Weekly News Bites: Brain’s best friend, focus, and the perfect amount of children

Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are what happens in our brains when we interact with dogs, our brain and eye activity when we focus on something, and how many children is the ‘ideal’ amount.

Previous research has shown that interacting with dogs is good for us as they can reduce stress and make us happier. A new study from Konkuk University takes a deeper look into what happens in the brain of people when they interact with a furry friend. Using electrodes on participants' heads, researchers found that activities like playing, walking, and grooming a dog increased relaxation and concentration, as indicated by changes in brainwaves.

A large study across 8 countries showed that Singaporeans prefer having one child over none, similar to the other countries studied. However, they did not want two or more unless certain family life factors are met says A*STAR and the National University of Singapore who led the study in the country. Participants seemed to place more importance on quality over quantity when it comes to family relationships.

Did you know we can focus on things even before we look at it? When we focus on something, our eyes tend to move towards it, a connection called pre-saccadic attention, e.g. if you look at something “out of the corner of your eye”. IISC Bengaluru scientists wanted to study the mechanisms behind this. They found that if the object changes just before we look at it, we struggle to process the change. Another study also showed different brain activity for attention and eye movements, meaning that distinct regions covered these actions.

Tokyo Metropolitan University researchers reveal the significant impact of land-atmosphere interactions on weather patterns. Through advanced climate modeling, they measured how land conditions and the Asian summer monsoon climate interacted. One of the findings showed the crucial role of the Tibetan Plateau which varies annually. The findings promise improved seasonal forecasts, offering hope for better preparedness against monsoon variability.