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Recent News


Attention Requires Balance in the Brain

October 29, 2018

Girl focus

The ability to focus attention is a fundamental challenge that the brain must solve and one that is essential to navigating our daily lives. In developmental disorders such as Autism this ability is impaired. New research published in the journal Nature Communications shows that nerve cells maintain a state of balance when preparing to interpret what we see and this may explain why the healthy brain can block out distractions.


Professor recognized for transforming understanding of human language

September 4, 2018

Mike Tanenhaus

Michael K. Tanenhaus, a longtime professor of brain and cognitive sciences, is being recognized for work that has “transformed our understanding of human language and its relation to perception, action, and communication” by the premier academic society in his field.


‘Groundbreaking and transformative’ work at Undergraduate Research Expo

May 3, 2018

President's Award winners, from left to right, Lauren Oey ’18, Harrah Newman ’18, Yiyun Huang ’18, and Perry DeMarche ’18 were honored at the 2018 Undergraduate Research Exposition. (University of Rochester photo / Lindsey Valich)

A diversity of subject matter was on display this year at the University of Rochester’s annual Undergraduate Research Exposition. Students presented projects in topics ranging from fluid dynamics, deforestation in Bolivia, and nomad cultures in Morocco to prenatal depression, meteorites, and software that affects education.


Professor studies complex brain networks involved in vision

March 12, 2018

Farran Briggs

Our brains are made up of an intricate network of neurons. Understanding the complex neuronal circuits—the connections of these neurons—is important in understanding how our brains process visual information.


A professor and his robot study how we see

February 21, 2018

Michele Rucci

Vision and art have always played a large role in Michele Rucci’s life.


Training brains—young and old, sick and healthy—with virtual reality

February 13, 2018

Brenna James '20, a member of the women's basketball team, suffered a concussion in high school. Rochester researchers are using virtual reality to study how concussed patients' eyes track and move across the visual field. The goal is to create therapeutic treatments that can be used at home by patients.

An accidental discovery by Rochester researchers in 2003 touched off a wave of research into the area of neuroplasticity in adults, or how the brain’s neural connections change throughout a person’s lifespan.


Monkey sees. . . monkey knows?

September 6, 2017


When asked a question, a human being can decline to answer if he knows that he does not know the answer. Although non-human animals cannot verbally declare any sort of metacognitive judgments, Jessica Cantlon, an assistant professor of brain and cognitive sciences at Rochester, and PhD candidate Stephen Ferrigno, have found that non-human primates exhibit a metacognitive process similar to humans.


Patient Plays Saxophone While Surgeons Remove Brain Tumor

August 25, 2017

Brad Mahon surgery

Music is not only a major part of Dan Fabbio’s life, as a music teacher it is his livelihood. So when doctors discovered a tumor located in the part of his brain responsible for music function, he began a long journey that involved a team of physicians, scientists, and a music professor and culminated with him awake and playing a saxophone as surgeons operated on his brain. Fabbio’s case is the subject of a study published today in the journal Current Biology that sheds new light on how music is processed in the brain.


Michael Tanenhaus awarded top cognitive science prize

August 1, 2017

Mike Tanenhaus

Michael Tanenhaus, the Beverly Petterson Bishop and Charles W. Bishop Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, is this year’s recipient of the prestigious David E. Rumelhart Prize, the premier award in the field of cognitive science. He accepted the award at the annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society last week.


Surviving a Stroke Propels Career in Brain Research

July 26, 2017

On a warm day in July 2005, Frank Garcea’s soccer playing days came to an abrupt end when he suffered what could have been a deadly stroke during a practice with his teammates. Instead, the events of that day and his subsequent treatment – which serve as the basis for a review published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) – set him on a career path that would ultimately lead to a Ph.D. studying how the brain recovers from injury.


Now More Than Ever, Employees Want To Know: Is There A Second Marshmallow?

June 7, 2017


From Few psychological studies are as famous as the Stanford marshmallow experiment. In a series of observations begun in the late 1960s and early 1970s, psychologist and Stanford professor Walter Mischel offered children a single marshmallow on the spot or two marshmallows if they waited 15 minutes without eating the one in front of them.


Piantadosi named ‘rising star’ by Association for Psychological Science

March 16, 2017

Steven Piantadosi

The Association for Psychological Science (previously the American Psychological Society) recently named Steven Piantadosi, an assistant professor of brain and cognitive sciences, to its list of distinguished Rising Stars for his contributions to the field of psychology. Piantadosi’s research focuses on how people learn language and concepts.


What humans and primates both know when it comes to numbers

January 16, 2017

Baboon Research

For the past several years, Jessica Cantlon has been working to understand how humans develop the concept of numbers, from simple counting to complex mathematical reasoning. Early in her career at the University of Rochester, the assistant professor of brain and cognitive sciences began studying primates in her search for the origins of numeric understanding.