Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Carnival of Human Resources and Leadership

Wel­come to the Sep­tem­ber 17th edi­tion of the Car­ni­val of Human Resources, the vir­tu­al gath­er­ing, every oth­er week, of blog­gers focused on Human Resources and Lead­er­ship top­ics.

Let’s imag­ine all par­tic­i­pants in a con­fer­ence room, con­duct­ing a live­ly Q&A brown-bag lunch dis­cus­sion.

Q: Can you teach Lead­er­ship in a class­room?
- Wal­ly: Not real­ly. Nei­ther the per­son who aspires to become a leader nor HR depart­ments should see lead­er­ship devel­op­ment as an activ­i­ty to be out­sourced to a class­room set­ting. Lead­er­ship is a life­long appren­tice trade, led by the learn­er himself/ her­self. The most HR depart­ments can do is to archi­tect the right set of expe­ri­ences to enable/ accel­er­ate that devel­op­ment.

Q: Can you teach Social Intel­li­gence in a class­room?
- Jon: Accord­ing to a recent Har­vard Busi­ness Review arti­cle, not real­ly. Daniel Gole­man and Richard Boy­atzis say that “our brains engage in an emo­tion­al tan­go, a dance of feel­ings”. And you learn Tan­go by, well, danc­ing Tan­go. Gole­man and Boy­atzis add that “Lead­ing effec­tive­ly is about devel­op­ing a gen­uine inter­est in and tal­ent for fos­ter­ing pos­i­tive feel­ings in the peo­ple whose coop­er­a­tion and sup­port you need.”

Q: Can you pro­vide an exam­ple of apply­ing social intel­li­gence in the work­place, and train­ing on-the-job?
- Suzanne: Sure. Learn to appre­ci­ate your front line employ­ees. They are the ones who inter­act with cus­tomers every day — which some com­pa­nies seem to ignore at their per­il.
- Denise: anoth­er oneWhat can you do when your team falls apart while you’re gone?.

Q: How can you gen­er­ate pos­i­tive feel­ings, when some­times we get stuck in bad news and con­stant quar­ter-by-quar­ter pres­sures?
- Anna: Adding much need­ed per­spec­tive. Please note: Read the rest of this entry »

Brain and Cognition Expert Contributors

As you have prob­a­bly noticed, a grow­ing num­ber of Expert Con­trib­u­tors are writ­ing in our blog, so that we can col­lec­tive­ly dis­cuss the lat­est research and trends on cog­ni­tive and brain health, and the impli­ca­tions of brain research in gen­er­al for our every­day lives. 

If you haven’t done so already, make sure to sub­scribe to our newslet­ter (above) and our RSS feed (on the right).

Below you have the pro­files of some of our Con­trib­u­tors and links to their best arti­cles with us so far. Enjoy!

Read the rest of this entry »

The Science of Thinking Smarter

John Med­i­na, Direc­tor of the Brain Cen­ter for Applied Learn­ing Research at Seat­tle Pacif­ic Uni­ver­si­ty, and author of Brain Rules: 12 Prin­ci­ples for Sur­viv­ing and Thriv­ing at Work, Home, and School, wrote a great arti­cle for us on Brain Rules: sci­ence and prac­tice, Brain Rules-John Medinabring­ing brain research to dai­ly life.

We enjoyed the book very much since it pro­vides an excel­lent and engag­ing overview of recent brain research, so we are glad to see it reach­ing new cor­ners. You may enjoy these 2 new resources:

1) A 52-minute video based on his Google talk on April 8th: click Here. Great dis­cus­sion of the brain ben­e­fits of phys­i­cal exer­cise and stress man­age­ment.

2) An inter­view at Har­vard Busi­ness Review, titled The Sci­ence of Think­ing Smarter. I enjoyed some of the exchanges, such as this one (though I find the ques­tion a bit mys­ti­fy­ing, are we assum­ing it is genes all that mat­ter for lead­er­ship?):

Ques­tion: In the absence of genet­ic test­ing, do you see any mer­it in the sort of psy­cho­log­i­cal test­ing some busi­ness­es use, such as the Myers-Brig­gs test?

Brain Rules: science and practice

Inter­est­ed a good, non-tech­ni­cal, sum­ma­ry of the impli­ca­tions of recent brain sci­ence in Brain Rules-John Medinaour dai­ly lives? Biol­o­gist John Med­i­na offers that in his arti­cle below (as part of our Author Speaks Series) and in his new book: Brain Rules: 12 Prin­ci­ples for Sur­viv­ing and Thriv­ing at Work, Home, and School. Enjoy!

(Note: John will be in the Bay Area on April 8 and 9th, speak­ing at Google and San Jose Rotary).

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Brain Rules

– By John Med­i­na

Go ahead and mul­ti­ply the num­ber 8,388,628 x 2 in your head. Can you do it in a few sec­onds? There is a young man who can dou­ble that num­ber 24 times in the space of a few sec­onds. He gets it right every time. There is a boy who can tell you the exact time of day at any moment, even in his sleep. There is a girl who can cor­rect­ly deter­mine the exact dimen­sions of an object 20 feet away. There is a child who at age 6 drew such life­like and pow­er­ful pic­tures, she got her own show at a gallery on Madi­son Avenue. Yet none of these chil­dren could be taught to tie their shoes. Indeed, none of them have an IQ greater than 50.

The brain is an amaz­ing thing.

Read the rest of this entry »

Cognitive Fitness @ Harvard Business Review

The Har­vard Busi­ness Review just pub­lished (thanks Cather­ine!) this arti­cle on cog­ni­tive fit­ness, by Rod­er­ick Gilkey and Clint Kilts. We are hap­py to see the grow­ing inter­est on how to main­tain healthy and pro­duc­tive brains, from a broad­en­ing num­ber of quar­ters. With­out hav­ing yet ful­ly read the article…it seems to pro­vide a rea­son­able intro­duc­tion to brain sci­ence, yet could have more beef regard­ing assess­ment, train­ing and rec­om­men­da­tions. In such an emerg­ing field, though, going one step at a time makes sense. What real­ly mat­ters is thet fact itself that it was pub­lished.

The HBR Descrip­tion of the arti­cle:

Recent neu­ro­sci­en­tif­ic research shows that the health of your brain isn’t, as experts once thought, just the prod­uct of child­hood expe­ri­ences and genet­ics; it reflects your adult choic­es and expe­ri­ences as well. Pro­fes­sors Gilkey and Kilts of Emory University’s med­ical and busi­ness schools explain how you can strength­en your brain’s anato­my, neur­al net­works, and cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties, and pre­vent func­tions such as mem­o­ry from dete­ri­o­rat­ing as you age. The brain’s alert­ness is the result of what the authors call cog­ni­tive fitness–a state of opti­mized abil­i­ty to rea­son, remem­ber, learn, plan, and adapt. Cer­tain atti­tudes, lifestyle choic­es, and exer­cis­es enhance cog­ni­tive fit­ness. Men­tal work­outs are the key. Brain-imag­ing stud­ies indi­cate that acquir­ing exper­tise in areas as diverse as play­ing a cel­lo, jug­gling, speak­ing a for­eign lan­guage, and dri­ving a taxi­cab expands your neur­al sys­tems and makes them more com­mu­nica­tive. In oth­er words, you can alter the phys­i­cal make­up of your brain by learn­ing new skills. The more cog­ni­tive­ly fit you are, the bet­ter equipped you are to make deci­sions, solve prob­lems, and deal with stress and change. 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 and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking health and performance applications of brain science.

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