Let us share below a list of 40 common brain fitness, brain health, brain training questions that we will make sure to address during the upcoming online course, How to Be Your Own Brain Fitness Coach in 2012 (starts March 7th). The questions are sequenced by their approximate order of appearance in the syllabus. We look forward to an engaging, interactive and valuable experience! ***Please remember that course registration ends on Sunday, March 4th.***
Top 40 Brain Fitness & Training Questions
- How can one define brain fitness
- What is link between stress, focus and memory
- Does “brain age” even exist
- How to enhance overall mental productivity, vs just IQ
- Is there some “ceiling” to my improvement or can I always try more things
- How brain functions evolve with age. What improves, what declines, what should I be paying attention to Read the rest of this entry »
By: Alvaro Fernandez
Only a couple weeks ago we announced the new online course How to Be Your Own Brain Fitness Coach in 2012, and we are happy to report 61 lifelong learners have registered since. Take a look at the fascinating geographic distribution of participants! We are looking forward to it.
By: Alvaro Fernandez
You may have noticed that Amazon.com is sharing aggregated data on how ebook readers interact with the books they are reading. For example, the “Popular Highlights” section (towards the bottom of our Kindle book page) ranks the Top 10 sentences that Kindle readers have highlighted and shared while reading The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness: 18 Interviews with Scientists, Practical Advice and Product Reviews, to Keep Your Brain Sharp (April 2009; 182 pages; ranked #1 in Kindle Store’s Preventive Medicine section).
This information is invaluable to authors and publishers - as you can imagine, we’ll make sure to not only maintain but to elaborate on these topics as we prepare future editions of the book.
So, what are so far the Top Ten Quotes on Lifelong Neuroplasticity and Neurogenesis, Read the rest of this entry »
By: Scott Barry Kaufman
.What’s The Size Of The Mozart Effect? The Jury Is In.
In a now well-known 1993 paper in Nature called “Music and spatial task performance”, Frances H. Rauscher and her colleagues report that participants who were exposed to the first movement “allegro con spirito” of the Mozart Sonata KV 448 for Two Pianos in D major scored significantly higher on standardized tests of abstract/spatial reasoning ability than those who were instructed to relax or those who just sat there in silence.
Even though the participants in Rauscher et al.‘s study were college students, and they didn’t administer a full battery of cognitive tests to properly assess general intelligence, their findings translated into “play Mozart to your children and they will grow up smart.” A cottage industry was born. Read the rest of this entry »
By: Scott Barry Kaufman
Anyone who knows me knows that my favorite pastime is napping. In College, I would come back to my dorm room, and like clockwork, would take a nap. My best friend in England, who got quite a kick out of my passion for napping, once tried to persuade me to drink a cup of tea after lunch instead of taking my customary nap. I really tried, but I soon gave in to my nap cravings. Sometimes I feel like I really need to re-charge my brain batteries.
Well, now science is on my side. I just love this new study, which was presented by Matthew Walker, assistant professor at UC Berkeley, at the annual meeting of the American Association of the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference in San Diego this past Sunday (Feb. 2010).
Walker and his colleagues Bryce A. Mander and Sangeetha Santhanam split up a batch of 39 healthy young adults into two groups. One group napped, the other did not.
At noon, both groups took a learning task thought to recruit the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a region of the brain known to play an important role in the formation of new memories. Over the past few years, various researchers have found that fact-based memories are temporarily stored in the hippocampus before other regions of the brain can operate on the content, especially the regions of the brain responsible for higher-order reasoning and thinking. At this point in the experiment, both groups showed similar levels of performance.
Then, at 2pm, the nap group took a 90-minute nap while the no-nap group stayed awake, presumably watching the nap group enjoying their nap. After nap-time both groups then took more learning tests. The nappers did better on the tasks than those who stayed awake, demonstrating their higher capacity to learn. Read the rest of this entry »
By: Dr. Joshua Steinerman
Ask yourself the tough questions: Do you mind your brain? Do you know your noggin’? Can you claim cerebral ownership or is your mental a rental?
Although these questions are relevant at virtually all lifespan stages, firm answers can sometimes appear inconceivable. Unfortunately with advancing age, attention to mental performance is often either abandoned or framed in terms of perceived impairment and decline. Now, I have previously shared my message on minding the aging brain with SharpBrains readers. As a cognitive neuropsychiatrist primarily interested in later-life phenomena, I tend to stick to my area of expertise. Nevertheless, whether you are elder or not, I implore you to take these ideas to heart…do you mind?
Just as brain fitness is for all, aging is similarly universal. Every thoughtful individual recognizes the unavoidable answer to “are you aging?” However, the answer to “how are you aging?” is less obvious to most, and is even more obscure when considering lifespan cognitive trajectories. In fact, no consensus lexicon yet exists to describe the ways in which cognition can be modulated to achieve desired lifestyle or clinical goals.
In my latest publication on technology-enabled cognitive training for healthy elders, I outline a proposed lexicon for positive cognition interventions, as well as a framework for classifying putative benefits of cognitive training. Here, I will present these concepts without regard to age, as they apply equally well to all sapient sapiens:
● Cognitive stimulation refers to nontargeted engagement that generally enhances mental functioning. Examples might include educational endeavors or life review.
● Cognitive training refers to theory-driven intervention, Read the rest of this entry »
By: Dr. Pascale Michelon
For an excellent review of the most recent findings on learning habits, check out The New York Times recent article: Forget What You Know About Good Study Habits. Tons of unexpected and fascinating results!
The findings can help anyone, from a fourth grader doing long division to a retiree taking on a new language. But they directly contradict much of the common wisdom about good study habits, and they have not caught on. For instance, instead of sticking to one study location, simply alternating the room where a person studies improves retention.
Take the notion that children have specific learning styles, that some are “visual learners” and others are auditory; some are “left-brain” students, others “right-brain.” In a recent review of the relevant research, published in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest, a team of psychologists found almost zero support for such ideas.
Comment: The way we learn matters for two reasons: a) we need to efficiently retain some information for the various tasks we have to perform every day, but also b) learning induces neuroplastic changes in the brain, which in turn may increase our brain reserve and brain health (see our prior article on Brain Plasticity: How learning changes your brain).