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Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition

The CNBC is a joint venture of the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. Our center leverages the strengths of the University of Pittsburgh in basic and clinical neuroscience and those of Carnegie Mellon in cognitive and computational neuroscience to support a coordinated cross-university research and educational program of international stature. In addition to our Ph.D. program in Neural Computation, we sponsor a graduate certificate program in cooperation with a wide variety of affiliated Ph.D. programs.

Within the CNBC, our over 200 world-class faculty and trainees are investigating the cognitive and neural mechanisms that give rise to biological intelligence and behavior. Research topics include affective, cognitive, linguistic, perceptual, motor and social systems in both normal and disordered populations, as well as computational neuroscience. The CNBC also promotes the translation of findings from basic research into applications for medicine, education, robotics and artificial intelligence.

Carnegie Mellon University Research Lab Finds Intermediary Neuron Acts as Synaptic Cloaking Device

pressrel-startrek-neuron-236.jpgResearchers Find That Somatostatin Neurons Regulate Synaptic Activity in the Neocortex

Joanna Urban-Ciecko, a research scientist in Alison Barth's Lab, noticed that the synapses in her experiments were not behaving the way that previous experimenters had reported. Prior studies reported that the synapses should be strong and reliable, and that they should always grow and strengthen in response to a stimulus. But the neurons Urban-Ciecko looked at were weak and unreliable. Read more....

Bringing Texture to Flat Touchscreens: Carnegie Mellon and Northwestern Researchers Provide New Insight Into How Brain Understands Data From Fingers

TouchscreenModel of “Virtual Bumps” Could Lead to Feeling a Keyboard in a Touchscreen

What if the touchscreen of your smartphone or tablet could touch you back? What if touch was as integrated into our ubiquitous technology as sight and sound?

Carnegie Mellon University and Northwestern University researchers have made a discovery that provides insight into how the brain makes sense of data from fingers.

In a study of people drawing their fingers over a flat surface that has two “virtual bumps,” the research team is the first to find that, under certain circumstances, the subjects feel only one bump when there really are two. Better yet, the researchers can explain why the brain comes to this conclusion. Read more....


MIT's Ed Boyden To Receive Andrew Carnegie Prize in Mind and Brain Sciences

edboyden_175x225.jpgCarnegie Mellon University will award the third annual Andrew Carnegie Prize in Mind and Brain Sciences to Ed Boyden, associate professor of biological engineering and brain and cognitive sciences at the MIT Media Lab and the MIT McGovern Institute. treatments.

The prize, given by the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC) and funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York as part of its centennial celebration, recognizes trailblazers in the mind and brain sciences whose research has helped advance the field and its applications. The CNBC will present the award to Boyden at 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 9 in the Rashid Auditorium in CMU's Hillman Center for Future Generation Technologies.  Read more...


Carnegie Mellon, Weizmann Institute Researchers Discover "Idiosyncratic" Brain Patterns in Autism

autismsynchimage_500x170.jpgNew research published under the title The idiosyncratic brain: distortion of spontaneous connectivity patterns in autism spectrum disorder  in Nature Neuroscience suggests that the various reports — of both over- and under-connectivity — may, in fact, reflect a deeper principle of brain function. Led by scientists at the Weizmann Institute and Carnegie Mellon University, the study shows that the brains of individuals with autism display unique synchronization patterns, something that could impact earlier diagnosis of the disorder and future treatments.  Read more...


Brain Research Shows Different Pathways Are Responsible for Person and Movement Recognition

marlenebehrmann_120x120.jpgResearchers, including Carnegie Mellon professor and CNBC's co-director Marlene Behrmann, have found that the ability to understand different movements, engages different brain mechanisms from those that recognize who is initiating the action. The study illustrates for the first time how individuals with prosopagnosia, or face blindness, are still able to recognize other people's movements.