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CNBC

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.

 
Flexing the Brain: Carnegie Mellon, Pitt Scientists Discover Why Learning Tasks Can Be Difficult

naturecover_240x297.jpgResearch Could Lead to Improved Treatments for Stroke or Other Brain Injuries

Learning a new skill is easier when it is related to an ability we already have. For example, a trained pianist can learn a new melody easier than learning how to hit a tennis serve.

Scientists from the Center of the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC) — a joint program between Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh — have discovered a fundamental constraint in the brain that may explain why this happens. Published as the cover story in the Aug. 28, 2014, issue of Nature, they found for the first time that there are limitations on how adaptable the brain is during learning and that these restrictions are a key determinant for whether a new skill will be easy or difficult to learn. Understanding the ways in which the brain's activity can be "flexed" during learning could eventually be used to develop better treatments for stroke and other brain injuries.

Lead author Patrick T. Sadtler, a Ph.D. candidate in Pitt's Department of Bioengineering, compared the study's findings to cooking.

 To see the CMU press release, follow this link: http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2014/august/august27_naturecoverstory.html

(Note: Picture above is from the Aug. 28 cover of Nature.)

 

 
CMU Launches BrainHub

Carnegie Mellon University announced the launch of CMU BrainHub℠, a new initiative that focuses on understanding the human brain — one of the grand challenges of the 21st century.

 To see the CMU press release, follow this link: http://www.cmu.edu/homepage/health/2014/summer/cmu-launches-brainhub.shtml

 

 
Neuroscience and Big Data: Carnegie Mellon's Byron M. Yu Describes How To Find Simplicity in the Brain

Byron Yu PictureScientists can now monitor and record the activity of hundreds of neurons concurrently in the brain, and ongoing technology developments promise to increase this number manyfold. However, simply recording the neural activity does not automatically lead to a clearer understanding of how the brain works.

In a new review paper published in Nature Neuroscience, Carnegie Mellon University's Byron M. Yu and Columbia University's John P. Cunningham describe the scientific motivations for studying the activity of many neurons together, along with a class of machine learning algorithms — dimensionality reduction — for interpreting the activity.

 To see the CMU press release, follow this link: http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2014/august/august25_byronyu.html

 

 
Haven't I Seen This Before?" Researchers Show How Neurons Respond to Sequences of Familiar Objects

training-images_500x494.jpgThe world grows increasingly more chaotic year after year, and our brains are constantly bombarded with images. A new study from Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition(CNBC), a joint project between Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, reveals how neurons in the part of the brain responsible for recognizing objects respond to being shown a barrage of images. The study is published online by Nature Neuroscience.

The CNBC researchers showed animal subjects a rapid succession of images, some that were new, and some that the subjects had seen more than 100 times. The researchers measured the electrical response of individual neurons in the inferotemporal cortex, an essential part of the visual system and the part of the brain responsible for object recognition.

 To see the full CMU press release, follow this link: http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2014/august/august25_neuronsrespondtoimages.html

 

 
IGN Taps Carnegie Mellon Startup Neon Labs for 30 Percent Boost in Video Views

Founded on research conducted in the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, Neon Labs uses an image selection platform to maximize viewership of, and revenue from, digital content. To see the CMU press release, follow this link: http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2014/july/july15_neonlabspartnership.html

neonimage_600x200.jpg

The image above shows two thumbnails promoting videos. The Neon Labs recommended thumbnail increased viewership by 59 percent.