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Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Is your brain ready for Monday? Tease your mind with these four optical illusions

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A great way to learn more about our brains and minds is to look at how we can trick them–that is, to see how we react to brain teasers and visu­al illu­sions.

Below are four fun opti­cal illu­sions that let us learn­ about our visu­al system…ready?

(answers and expla­na­tions at the bot­tom)

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Test your Brain and Mind with these 9 Classic Optical Illusions

Are the two orange cir­cles of the same size? 

One way to learn more about our brains and minds is to look at how we can trick them–that is, to see how we react to brain teasers and visu­al illu­sions.

Quick facts: The brain has two hemi­spheres, each divid­ed into four lobes. Each lobe is (large­ly) respon­si­ble for dif­fer­ent func­tions. For instance the frontal cor­tex (in yel­low) is respon­si­ble for deci­sion mak­ing and plan­ning; the tem­po­ral lobe (in pur­ple) for lan­guage and mem­o­ry; the pari­etal lobe (in green) for spa­tial skills, and the occip­i­tal lobe (in red) is entire­ly devot­ed to vision: It is thus the place where visu­al illu­sions hap­pen..

Below are 9 opti­cal illu­sions that com­bine fun and learn­ing about our visu­al sys­tem. We know you know there is a trick since these are illu­sions… but don’t try to be smarter than your brain; enjoy being sur­prised!

(You’ll find answers and expla­na­tions at the end of the arti­cle)

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Brain Teaser: Boost your visuospatial skills

Boost your visu­ospa­tial skills and learn about your brain
– By Dr. Pas­cale Mich­e­lon

Visu­ospa­tial skills are used every­day in many ways, rang­ing from going from one room to anoth­er in your house to solv­ing a jig­saw puz­zle and nav­i­gat­ing in a new city. Temporal lobe Frontal Lobe

One spe­cif­ic visu­ospa­tial skill has to do with mov­ing spa­tial infor­ma­tion around in your head. It is called men­tal rota­tion.

Let’s take an exam­ple. Can you pic­ture in your head an arrow point­ing to the right? Now, turn this arrow so it points to the left. Done?

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The new Mental Game: sport psychology, coaches, get ready!

One of the many Sharp Brains around, who is up to date of every­thing relat­ed to brain health and fit­ness (yes, Jeanne, that’s you! thanks for being such a great bureau chief!) has sent us a very inter­est­ing press note on how brain fit­ness and train­ing can be applied in the sports per­for­mance world. I haven’t been able to track down the research behind the spe­cif­ic pro­grams men­tioned in the arti­cle, but the the­o­ret­i­cal ratio­nale makes sense based on sim­i­lar pro­grams we are famil­iar with: you can see below a sum­ma­ry of our inter­view with Prof. Daniel Gopher, sci­en­tif­ic mind behind com­put­er-based cog­ni­tive sim­u­la­tions for mil­i­tary pilots and for bas­ket­ball play­ers.

The note Sports Vision Train­ing Takes Ath­letes to New Fron­tiers explains how

  • Spe­cial­ty sports vision facil­i­ties are help­ing ath­letes train skills that many believed were “untrain­able”; skills like antic­i­pa­tion, field vision, tim­ing, sport intel­li­gence, game tem­po, reac­tion speed, focus and con­cen­tra­tion.”
  • What has every­one all worked up is the knowl­edge that they can actu­al­ly train ath­let­ic skills that many believed were “untrain­able.” We’re talk­ing about intan­gi­bles like antic­i­pa­tion, field vision, tim­ing, sport intel­li­gence, game tem­po, reac­tion speed, focus and con­cen­tra­tion. “One of the worst mis­takes an ath­lete can make is to believe that you’re either born with or with­out these kinds of skills, and that they’re con­se­quent­ly not train­able, says Bri­an Stam­mer, edi­tor of SportsVi­sion Mag­a­zine. “If you want to be the best ath­lete you can be, you must do exer­cis­es to con­di­tion and sharp­en your sen­so­ry sys­tem, includ­ing visu­al, audi­to­ry and brain-pro­cess­ing speed.
  • This is the link to the mag­a­zine they men­tion: SportsVi­sion Mag­a­zine

And here is the sum­ma­ry of my (AF) inter­view with Prof. Daniel Gopher (DG) on Cog­ni­tive Sim­u­la­tions and cog­ni­tive train­ing:

  • AF: …Can you sum­ma­rize your research find­ings across all these exam­ples and fields, and how you see the field evolv­ing?
  • DG: In short, I’d sum­ma­rize by say­ing that
  • - Cog­ni­tive per­for­mance can be sub­stan­tial­ly improved with prop­er train­ing. Read the rest of this entry »

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