Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Trend: Measuring physiological responses–including brain activity–to design stimulating, “conscious” cities

Stan­ley Park, Van­cou­ver. Cred­it: Alamy Stock Pho­to.


The hid­den ways that archi­tec­ture affects how you feel: An era of “neu­ro-archi­tec­ture” (BBC Future)

We shape our build­ings and after­wards our build­ings shape us,” mused Win­ston Churchill in 1943 while con­sid­er­ing the repair of the bomb-rav­aged House of Com­mons. More than 70 years on, he would doubt­less be pleased to learn that neu­ro­sci­en­tists and psy­chol­o­gists have found plen­ty of evi­dence to back him up…

Last month, the Con­scious Cities Con­fer­ence in Lon­don con­sid­ered how cog­ni­tive sci­en­tists might make their dis­cov­er­ies more acces­si­ble to archi­tects. The con­fer­ence brought togeth­er archi­tects, design­ers, engi­neers, neu­ro­sci­en­tists and psy­chol­o­gists, all of whom increas­ing­ly cross paths at an aca­d­e­m­ic lev­el, but still rarely in prac­tice…

Today, thanks to psy­cho­log­i­cal stud­ies, we have a much bet­ter idea of the kind of urban envi­ron­ments that peo­ple like or find stim­u­lat­ing. Some of these stud­ies have attempt­ed to mea­sure sub­jects’ phys­i­o­log­i­cal respons­es in situ, using wear­able devices such as bracelets that mon­i­tor skin con­duc­tance (a mark­er of phys­i­o­log­i­cal arousal), smart­phone apps that ask sub­jects about their emo­tion­al state, and elec­troen­cephalo­gram (EEG) head­sets that mea­sure brain activ­i­ty relat­ing to men­tal states and mood.

One of Ellard’s most con­sis­tent find­ings is that peo­ple are strong­ly affect­ed by build­ing façades. If the façade is com­plex and inter­est­ing, it affects peo­ple in a pos­i­tive way; neg­a­tive­ly if it is sim­ple and monotonous…Another oft-repli­cat­ed find­ing is that hav­ing access to green space such as wood­land or a park can off­set some of the stress of city liv­ing.”

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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