Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Visual illusions to tease our brains and minds


Why Optical Illusions Like These Make Your Brain Go Haywire (Wired):

“University of Bristol researchers discovered this illusion in the early 1970s while looking at the tiled wall of a café. Hence the name, Café Wall Illusion. The gray lines in between the rows of white and black squares seem to converge, but they are actually parallel. Your brain, overwhelmed by the intense and closely-spaced black-and-white contrasts, sees the gray lines as part of the tile either above or below it. The lines end up appearing higher on alternating sides, creating the trapezoidal illusion.”

More visual illusions and brain teasers:

Tease your mind with visual illusions

This is one of the Winners of the 2014 Best Illusion of The Year Contest. Enjoy!

Explanation: Read the rest of this entry »

Update: Four Essential Yet Overlooked Facts About Your Brain

brainstormingTime for Sharp­Brains’ December 2013 e-newsletter, fea­tur­ing a vari­ety of resources, brain teasers and articles. Enjoy the reading…and Happy Holidays!

Featured resources:

Brain teasers:

Research and industry news:

Please remember that we are hosting a number of webchats in January to discuss your impressions and questions about  The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness: How to Opti­mize Brain Health and Per­for­mance at Any Age (284 pages; 2013), so we hope you can spend some time reading the book over the holidays, and perhaps even discuss it with friends and relatives.

We wish you Happy Holidays and a Prosperous 2014!

Test your Brain with these Teasers and Visual Illusions

ebbing haus illusion testAre the two orange circles of the same size? One way to under­stand more about the brain is to look at how we can trick it, that is, to look at how the brain reacts to teasers and visual illusions.

Here are 10 visual illu­sions to com­bine fun and learn­ing about the visual system. We know you know there is a trick since these are illu­sions… but don’t try to be smarter than your brain: Just enjoyed being surprised!

To go beyond the illu­sions, read about what hap­pens in your brain while you expe­ri­ence them. Read the rest of this entry >>

February Update: Retooling Brain Health for the 21st Century

Welcome to the February edi­tion of Sharp­Brains monthly eNewslet­ter:

First Report of the Council on the Ageing Society: Global Policy journal publishes the full Policy Principles and call to action outlined by the Global Agenda Coun­cil on the Ageing Society, an initiative run by the World Eco­nomic Forum which our CEO Alvaro Fernandez was honored to join in 2008.

Love Your Brain:  Did you remember to love your brain on St. Valentine’s Day? Let Dr. Marian Dia­mond show why we better do so –and how.


Who will Benefit From Training?  New research shows that measuring brain activity patterns can predict who may benefit most from traning interventions -and who may not. Please note that the Kramer lab involved in this research is now offering a postdoctoral fellowship.

A Quick Test to Detect Athletes’ Concussions:  This new test can be per­formed at the side­line of sport­ing events to help detect con­cus­sions by look­ing at dif­fer­ent types of eye move­ments.

The Best Way to Learn: Tak­ing a test in which you recall what you have read seems to be a much better strategy than either study­ing the mate­r­ial repeat­edly or draw­ing detailed dia­grams of what you are learn­ing.


Brain Training Games for Seniors: Donal O’Brien, from Queens University at Belfast, tells us about what motivates seniors to use a brain training app.

Do Crossword Puzzles Help to Counteract the Aging Process? If so, Which Ones and How? Researcher Nick Almond compares the stimulation potential of two different types of crosswords: general knowledge and cryptic.

Vitamin D and Cognitive Decline: This study supports that patients with vit­a­min D defi­ciency show an increased risk of cog­ni­tive decline.

Baby Sleeps and Brain Development: How much sleep a 12 month old baby gets can influ­ence the devel­op­ment of his/her exec­u­tive func­tions.

PTSD: Can we Disrupt the Reconsolidation of Traumatic Memories? A discussion of the dif­fer­ent tech­niques used/ under research that can help PTSD patients.


Books and Summit Updates

Visual Illusions in Art and Science: These surprising classic illusions illustrate how art and magic can help science in undertansing how we perceive the world around us.

2011 SharpBrains Summit Agenda: You can now view the latest Agenda for the whole Summit and a 3-minute clip to learn how the SharpBrains Virtual Sum­mit: Retooling Brain Health for the 21st Century (March 30th – April 1st) will work.


Brain Teaser

Mea­sure your Men­tal Speed and Flexibility: Finally, let us challenge you to try this fun and inter­ac­tive ver­sion of the famous Stroop test.

About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters, and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm and think tank tracking health and performance applications of brain science.

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