Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Upcoming: Virtual book tour to explore the frontier of Emotional Intelligence and Technology

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Dear Sharp­Brains com­mu­ni­ty,

I hope you’re stay­ing healthy and safe. As you may know, my mem­oir, Girl Decod­ed, pub­lished by Pen­guin Ran­dom House, comes out on April 21st. I’d planned numer­ous events across the U.S. and abroad to share my sto­ry with all of you. But, in light of the glob­al health cri­sis sur­round­ing COVID-19, every­thing is right­ful­ly can­celed.

In this time when we need to social­ly dis­tance, I know I’m crav­ing human con­nec­tion more than ever. I still want to con­nect with you all on the themes dis­cussed in my book. Read the rest of this entry »

Coming soon near you: Smartphones, fridges and cars with emotional intelligence

Illus­tra­tion: Affec­ti­va

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Wouldn’t You Like Alexa Bet­ter if It Knew When It Was Annoy­ing You? (IEEE Spec­trum):

What could your com­put­er, phone, or oth­er gad­get do dif­fer­ent­ly if it knew how you were feel­ing?

Rana el Kaliou­by, founder and CEO of Affec­ti­va, is con­sid­er­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ties of such a world Read the rest of this entry »

Brain training via mindfulness, cognitive training, and/ or tDCS

brains-mindsSev­er­al recent media arti­cles high­light the grow­ing inter­est in a vari­ety of approach­es to enhance the brain and the mind. The obvi­ous emerg­ing ques­tion, which we address at The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness giv­en that “one size does­n’t fit all” is, what works best for whom and for what?

Mind­ful­ness: Get­ting Its Share of Atten­tion (The New York Times):

The Marine Corps is test­ing Mind Fit­ness Train­ing to help sol­diers relax and boost “emo­tion­al intel­li­gence,” the buzz­words of the hour. Read the rest of this entry »

Lie to Me, Paul Ekman and Biofeedback

You may have watched the new series Lie To Me, with Tim Roth, based on the work of Paul Ekman.

The sec­ond episode, which you can watch for free via Hulu.com Here, is pret­ty inter­est­ing, but the best part hap­pens in the begin­ning, so you only need to watch a few min­utes to learn why what are called “lie detec­tors” are noth­ing but biofeed­back sys­tems that mea­sure phys­i­o­log­i­cal anx­i­ety.

Biofeed­back can be a very effec­tive train­ing tool for emo­tion­al self-reg­u­la­tion and stress man­age­ment, pre­cise­ly because it enables a faster feed­back-based learn­ing loop. Indeed, we are see­ing a grow­ing num­ber of appli­ca­tions in the mar­ket, with names such as EmWave, StressEras­er, RES­PeR­ATE, Jour­ney to the Wild Divine, and oth­ers.

Sim­ply, don’t believe the tech­nol­o­gy is an effec­tive lie detec­tor.

Car­o­line and I wrote an arti­cle on Paul Ekman’s work a cou­ple of years ago — let me repub­lish it now, giv­en his work has made it all the way to main­stream TV!

braintop Paul Ekman has con­duct­ed exten­sive research on iden­ti­fy­ing emo­tions through facial expres­sions. As part of that research, and as part of the pow­er of dis­ci­pline and train­ing, he learned how to con­scious­ly manip­u­late 42 facial mus­cles, includ­ing many that in most of us are beyond our con­trol, and even aware­ness.

In the 60s and 70s when Ekman began look­ing into the uni­ver­sal­i­ty of facial expres­sions, all the major con­tem­po­rary social sci­en­tists, like Mar­garet Mead, believed that expres­sions were cul­tur­al­ly learned, not innate. He trav­eled all over the world with pic­tures of peo­ple mak­ing dis­tinct facial expres­sions and found peo­ple in cul­tures every­where, from mod­ern to stone age, agreed on the emo­tion behind the expres­sion. He then turned to Read the rest of this entry »

Update: Learning about Learning/ more on Brain Age

Here you have the Jan­u­ary edi­tion of our month­ly newslet­ter cov­er­ing cog­ni­tive Brain Fitnesshealth and brain fit­ness top­ics. Please remem­ber that you can sub­scribe to receive this Newslet­ter by email, sim­ply by sub­mit­ting your email at the top of this page.

Bird’s Eye View

Brain fit­ness heads towards its tip­ping point: How do you know when some­thing is mov­ing towards a Glad­wellian tip­ping point? When health insur­ance com­pa­nies and pub­lic pol­i­cy mak­ers launch sig­nif­i­cant ini­tia­tives. Dr. Ger­ard Finnemore pro­vides a mar­ket overview, based on Sharp­Brains’ client webi­nar held last Decem­ber.

Ten Reflec­tions on Cog­ni­tive Health and Assess­ments: Here are 10 high­lights from sev­er­al stim­u­lat­ing Jan­u­ary events:  Sym­po­sium on Adap­tive Tech­nol­o­gy for the Aging (by Ari­zona State Uni­ver­si­ty), Health Blog­gers’ Sum­mit (by Con­sumer Reports), Trau­mat­ic Brain Injury (by Vet­er­an Affairs in Palo Alto), and a new Alzheimer’s/ Demen­tia Expert Pan­el orga­nized by the city of San Fran­cis­co.

News and Events

Nin­ten­do Brain Age vs. Cross­word Puz­zles: we need much pub­lic edu­ca­tion in order to help con­sumers sep­a­rate real­i­ty from hope from hype. Nin­ten­do is not help­ing, nei­ther is media report­ing.

Col­lec­tion of recent news: includ­ing train­ing for senior fit­ness train­ers, reports on the impor­tance of pur­pose,  on old­er dri­ver safe­ty, and more.

Upcom­ing events: I will be speak­ing soon at the New York Acad­e­my of Med­i­cine, the Amer­i­can Soci­ety on Aging/ NCOA con­fer­ence, and the Sil­ver­ing Work­force Sum­mit at the Uni­ver­si­ty of North Car­oli­na. Let me know if you are attend­ing any.

Edu­ca­tion and Learn­ing

Learn­ing about Learn­ing: an Inter­view with Joshua Wait­zkin: Scott Bar­ry Kauf­man inter­views “child prodi­gy” Joshua Wait­zkin on The Art of Learn­ing. Many fas­ci­nat­ing insights, includ­ing “I think los­ing my first Nation­al Chess Cham­pi­onship was the great­est thing that ever hap­pened to me, because it helped me avoid many of the psy­cho­log­i­cal traps…(associated with being called a “child prodi­gy”)”.

Resources to help stu­dents build emo­tion­al intel­li­gence: Daniel Gole­man intro­duces edu­ca­tors and par­ents to a new book that “adds an impor­tant tool to the emo­tion­al intel­li­gence kit: mind­ful­ness, a moment-by-moment aware­ness of one’s inter­nal state and exter­nal envi­ron­ment.”

Resources

Top 10 Cog­ni­tive Health and Brain Fit­ness Books: Here you have The 10 Most Pop­u­lar Brain Fit­ness & Cog­ni­tive Health Books, based on book pur­chas­es by Sharp­Brains’ read­ers dur­ing 2008.

10-Ques­tion Pro­gram Eval­u­a­tion Check­list: To help con­sumers and pro­fes­sion­als nav­i­gate through the grow­ing num­ber of pro­grams mak­ing “brain fit­ness” or “brain train­ing” claims, we pub­lished last year this Eval­u­a­tion Check­list. Now we are mak­ing the Check­list avail­able as a Book­mark giv­en recent requests by uni­ver­si­ties and con­fer­ence orga­niz­ers.

Brain Teas­er

Brain Teas­er to Exer­cise your Mem­o­ry and Rea­son­ing Skills: Dr. Pas­cale Mich­e­lon offers a stim­u­lat­ing teas­er that not only helps exer­cise our brain but also edu­cates us on how and why the same activ­i­ty may exer­cise dif­fer­ent brains dif­fer­ent­ly — depend­ing on where we are from.

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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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