Why you can't stop checking your phone

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Suppose you abide by the new no smartphone while cycling law and you keep your phone safely in your pocket. One minute passes. Five minutes pass. But then, almost automatically, your hand slips into your pocket to check your messages.Why do we feel the constant urge to check our phones? And, you could you control those urges?

It's the fault of our brain, Eveline Crone explains.

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What obesity does to your brain



A study that collected MRI scans of thousands of people of different sizes found those carrying dangerous amounts of weight have 'smaller volumes of important structures of the brain'. The consequences are not to be underestimated. Dr. Ilona Dekkers explains.

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What do you choose: stairs or escalator?

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Knowing that something is the healthiest choice, doesn't always mean that you actually make that choice. What are our decisions based on? That's what researchers of the Leiden Institute of Brain and Cognition (LIBC) are trying to discover. Professor Bernhard Hommel explains that by measuring the brain activity in people on the verge of making a choice, they hope to discover how we make our choices. That knowledge can help people who are really looking for a positive change in their lifestyle.

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The constant struggle against itchy skin


One out of seven pople in the Netherlands suffer from uncontrollable itchy skin, every single day. More and more scientists are interested in the effects. one of those professors is Andrea Evers. In this article she explains that this itchy feeling is actually a product of our brain and how you can use this knowledge to win the struggle against itchy skin.

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Hearing the sound of your own voice - why so different?


Have you ever heard a recording of your own voice and thought: is that really my voice? If so, you are not the only one. How can it be though that our own voice sounds so unfamiliar to us? Psycho- and Neurolinguistics professor Niels Schiller has the explanation.

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Can snow be a trigger for migraine?



What triggers a migraine attack? Can migraine be triggered by weather changes? Or by bright sunlight reflected from snow? Those questions were answered by neurology professor Michael Ferrari of Leiden University in the NRC's dare to ask column.

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Sugars or sweeteners?


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Are you craving something sweet? You better take a regular coke than a cola light. Your brain responds beter to sugars than to sweeteners. That is the conclusion of researcher Anna Maria van Opstal.

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A special headset to help you sleep better - dream or reality?

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Een speciale headset die via elektrodes je hersenen helpt ‘herprogrammeren’. Zo'n ‘slaapmuts’ kan volgens onderzoeksinstituut Brainclinics in Nijmegen een simpele oplossing bieden bij slaapproblemen.

A special headset that helps your brain to 'reprogram' using electrodes. It is supposed to be a simple solution for those who have difficulty sleeping. But, does it really work? Is this a dream or reality? Professor Guido Band of the LUMC explains why neurofeedback really does work.

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The effect of music on our brain



30 November 2018 a symposium about music in relation to the brain was held, rganized by the Leiden Insititue of Brain and Cognition and the town of Leiden.

A lot of interesting questions were answerd that day, such as:

  • Why does music have the ability to move us, cheer us up or irritate us?
  • Why do we feel a compulsion to move or sway when we hear music? Are we the only species that feel this compulsion?
  • On what does Spotify base the suggestions we get?


There were also musical performances to stimulate brain activity. The famous Calefax together with scientist Rebecca Schaefer made use of monitoring tools to monitor brain activity to track what music does to our brain. During lunch break there were many other musical performances to be enjoyed. In conclusion the Dutch Sign Language Choir performed a couple of songs. They got a standing ovation, hands up in the air. With the words "Music is for everybody, Rebecca Schaefer concluded this succesful day.

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