By: David Coleiro
I like to think of myself as a positive and optimistic person. It seems to me to make for an easier and more enjoyable journey through life. So I was intrigued when I read of neuroscientist Tali Sharot’s research into the Optimism Bias, which has shown that despite all the bad news stories we are bombarded with on a daily basis: war, violence, wrong-doing and financial meltdown, the majority of us are optimistic by nature; our brains are hardwired to be so. It’s a fascinating concept and one I had to find out more about, so I bought the book and met with Tali in her office at University College London for an enthralling discussion. Read the rest of this entry »
Penn Researchers Receive Major Grant to Explore Use of Brain Training To Help People Change Behaviors that Increase Cancer Risk (press release):
“Most people know that smoking, a bad diet, and physical inactivity can lead to catastrophic personal health consequences, including cancer. Yet millions continue to smoke, eat poorly, and fail to get enough exercise. A new project Read the rest of this entry »
NIOSH to Study Cognitive Loads on Underground Coal Miners (Occupational Health & Safety):
“NIOSH has published a notice outlining an interesting study it plans to undertake to understand the cognitive demands placed on underground coal miners by new safety devices they must carry, with the industry increasingly deploying wireless communication systems, personal dust monitors, and proximity detectors…
The physical burden is evident, but the cognitive effect may not be as clear,” Read the rest of this entry »
By: Shlomo Breznitz & Collins Hemingway
As with “expert,” the root of experience is “experiri,” a Latin word meaning “to try out.” People with a lot of experience should be willing to try new things, as their knowledge should provide more context and points of view, enable more exploration of an issue, and minimize risk with decisions. However, highly experienced people tend to fall into the habits of the past. Once we have accumulated a valuable base of knowledge, experience provides a useful shortcut for decision making. Relying on experience is very fast and very efficient, but it is also potentially very dangerous. Operating with the least effort possible, the brain retrieves whatever quickly seems to fit. We apply past patterns to the future. Rather than call upon its amazing creativity, too often the brain works as nothing but a huge storage bin of precedents.
Because “close is good enough” as our brain fills in the blanks, we Read the rest of this entry »
Obesity linked to Cognition (HealthCanal):
- “Obese people tend to perform worse than healthy people at cognitive tasks like planning ahead, a literature review has found, concluding that psychological techniques used to treat anorexics could help obese people too.” Read the rest of this entry »
Charting Brain Growth in Humans and Chimps (New York Times):
– “Although baby humans and baby chimpanzees both start out with undeveloped forebrains, a new study reports that the human brain increases in volume much more rapidly early on.“
– “The growth is in a region of the brain known as the prefrontal cortex and is part of what makes humans cognitively advanced compared with other animals, including the chimpanzee, our closest relative. The prefrontal cortex plays a major role in decision-making, self-awareness and creative thinking.”
–> To learn more about study Differential Prefrontal White Matter Development in Chimpanzees and Humans: click Here (requires subscription).
–> To explore what may have happened otherwise, you may want to watch the new movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
By: Alvaro Fernandez
A couple of very interesting recent announcements show (in a military context) how well-targeted brain training can complement and augment existing approaches, both to help “normal” and “clinical” populations, in ways that silo-based, rear-mirror thinking often misses: Read the rest of this entry »