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Is the Internet making us dumber? (Nope, just different)

Is the Inter­net Real­ly Mak­ing Us Dumb­er? (Der Spiegel):

In Ger­many, scores increase by about 3 IQ points each decade. In fact, the tests have to be adjust­ed every few years to keep up. The test cur­rent­ly used for chil­dren is called the WISC-IV. A per­son claim­ing to have an IQ of 130 needs to spec­i­fy which test gen­er­at­ed that result: WISC-III? WISC-IV? The aston­ish­ing upward trend Read the rest of this entry »

Encephalon #61: Brain & Mind Reading for the Holidays

Wel­come to the 61st edi­tion Encephalon brain blog carnivalof Encephalon, the blog car­ni­val that offers some of the best neu­ro­science and psy­chol­o­gy blog posts every oth­er week.

We do have an excel­lent set of arti­cles today. cov­er­ing much ground. Enjoy the read­ing:

Neu­ro­science and Soci­ety

Neu­roan­thro­pol­o­gy,
by Greg Downey
The Fly­nn Effect: Trou­bles with Intel­li­gence
Aver­age IQ test scores had risen about 3 points per decade and in some cas­es more. Tests of vocab­u­lary, arith­metic, or gen­er­al knowl­edge (such as the sorts of facts one learns in school) have showed lit­tle increase, but scores have increased marked­ly on tests thought to mea­sure gen­er­al intel­li­gence.
Mind­Hacks,
by Vaugh­an Bell
Med­ical jar­gon alters our under­stand­ing of dis­ease
Under­stand­ing how pop­u­lar ideas influ­ence our per­son­al med­ical beliefs is an essen­tial part of under­stand­ing med­i­cine itself.
Cog­ni­tive Dai­ly,
by Dave Munger
Is it sex­ist to think men are angri­er than women?
Are we more like­ly to per­ceive a male face as angry and a female face as hap­py? A recent study sheds light on the issue.
Neu­r­o­crit­ic Crime, Pun­ish­ment, and Jer­ry Springer
Judges and jurors must put aside their emo­tion­al­ly-dri­ven desire for revenge when com­ing to an impar­tial ver­dict. Does neu­roimag­ing (fMRI) add any­thing to our under­stand­ing of jus­tice?

Alzheimer’s Dis­ease and Neu­rocog­ni­tive Health Read the rest of this entry »

Brain and Mind News and Articles

BrainHere you have a col­lec­tion of recent news cov­er­age on brain heath, fit­ness and train­ing top­ics:

1- Great Mem­o­ry Spe­cial in Nation­al Geo­graph­ic, includ­ing

- Inter­ac­tive 3D map of the brain

- Mem­o­ry Game

2- Fas­ci­nat­ing What the Bea­t­les Gave Sci­ence, by Sharon Beg­ley at Newsweek

- “Even in novices, med­i­ta­tion leaves its mark. An eight-week course in com­pas­sion med­i­ta­tion, in which vol­un­teers focus on the wish that all beings be free from suf­fer­ing, shift­ed brain activ­i­ty from the right pre­frontal cor­tex to the left, a pat­tern asso­ci­at­ed with a greater sense of well-being.”

3- One of the best edi­tions of Sci­en­tif­ic Amer­i­can Mind

- Solv­ing the IQ Puz­zle “The 20th cen­tu­ry saw the Fly­nn effect: mas­sive gains in IQ from one gen­er­a­tion to anoth­er. Now Fly­nn explains why”

- Anx­i­ety and Alzheimer- A life­time of stress could lead to mem­o­ry prob­lems and dis­ease: “Over a peri­od of up to 12 years, vol­un­teers who were anx­i­ety-prone had a 40 per­cent high­er risk of devel­op­ing mild cog­ni­tive impair­ment than more easy­go­ing indi­vid­u­als did. Mild cog­ni­tive impair­ment is thought to be a pre­cur­sor for Alzheimer’s.”

4- Exer­cise builds strong brains, too — USATODAY.com

- “Phillip Tom­porows­ki, a study co-author and exer­cise psy­chol­o­gist at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Geor­gia in Athens, says exer­cise “may well improve the under­ly­ing men­tal process­es that are involved in a lot of behav­iors and aca­d­e­m­ic tasks.”

5- Dai­ly com­put­er game boosts maths- BBC, report­ing pre­lim­i­nary results from a small pilot

- “Play­ing a dai­ly com­put­er game has helped a class of pri­ma­ry school chil­dren improve their maths and con­cen­tra­tion, a study says.”

6- ADHD and Brain Devel­op­ment- Wash­ing­ton Post

- “Devel­op­ing more slow­ly in ADHD young­sters — the lag can be as much as three years — are brain regions that sup­press inap­pro­pri­ate actions and thoughts, focus atten­tion, remem­ber things from moment to moment, work for reward, and con­trol move­ment.”

Good habits, and other memes

Meme: “The term “meme” (rhyming with “theme”), coined in 1976 by the biol­o­gist Richard Dawkins, refers to a “unit of cul­tur­al infor­ma­tion” which can prop­a­gate from one mind to anoth­er in a man­ner anal­o­gous to genes.

If you haven’t read Dawkins’ clas­sic book The Self­ish Gene…it is nev­er too late to enjoy it!

There are some “memes” float­ing now around blog­gers and I have been “tagged” (includ­ed) by 2 of them. So here you have:

1) On good dai­ly habits: this is the orig­i­nal post, and here are Hueina’s My Sim­ply Suc­cess­ful Secrets.

My “Sim­ply Sucess­ful Secrets” habits that I fol­low close to every day, in more or less that sequence:

Everyone a Changemaker”, Ashoka and Google

What an event yes­ter­day night. My wife and I were for­tu­nate to vis­it the Google Cam­pus and attend the Sixth Annu­al North Amer­i­can Fel­low­ship Induc­tion Pro­gram of Ashoka: Inno­va­tors for the Pub­lic, a social ven­ture fund where we have been involved for a num­ber of years, and thanks to which (thanks Michele!) my wife and I met in the first place.

18 new Ashoka Fellows/ social entre­pre­neurs were elect­ed, and after a fun cock­tail recep­tion the cer­e­mo­ny began. Sergei Brin (Google Co-founder), Sheryl Sand­berg (who helped launch Google Foun­da­tion and google.org), Salar Kaman­gar (the mind behind AdWords) gave intro­duc­to­ry remarks. Salar explained how he first heard of Ashoka (through the book How to Change the World, by David Born­stein) and how he saw tremen­dous sim­i­lar­i­ties between Ashoka and Google: both Read the rest of this entry »

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