emery Way on Flickr

A new study in the journal Neuron reveals how the brain stores information about who’s who in the social pecking order.

Loneliness? It’s all a state of mind

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loneliness 2

Researchers from UCL have found that lonely people have less grey matter in a part of the brain associated with decoding eye gaze and other social cues.

LonDownS awarded £2.5m for research into Down syndrome, learning disabilities and dementia

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Quad

Dr André Strydom (UCL Mental Health Sciences Unit) and Professors Elizabeth Fisher and John Hardy (both UCL Institute of Neurology) have been successful in their application to the Wellcome Trust for a Strategic Award to understand the processes involved in the Alzheimer’s Disease that often occurs as people with Down Syndrome age.

Memory load leaves us 'blind' to new information

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Driving and Sat Nav from Iron Man Records on Flickr


Trying to keep an image we’ve just seen in memory can leave us blind to things we are ‘looking’ at, according to the results of a study by researchers at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience.

Ready, steady, slow! Why top sportsmen might have 'more time' on the ball

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Baseball shot by Pierre-Olivier on Flickr

Professional ball game players report the sensation of the ball ‘slowing-down’ just before they hit it. Confirming these anecdotal comments, a new study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B shows that time is perceived to slow down during the period of action preparation, as the result of an increased intake of visual information.

Record support for early career researchers 

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ERC

Researchers at UCL have been awarded a total of 17 Starting Grants by the European Research Council (ERC), the highest number awarded at UCL under a single funding call to date. These grants have a total value of €21.6 million. 

Black belts’ white matter shows how a powerful punch comes from the brain

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Karate expert

Brain scans have revealed distinctive features in the brain structure of karate experts, which could be linked to their ability to punch powerfully from close range.

Five ESRC Future Leaders awards for UCL researchers

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UCL Portico

Five UCL researchers have been awarded Future Leaders awards by the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC).      

'Inattention blindness' due to brain load

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Professor Nilli Lavie

When we focus intently on one task, we often fail to see other things in plain sight - a phenomenon known as ‘inattention blindness’. Scientists already know that performing a task involving high information load - a ‘high load’ task - reduces our visual cortex response to incoming stimuli. Now researchers from UCL have examined the brain mechanisms behind this, further explaining why our brain becomes ‘blind’ under high load.

Queen’s Birthday Honours for the UCL community

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Congratulations to the members of the UCL community who were recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2012.

UCL News podcast: Royal Society summer science exhibition

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podcast

The UCL News podcast gives you the opportunity to listen to the latest news and research from around UCL every fortnight. Split up into three parts, you can either listen to the podcast all in one go, or save features for later listening. 

Five new UCL fellows of Academy of Medical Sciences

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Five new UCL fellows of Academy of Medical Sciences

Five medical researchers from UCL have been recognised for excellence in medical science by election to the Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Women in Science: Nurturing Nobels

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Suffrage Science brooch

UCL scientists were involved in an event that celebrated leading women in science from across the world, held on International Women´s Day (8 March) at the Science Museum's Dana Centre.

Bias in decision-making leads to poor choices and possibly depression

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Decision making

When faced with making a complicated decision, our automatic instinct to avoid misfortune can result in missing out on rewards, and could even contribute to depression, according to new research.

Wolfson Foundation awards £20million to UCL for experimental neurology centre

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National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery

A new centre dedicated to the understanding and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases will be established at UCL following the award of a £20million grant from the Wolfson Foundation, it was announced today.

Number of Facebook friends linked to size of brain regions, study suggests

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Facebook friends

Scientists have found a direct link between the number of ‘Facebook friends’ a person has and the size of particular brain regions.

Women anticipate negative experiences differently to men

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Woman watching horror film

Men and women differ in the way they anticipate an unpleasant emotional experience, which influences the effectiveness with which that experience is committed to memory, according to new research.

Introduce specialised teaching for dyscalculia in schools, urge experts

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Maths blackboard

Specialised teaching for individuals with dyscalculia, the mathematical equivalent of dyslexia, should be made widely available in mainstream education, according to a review of current research published in the journal Science.

Brain Awareness Week at UCL

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Leading UCL researchers celebrate women’s contribution to science

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Left wing or right wing? It's written in the brain

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Fighter pilots' brains are ‘more sensitive’

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New brain imaging tests to track Huntington’s

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Watch: Scientists identify link between introspection and brain structure

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Children and adults see the world differently

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Bringing the public more of the Bright stuff

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Double win for UCL at Shape of Science Symposium

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Part of the brain that tracks limbs in space discovered

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Parkinson’s patients’ “risky behaviour” explained

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UCL Fellows and Honorary Fellows announced

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Hand study reveals brain’s distorted body model

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Neuroscience symposium unites researchers across UCL

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Over £1m of grants from the Leverhulme Trust

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Teenagers programmed to take risks

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Where’s Your Head At? UCL Union promotes mental health

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Where's your head at? poster

UCL Union is running a series of events under the banner ‘Where’s Your Head At’ 15–19 March to promote mental health.

Genes responsible for ability to recognise faces

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Cambridge Face Memory Test
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Human brain uses grid to represent space

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Grid Cell
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‘Grid cells’ that act like a spatial map in the brain have been identified for the first time in humans, according to new research by UCL scientists which may help to explain how we create internal maps of new environments.

Professors Chris and Uta Frith win European Latsis Prize

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Dopamine enhances expectation of pleasure in humans

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UCL study: subliminal messaging ‘more effective when negative’

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Cafe Scientifique in the Print Room Cafe

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Strong showing from UCL at the Royal Society’s Summer Science Exhibition

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Symposium on decision-making at Gresham College

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Schizophrenia patients see through illusions: watch now

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Brain awareness week: the impact of UCL research

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Neuroscience research image

“Neuroscience is one of the key disciplines of our time, and UCL is today the strongest neuroscience university in Europe”: Professor Malcolm Grant, UCL President and Provost. Through our world-class research in the institutes of Neurology, Cognitive Neuroscience, Child Health and Ophthalmology and many other UCL groups across our faculties, the university makes a difference every day to improving understanding of the brain and neurological and mental health care in our local community and beyond.

Podcast Series: Today’s Neuroscience, Tomorrow’s History, Part 2

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Professor Richard Frackowiak

The second instalment of the ‘Today’s Neuroscience, Tomorrow’s History’ podcast series, compiled by the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL, is now available for download.

UCL receives 10 industry-linked awards from MRC

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MRC Logo

UCL has received funding for ten new awards from the Medical Research Council (MRC), which aim to strengthen research training links between academia and industry and to meet the UK’s need for health research skills.

Early career support for UCL neuroscientists

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UCL scientists find new clue to brain diseases in hyperactive immune systems

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Neuroscientist receives international prize for ‘pioneering work’

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When memories can’t be trusted

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confabulation

A team of UCL neuroscientists has been investigating what causes people to experience confabulation – false memories following brain damage. The reasons why patients experience confabulation has largely remained a mystery.

UCL neuroscientist named as ‘Woman of Outstanding Achievement’

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Grant awarded for “neuroaesthetics”

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Neuroscience at UCL

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Brain

The current issue of ‘Science’ contains two articles about neuroscience research at UCL. Dr Henrik Ehrsson’s paper on out-of-body experience and Dr Dean Mobbs’s findings about the brain’s changing responses to approaching predators are just two of a clutch of recent achievements from across UCL’s several institutions and centres of clinical and research expertise.

‘Inside Intuition’ with Dr Mark Lythgoe

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mark lythgoe

Dr Mark Lythgoe, UCL Institute of Child Health, will be presenting a Radio 4 documentary looking at the neuroscience behind snap decisions.

UCL Fellows inaugurated

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Nica Burns

UCL Fellowships and Honorary Fellowships were awarded on 20 June 2007 to nine individuals who have attained distinction in the arts, literature, science or public life, rendered exceptional service to UCL or had a close association to UCL.

Is Homo Sapiens Just Another Animal?

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Dr Daniel Glaser (UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience) and Professor Steve Jones (UCL Biology) will discuss whether we should simply think of ourselves as animals at a free Café Scientifique event on 24 May 2007 at BelowZero.

The event promises to be a fascinating public debate about the nature of mankind. Café Scientifique is a forum for debating science issues and a place where everyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology over a drink.

Through Professor Jones’s many broadcasts on radio and television, his lectures, popular science books and his regular science column in ‘The Daily Telegraph’, he promotes the public understanding of science in areas such as human evolution and variation, race, sex, inherited disease and genetic manipulation.

He will be joined by Associate Professor Klas Kullander from the Biomedical Centre in Uppsala, Sweden. Here, Professor Kullander heads the Unit for Developmental Genetics where he studies the function and development of the nervous system.

The event is facilitated by UCL’s Dr Daniel Glaser, who is also development manager in public engagement at the Wellcome Trust. Dr Glaser comes from a neuroscience background, was the first 'Scientist in Residence' at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), has presented a television series for the BBC and co-chairs Café Scientifique at the Photographers' Gallery.

The debate runs from 6.30 to 8pm. It is a free event, held outside a traditional academic context and open to the public.

To find out more, use the link at the bottom of this article.

UCL knowledge and Swiss precision

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nr3

Lausanne, Switzerland, is a small city in the Vaudoise region of Switzerland, known to many only for its access to the beauty of Lake Geneva, and skiing opportunities in the Swiss Alps. But Dr Nikki Robertson (UCL Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Institute for Women’s Health) is also acquainted with its less recreational side, after spending six months in the city hospital’s busy neonatal unit.

NEURObotics…the future of thinking?

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Virtual reality multi-player games

An exhibition at the Science Museum, featuring the work of several UCL researchers, shows how medical technology could boost our brains, read our thoughts and give us mind control over machines.

Workshops: Touch and the Value of Object Handling

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UCL Museums and Collections are hosting a series of workshops exploring touch and object handling in the context of museums.

Planning and social interaction improve into our twenties

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Teenagers who believe that they can tidy their bedroom in three minutes and finish their homework in another five might not be wilfully slapdash. New research from Suparna Choudhury (UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and UCL Institute of Child Health) has found that our ability to imagine our actions accurately improves throughout adolescence and well into our twenties, with possible repercussions for the way we interact socially.

Moira Yip: taking the lid off China

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Moira Yip

Professor Moira Yip, 叶梅娜, (UCL Phonetics and Linguistics) starts work as Pro-Provost (China, Hong Kong and Macao) this week. As such, she is responsible for helping deliver UCL’s international strategy and developing partnerships with the largest educational power in the world.

Honorary Doctorates conferred

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Daunton

Seven honorary UCL doctorates were conferred at a graduation ceremony on 4 September 2006 at Logan Hall, Institute of Education, Bedford Way. The recipients hailed from a variety of backgrounds in academia, the arts and industry.

UCL at the BA Festival of Science

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UCL is well represented at this year’s BA Festival of Science, held in Norwich from 2–9 September.

Members of the university will be appearing at nine separate events throughout the week, speaking on subjects ranging from ‘Beautiful brains’ and ‘Secrets of our universe’ to ‘Engineering today helps you work, rest and play’ and ‘Is there an anti-cancer diet?’

Magnetic brain stimulation may improve vision

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Peripheral vision may be improved by stimulating certain parts of the brain with brief electromagnetic pulses, according to research published today in the journal ‘Current Biology’ by a team at the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience.

Press release: Novelty aids learning

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Research published in ‘Neuron’ today by psychologists at the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience shows that introducing completely new facts when learning significantly improves memory performance.

‘Nature’ review: brain reading

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geraint rees

In the July 2006 issue of ‘Nature Reviews Neuroscience’, Professor Geraint Rees (UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience) and Dr John-Dylan Haynes (Max Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences), review emerging approaches to reconstruct mental states in humans, or ‘brain reading’.

Press release: Our grip on reality is slim, says UCL scientist

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The neurological basis for poor witness statements and hallucinations has been found by scientists at UCL. In over a fifth of cases, people wrongly remembered whether they actually witnessed an event or just imagined it, according to a paper published in ‘NeuroImage’.

UCL and Osaka collaborate

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Osaka

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed in June 2006 by UCL’s President and Provost, Professor Malcolm Grant, and Osaka’s Mayor, Junichi Seki, with respect to collaboration between UCL and Osaka City University (OCU).

Feelings matter less to teenagers

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Teenagers take less account than adults of people’s feelings and, often, even fail to think about their own, according to a UCL neuroscientist. The results, presented at the BA Festival of Science today, show that teenagers hardly use the area of the brain that is involved in thinking about other people’s emotions and thoughts, when considering a course of action.

Neurospsychology prize for Professor Vargha-Khadem

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Professor Faraneh Vargha-Khadem (UCL Institute of Child Health) is the 2006 winner of the prestigious Fondation Ipsen Neurospsychology Jean-Louis Signoret Prize for her outstanding contribution in the domain of Genetics of Behaviour.

Real home for virtual institute

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Researchers at the UCL Institute of Behavioural Neuroscience celebrated its official launch on Wednesday, as well as its £3 million funding for a suite of laboratories.

Brain shape predicts language learning success

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Fast language learners have more white matter and a less symmetrical brain than slower language learners, according to UCL published today in the journal ‘Cerebral Cortex’.

UCL science at the House of Commons

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SET

Nine UCL doctoral students and post-docs were chosen to present posters on their research at the House of Commons on 13 March 2006 as part of the UK National Science Week.

You will remember this

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Scientists can now predict memory of an event before it even happens. A team at UCL can now tell how well memory will serve us before we have seen what we will remember.

You will remember this

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Scientists can now predict memory of an event before it even happens. A team at UCL (University College London) can now tell how well memory will serve us before we have seen what we will remember.

The learning brain

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the learning brain

Experts from the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (ICN), Dr Sarah-Jayne Blakemore and Professor Uta Frith, have published a groundbreaking book that provides insight into how and when our brains learn throughout our lives.

Brain patterns reveal what is on the unconscious mind

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University College London (UCL) scientists have made the first steps towards building a mind-reading device. In a study published in the latest issue of Nature Neuroscience, the UCL team discovered that they could use brief recordings of brain activity alone to predict which of two objects volunteers were viewing.

Two UCL professors elected as Fellows of the Royal Society

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Two University College London (UCL) professors, John Collinge and Uta Frith, are among the new Fellows of the Royal Society announced today.

These cells recognise faces and only faces

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There is a specific mechanism in our brains that deals only with recognising peoples’ faces and it is separate from the mechanism that allows us to recognise objects like houses, cars, horses or even people’s bodies, according to a study led by Dr Brad Duchaine at UCL. He shows how we recognise faces by analysing one man, who can’t tell one face from another, in a paper that will appear online in the journal ‘Cognitive Neuropsychology’ on 13th February 2006.

These cells recognise faces and only faces

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There is a specific mechanism in our brains that deals only with recognising peoples’ faces and it is separate from the mechanism that allows us to recognise objects like houses, cars, horses or even people’s bodies, according to a study led by Dr Brad Duchaine at UCL (University College London). He shows how we recognise faces by analysing one man, who can’t tell one face from another, in a paper that will appear online in Cognitive Neuropsychology journal on 13th February 2006.

UCL raises the neuroscience stakes in a link with French universities

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In a significant development for European higher education and research, University College London (UCL) today signed a research alliance agreement with Université Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC) and the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS), with the ambition of creating a tri-polar centre of world excellence in the cognitive and neurosciences.

How the brain rearranges the body to make sense of the world

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In a study published in the latest issue of Current Biology, University College London (UCL) scientists have shown that the human brain holds and continuously updates an internal map of the body. The UCL team hope their findings will help explain how the processes in the brain which create a coherent body map may go wrong in people with neurological or psychiatric disorders.

6000 postcards

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If you study or work at UCL, the sight of dusty old boxes stacked up in the corner of a cupboard is a regular one. However, one intrepid academic bravely delved into the boxes and made an intriguing discovery, so much so it is the subject of a Radio 4 programme, to be broadcast at 11am on 6 January 2006.

Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience Seminar

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The UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (ICN) is hosting two seminars by distinguished psychologists, in October 2005, open to UCL staff, students and the general public.

Advances in developmental amnesia

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The Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Unit at the UCL Institute of Child Health has embarked on a major programme to help children with memory problems resulting from brain damage.

UCL creates new Pro-Provost positions to expand its global horizon

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UCL has created two new Pro-Provost positions – one for North America and one for South Asia and the Middle East - to maintain and develop the university's interests in these regions. Pro-Provost for North America, Professor Janette Atkinson , and Pro-Provost for South Asia and the Middle East, Professor Vince Emery, will take up post this month.

UCL finalists for Asian Jewel Awards

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Professor Zumla

UCL’s Professor Alimuddin Zumla (Infectious Diseases and International Health), and Professor Faraneh Vargha- Khadem (Institute of Child Health) have both been shortlisted for the Healthcare and Education category in the Lloyds TSB Asian Jewel Awards (Southern Region) 2005.

Two UCL academics elected to Royal Society

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Professor Utah Frith

Two UCL professors, John Collinge and Uta Frith, are among the new Fellows of the Royal Society announced today.

Frank Dobson visits UCL

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Mr Dobson and Dr Blakemore

Frank Dobson MP visited UCL’s Functional Imaging Laboratory (FIL and Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (ICN) during Brain Awareness Week (14 to 20 March 2005). He was hosted by the ICN’s Dr Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow, who was his partner in 2004’s Royal Society Scientists & Parliament work-shadowing scheme.

Time, space and number

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Dr Vincent Walsh

A UCL neuroscientist has won a Leverhulme Trust Award. Dr Vincent Walsh, a Royal Society Research Fellow at UCL’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience has been granted £116,674 over 36 months for his project ‘Time, Space and Number in the Human Mind: A Common Source of Quantities?’

UCL Professors awarded Queen's birthday honours

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Professor Michael Batty

Two UCL professors have been acknowledged in the 2004 Queen’s Birthday Honours list. Professor Michael Batty was awarded a CBE for services to geography and Professor Annette Karmiloff-Smith was also awarded a CBE, for services to cognitive development.

UCL professor nominated as ‘Professional of the Year’ at the Asian Women of Achievement Awards

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Professor Faraneh Vargha-Khadem

Professor Faraneh Vargha-Khadem, of UCL’s Institute of Child Health, was presented with the ‘Professional of the Year’ award by Cherie Blair for her outstanding contribution to mental health and child development at the fourth annual Asian Women of Achievement Awards.

New research into Autism revealed in new book by UCL’s Professor Uta Frith

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Professor Utah Frith

UCL’s Professor Uta Frith (Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience) has published the second edition of her highly successful book Autism: Explaining the Enigma.