Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Research series: How, when and why does targeted cognitive training work to promote behavioral and emotional health?

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Explor­ing Tar­get­ed Cog­ni­tive Train­ing for Clin­i­cal Dis­or­ders (Asso­ci­a­tion for Psy­cho­log­i­cal Sci­ence):

Research on the treat­ment of men­tal dis­or­ders often cen­ters on under­stand­ing which treat­ments work. But know­ing that a treat­ment is effec­tive doesn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly tell us why the treat­ment works. A bet­ter under­stand­ing of the pre­cise mech­a­nisms that Read the rest of this entry »

News: The SharpBrains Guide, Bestseller in Amazon Kindle Store

We just noticed that The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness: 18 Inter­views with Sci­en­tists, Prac­ti­cal Advice, and Prod­uct Reviews, to Keep Your Brain Sharp has become #1 book in Ama­zon Kin­dle store’s Pre­ven­tive Med­i­cine sec­tion, #1 in Neu­ropsy­chol­o­gy sec­tion, and #2 in Cog­ni­tive Psy­chol­o­gy sec­tion.

To learn more and order book in sev­er­al stores (Ama­zon, Barnes & Noble, Smash­words) & coun­tries (USA, Cana­da, UK, Ger­many, France, Spain, Italy), please click Here.

Average is Beautiful: A test of Attractiveness

Think we all have dif­fer­ent tastes where beau­ty is con­cerned? Well, cog­ni­tive psy­chol­ogy shows us that an aver­age face (made from sev­eral oth­er faces) is almost always judged as more attrac­tive than its con­stituent faces… Why? It may be for the sim­ple rea­son that an aver­age face is clos­er to the men­tal idea we have of a pro­to­typ­i­cal face and thus eas­ier for the brain to process.

Want to expe­ri­ence it? Fol­low this link to the the Face Research Lab and cre­ate your own aver­age faces. Enjoy.

Hap­py stim­u­lat­ing New Year to you!

References on Cognitive Health/ Brain Fitness

This is a par­tial list of the lit­er­a­ture we reviewed dur­ing the research phase of our new book, The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness.  We know many friends of Sharp­Brains are researchers, health­care pro­fes­sion­als, graduate/ Ph.D. stu­dents, who want have direct access to the ref­er­ences (per­haps PubMed should pro­mote itself as a nev­er end­ing source of men­tal stim­u­la­tion?), so here you have this list, orga­nized by rel­e­vant chap­ter. Please note that the list below appears in the book — whose man­u­script we had to close in Jan­u­ary 2009.

Intro­duc­tion

Basak, C. et al. (2008). Can train­ing in a real-time strat­e­gy video game atten­u­ate cog­ni­tive decline in old­er adults? Psy­chol­o­gy and Aging.
Beg­ley, S. (2007). Train your mind, change your brain: How a new sci­ence reveals our extra­or­di­nary poten­tial to trans­form our­selves. Bal­lan­tine Books.
DeKosky, S. T., et al. (2008). Gink­go bilo­ba for pre­ven­tion of demen­tia: a ran­dom­ized con­trolled tri­al. Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Med­ical Asso­ci­a­tion, 300, 2253–2262.
Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain that changes itself: Sto­ries of per­son­al tri­umph from the fron­tiers of brain sci­ence. Viking Adult.

Chap­ter 1. The Brain and Brain Fit­ness 101

Bunge, S. A., & Wright, S. B. (2007). Neu­rode­vel­op­men­tal changes in work­ing mem­o­ry and cog­ni­tive con­trol. Cur­rent Opin­ion In Neu­ro­bi­ol­o­gy, 17(2), 243–50.
Dama­sio, A. (1995). Descartes error: Emo­tion, rea­son, and the human brain. Pen­guin Press.
David Kolb, D. (1983). Expe­ri­en­tial learn­ing: Expe­ri­ence as the source of learn­ing and devel­op­ment. FT Press.
Dra­gan­s­ki, B., Gas­er, C., Kem­per­mann, G., Kuhn, H. G., Win­kler, J., Buchel, C., & May A. (2006). Tem­po­ral and spa­tial dynam­ics of brain struc­ture changes dur­ing exten­sive learn­ing. The Jour­nal of Neu­ro­science, 261231, 6314–6317.
Gage, F. H., Kem­per­mann, G., & Song, H. (2007). Adult Neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis. Cold Spring Har­bor Lab­o­ra­to­ry Press, NY.
Gard­ner, H. (1983). Frames of Mind: The the­o­ry of mul­ti­ple intel­li­gences. New York: Basic Books.
Gas­er, C. & Schlaug, G. (2003). Brain struc­tures dif­fer between musi­cians and non-musi­cians. The Jour­nal of Neu­ro­science, 23, 9240–9245. Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Teaser to Stimulate your Concentration Skills

Learn­ing can be inci­den­tal. We all mem­o­rize facts with­out pay­ing much atten­tion to these facts or with­out will­ing to mem­o­rize them. How­ev­er, when one real­ly wants to mem­o­rize a fact, it is cru­cial to pay atten­tion. Many stud­ies have shown that com­pared to full atten­tion con­di­tions, divid­ing atten­tion dur­ing study time leads to poor mem­o­ry per­for­mance.

This exer­cise will help you prac­tice focus­ing your atten­tion.

It may seem easy but make sure you count twice!

Count the num­ber of “Y” in this text:

Yes­ter­day, Lucy went all the way to Boston. She want­ed to buy new shoes. She had to go in many shops before she found the shoes she want­ed. She was hap­py to stop at a restau­rant to have some tea and cook­ies before she took the train back home.

Count the num­ber of “F” in this text:

Fin­ished files are the result of years of sci­en­tif­ic study com­bined with the expe­ri­ence of years.

Count the num­ber of “E” in this text:

Last sum­mer, Jean and Har­ri­et spent their vaca­tion in Michi­gan. They rent­ed a cab­in on the lake. The cab­in had two bed­rooms and a nice deck. They used to spend a lot of time on the deck, just look­ing at how the light would change on the water. Sev­er­al times, they bor­rowed bikes from their neigh­bors and spent a few hours explor­ing the vil­lages not far from their cab­in.


Solu­tions

There are 7 “Y” in the first text.

There are 6 “F” in the sec­ond text (got them?)

There are 38 “E” in the third text.

For many oth­er Brain Teasers, click Here.
For many oth­er teasers and arti­cles by Dr. Mich­e­lon, click Here.

Pascale MichelonPas­cale Mich­e­lon, Ph. D., is Sharp­Brains’ Research Man­ag­er for Edu­ca­tion­al Projects. Dr. Mich­e­lon has a Ph.D. in Cog­ni­tive Psy­chol­o­gy and has worked as a Research Sci­en­tist at Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty in Saint Louis, in the Psy­chol­o­gy Depart­ment. She con­duct­ed sev­er­al research projects to under­stand how the brain makes use of visu­al infor­ma­tion and mem­o­rizes facts. She is now an Adjunct Fac­ul­ty at Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty.

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