science podcast #126

Genetic History of Coconuts, Beauty in the Beholder’s Brain

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We have lots of news from the tropics this week. Elsa brings us news about the history of coconut farming, palm plantations in the Amazon and discovery of a previously unknown indigenous group in Brazil. Then, some news about where beauty resides in the brain. Our Forum discussion with epidemiologist William Foege about conquering deadly diseases continues through July 12th. Click here to join the conversation.

Beauty Perception in the Brain: Beauty may well be in the beholder’s eyes, but it is also in the beholder’s brain. A new study by scientists in the U.K. have identified a region in the brain that is involved in the perception of beauty. The researchers put volunteers in an fMRI machine that measures the activity in people’s brains. Then, the volunteers were showed some paintings and made to listen to musical excerpts and asked to rate them as very beautiful or very ugly. Every time the volunteers felt a painting or a musical piece was beautiful, one particular region of their brain lit up in the brain scans. The region is called medial orbito-frontal cortex, and is part of the brain’s reward and pleasure center.
Guest: Semir Zeki
The study was published in the journal PLoS ONE.

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This entry was posted on Friday, July 8th, 2011 at 2:49 PM and is filed under Science Podcast. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

One Response to “Genetic History of Coconuts, Beauty in the Beholder’s Brain”

  1. I find coconuts absolutely fascinating. They have so many uses and if you are ever stuck on a tropical island then they could save your life!

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