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Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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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 »

Can mental training in compassion lead to altruistic behavior and better health?

The first time I ever tried a lov­ing-kind­ness med­i­ta­tion, I was over­come by a feel­ing of com­plete… futil­i­ty. Men­tal­ly extend­ing com­pas­sion to oth­ers and wish­ing them free from suf­fer­ing seemed nice enough, but I had a hard time believ­ing that my idle thoughts could increase kind­ness in the real world.

Turns out I was wrong. Read the rest of this entry »

Playing the Blame Game: Video Games Pros and Cons

Play­ing the Blame Game
– Video games stand accused of caus­ing obe­si­ty, vio­lence, and lousy grades. But new research paints a sur­pris­ing­ly com­pli­cat­ed and pos­i­tive pic­ture, reports Greater Good Mag­a­zine’s Jere­my Adam Smith.

Cheryl Olson had seen her teenage son play video games. But like many par­ents, she did­n’t know much about them.

Then in 2004 the U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice asked Olson and her hus­band, Lawrence Kut­ner, to run a fed­er­al­ly fund­ed study of how video games affect ado­les­cents.

Olson and Kut­ner are the co-founders and direc­tors of the Har­vard Med­ical School’s Cen­ter for Men­tal Health and Media. Olson, a pub­lic health researcher, had stud­ied the effects of media on behav­ior but had nev­er exam­ined video games, either in her research or in her per­son­al life.

And so the first thing she did was watch over the shoul­der of her son, Michael, as he played his video games. Then, two years into her research—which com­bined sur­veys and focus groups of junior high school students—Michael urged her to pick up a joy­stick. “I def­i­nite­ly felt they should be famil­iar with the games if they were doing the research,” says Michael, who was 16 at the time and is now 18.

Olson start­ed with the PC game Read the rest of this entry »

When Empathy moves us to Action-By Daniel Goleman

Daniel Gole­man requires no intro­duc­tion. Per­son­al­ly, of all his books I have read, the one I found most stim­u­lat­ing was Destruc­tive Emo­tions: A Sci­en­tif­ic Dia­logue With the Dalai Lama, a superb overview of what emo­tions are and how we can put them to good use. He is now con­duct­ing a great series of audio inter­views includ­ing one with George Lucas on Edu­cat­ing Hearts and Minds: Rethink­ing Edu­ca­tion.

We are hon­ored to bring you a guest post by Daniel Gole­man, thanks to our col­lab­o­ra­tion with Greater Good Mag­a­zine, a UC-Berke­ley-based quar­ter­ly mag­a­zine that high­lights ground break­ing sci­en­tif­ic research into the roots of com­pas­sion and altru­ism. Enjoy!

- Alvaro

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Hot To Help: When can empa­thy move us to action?

By Daniel Gole­man

We often empha­size the impor­tance of keep­ing cool in a cri­sis. But some­times cool­ness can give way to detach­ment and apa­thy.

Read the rest of this entry »

Peace Among Primates (Part 3)

A few days ago we pub­lished the first and sec­ond install­ments of this Peace Among Pri­mates series, by neu­ro­sci­en­tist Robert Sapol­sky. Today we pub­lish the third and final one.

Peace Among Pri­mates (Part 3)

Any­one who says peace is not part of human nature knows too lit­tle about pri­mates, includ­ing our­selves.

–By Robert M. Sapol­sky

Nat­ur­al born killers?

Read the rest of this entry »

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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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