PICTURE: Franco Pestilli, Neuroscientist, Department of Psychology, The University of Texas at Austin
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Photo credit: Franco Pestilli

People often think about human behavior in relation to what is happening in the present – reading the newspaper, driving a car, or playing football. But other dimensions of behavior extend over weeks, months and years.

Examples include a child learning to read; an athlete recovering from a concussion; or a person who turns 50 wondering where has all this gone. These are not changes that people perceive on a daily basis. They just suddenly realize that they are older, or have healed, or that they have a new ability to develop.

“The field of neuroscience looks at the brain in different ways,” says Franco Pestilli, a neuroscientist at the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin). “For example, we’re interested in how neurons compute and enable us to react quickly – it’s a quick reaction that requires visual and motor attention …

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