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Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Study finds the limits of putting oneself in another’s shoes (instead, ask and listen)

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I still remem­ber the time I tried to com­fort one of my best friends when her father died. Because I’d lost my own par­ents years before, I thought I under­stood her pain. But, when I offered sym­pa­thy, she balked. Her father’s death had been tran­scen­dent, filled with love and fam­i­ly con­nec­tion. She didn’t feel pain; she felt at peace. Read the rest of this entry »

Six tips for social-emotional learning (SEL) to transfer into real-world skills

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Social-emo­tion­al learn­ing (SEL) teach­es the key atti­tudes and skills nec­es­sary for under­stand­ing and man­ag­ing emo­tions, lis­ten­ing, feel­ing and show­ing empa­thy for oth­ers, and mak­ing thought­ful, respon­si­ble deci­sions. For five years, I was an edu­ca­tor in the field teach­ing mind­ful­ness and emo­tion­al skills to teenagers at six dif­fer­ent high schools.

Over and over, I saw the pow­er of mind­ful­ness to trans­form the inner lives of stu­dents. Stu­dents became less stressed, more self-reg­u­lat­ed, and more thought­ful toward their class­mates. But I also saw that Read the rest of this entry »

The neuroscience of positive, vision-based coaching

Good coach­es get results, respect, and awards. But what makes a coach or men­tor good?

One school of thought says they should hold their mentees to spe­cif­ic per­for­mance bench­marks and help them reach those bench­marks by tar­get­ing their per­son­al weak­ness­es.

But new research sug­gests a dif­fer­ent tack—namely, to nur­ture a mentee’s strengths, aspi­ra­tions for the future, and goals for per­son­al growth. Indeed, Read the rest of this entry »

Neuroscientists: Develop digital games to improve brain function and well-being

interactivemediaAuthors: Devel­op dig­i­tal games to improve brain func­tion and well-being (UW-Madi­son News):

Neu­ro­sci­en­tists should help to devel­op com­pelling dig­i­tal games that boost brain func­tion and improve well-being, say two pro­fes­sors spe­cial­iz­ing in the field in a com­men­tary arti­cle pub­lished in the sci­ence jour­nal Nature. In the Feb. 28 issue, the two — Daphne Bave­li­er of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Rochester and Richard J. David­son of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wis­con­sin-Madi­son — urge game design­ers and brain sci­en­tists to work togeth­er to design new games that train the brain, pro­duc­ing pos­i­tive effects on behav­ior, such as decreas­ing anx­i­ety, sharp­en­ing atten­tion and improv­ing empa­thy.”

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What to Do and Not to Do to Boost Self-Control

More and more research sug­gests that our brains have dif­fi­cul­ty dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing between observ­ing an action and actu­al­ly par­tic­i­pat­ing in it. Empa­thy, for exam­ple, seems to hinge in part on our abil­i­ty to “take on” another’s emo­tions through vic­ar­i­ous expe­ri­ence. I always think of this when watch­ing a come­di­an fall flat. I can feel the embar­rass­ment as if I’m stand­ing there on stage look­ing at a room full of blank stares.

A study in the jour­nal Psy­cho­log­i­cal Sci­ence inves­ti­gat­ed this dynam­ic, but from a dif­fer­ent angle: researchers want­ed to know if observ­ing some­one else exert self-con­trol boosts or reduces one’s own self-con­trol. Read the rest of this entry »

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