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Clay Leben

Welcome | BrainU - 17 views

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    Lesson plans and student activities to study neuroscience.
nick gibson

Jonah Lehrer on Memory, Witnesses and Crime | Head Case - WSJ.com - 8 views

Gerald Carey

Brainbow | Center for Brain Science - 16 views

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    Beautiful, multi-coloured images of neurones in mice brains.
David McGavock

Mindfulness-the unconventional research of psychologist Ellen Langer | Harvard Magazine... - 13 views

  • Langer had already shown that memory loss—a problem often blamed on aging—could be reversed by giving elderly people more reasons to remember facts; when success was rewarded with small gifts, or when researchers made efforts to create personal relationships with their subjects, elderly memory performance improved.
  • she and Yale colleague Judith Rodin found that simply giving nursing-home residents plants to take care of, as well as control over certain decisions—where they would meet guests, what activities to do—not only improved their subjects’ psychological and physical health, but also their longevity: a year and a half later, fewer of those residents had died.
  • What she found, however, surprised even her own team of researchers.
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  • Both groups were stronger and more flexible. Height, weight, gait, posture, hearing, vision—even their performance on intelligence tests had improved. Their joints were more flexible, their shoulders wider, their fingers not only more agile, but longer and less gnarled by arthritis. But the men who had acted as if they were actually back in 1959 showed significantly more improvement. Those who had impersonated younger men seemed to have bodies that actually were younger.
  • The physiological results provided evidence for a simple but invaluable fact: the aging process is indeed less fixed than most people think.
  • “Wherever you put the mind, the body will follow,”
  • Most often, she’s asked to lecture on that eponymous subject, an idea she has been refining since the late 1970s. “Mindfulness” might evoke the teachings of Buddhism, or meditative states, and indeed, the name and some of these concepts do overlap. But Langer’s version is strictly nonmeditative (“The people I know won’t sit still for five minutes, let alone 40,” she quips). Hers is a simple prescription to keep your mind open to possibility.
  • Mindfulness, she tells the medical school audience, is the process of actively noticing new things, relinquishing preconceived mindsets, and then acting on the new observations.
  • Mindlessness blinds us to new possibilities, says Langer, and that is what drove her to study its flip side. Often, researchers in psychology describe what is, she explains. “But knowing what is and what can be are not the same things.”
  • “If I can make one dog yodel, then we can say that yodeling is possible in dogs,” she is fond of saying, and she applies that reasoning to what she now calls her “counterclockwise” study.
  • “[The results at the monastery] do not show us that everyone who talks about the past will show the same results,” she writes in her latest book, Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility (2009). “[They do] tell us, however, that it is possible to achieve these kinds of improvements, but only if we try.”
  • Her dissertation on perceived control examined the factors that make people believe they will succeed in games of chance. She set up a lottery and found that people who chose their own numbers considered them more valuable (in one measure, she says, if someone else took “their” numbers, people tried to buy them back).
  • “People don’t always realize her influence, but her lottery-ticket study made its way into thinking on many important economic concepts,” says Dan Ariely, a professor of behavioral economics at Duke.
  • “People in the field were concerned with the different ways people think,” says Langer, “and I questioned whether, and on which occasions, we might not be thinking at all.” Langer’s dissertation and her subsequent work, says Salovey, turned that concept on its head: instead of cognition determining behavior, Langer showed that thinking—and sometimes the absence of it—often emerges from behavior.
  • the field of social psychology generally views Langer as a pioneer who helped usher in a new paradigm. “[Langer] pointed out that social inference is not always a conscious and deliberate act; rather it is often the province of mindless automata,”
  • Langer’s work has also earned its share of skeptics.
  • Langer and her colleagues were not able to bring other “vacationing” comparison groups to the monastery. “We cannot be sure just to what to attribute these changes,” she wrote.
  • Today, she attributes the results to mindfulness, and the “why” she says, is not the central question. “What matters here is what actually happened,” she explains. “Men who changed their perspective changed their bodies.” Context, she says, is everything.
  • Langer believes that the more we adhere to labels and categories, the less open we are to possibility. “What if we called alcoholism an allergy instead of a disease?” she asks in Counterclockwise.
  • Doctors don’t know when a patient will die, they know only what studies of other people have told them statistically. A “terminal” diagnosis, she says, may be a self-fulfilling prophecy. No records tell how often doctors’ prognoses are wrong.
  • Langer often includes a PowerPoint slide with a quotation from Arthur Schopenhauer: “All research passes through three phases. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident.”
  • “Virtually all the world’s ills boil down to mindlessness,” she says. If you can understand someone else’s perspective, then there’s no reason to be angry at them, envy them, steal from them. Mindfulness, she believes, is a tool for the masses that can prop open our minds.
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    "As a young professor of psychology, Langer hoped to document through these men what she had long suspected: that our fixed ideas, internalized in childhood, can affect the way we age."
David McGavock

Esther M. Sternberg, M.D. - The Science of Healing with Dr. Esther Sternberg Broadcast ... - 10 views

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    "The program introduces viewers to the research that is revealing some of the many ways the brain helps us heal, both emotionally and physically. By understanding the science behind the brain's role in healing, we can each take charge of our own health and find out how to create a place of peace even in troubled times."
David McGavock

Home - Brain Science Podcast - 1 views

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    "In his new book Embodied Cognition, Dr. Lawrence Shapiro provides a balanced introduction to embodied cognition's attempts to challenge standard cognitive science. His interview in Episode 73 of the Brain Science Podcast is a discussion of a few of his book's key ideas. It also continues our ongoing exploration of the role of embodiment. "
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    Nice find David, thank you for sharing this.
Ronn Black

Khan Academy (Free Video courses on Math, Investing, science, etc) - 16 views

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    Free Video courses on Math, Investing, science, etc
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    Khaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!
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    It sounds interesting :-)
Borne Mace

Encephalon #71: Big Night « Neuroanthropology - 0 views

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    An overview of recent articles about a wide array of brain related issues.
Mark Harding

Glossary of brain regions - 0 views

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    good link - thanks!
Jeff Johnson

The science of shopping | The way the brain buys | The Economist - 0 views

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    IT MAY have occurred to you, during the course of a dismal trawl round a supermarket indistinguishable from every other supermarket you have ever been into, to wonder why they are all the same. The answer is more sinister than depressing. It is not because the companies that operate them lack imagination. It is because they are all versed in the science of persuading people to buy things-a science that, thanks to technological advances, is beginning to unlock the innermost secrets of the consumer's mind.
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