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thinkahol *

Think faster focus better and remember more: Rewiring our brain to stay younger... - 0 views

    October 24, 2008 - Google Tech Talks June 16, 2008 ABSTRACT Explore the brain's amazing ability to change throughout a person's life. This phenomenon-called neuroplasticty-is the science behind brain fitness, and it has been called one of the most extraordinary scientific discoveries of the 20th century. PBS had recently aired this special, The Brain Fitness Program, which explains the brain's complexities in a way that both scientists and people with no scientific background can appreciate. This is opportunity to learn more about how our minds work-and to find out more about the latest in cutting-edge brain research, from the founder of Posit Science and creator of the Brain Fitness Program software, Dr. Michael Merzenich. Speaker: Dr. Michael Merzenich, Ph.D. Michael M. Merzenich, PhD: Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Merzenich leads the company's scientific team. For more than three decades, Dr. Merzenich has been a leading pioneer in brain plasticity research. He is the Francis A. Sooy Professor at the Keck Center for Integrative Neurosciences at UCSF. Dr. Merzenich is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes, including the Ipsen Prize, Zulch Prize of the Max Planck Institute, Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award and Purkinje Medal. Dr. Merzenich has published more than 200 articles, including many in leading peer-reviewed journals, such as Science and Nature. His work is also often covered in the popular press, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Time and Newsweek. He has appeared on Sixty Minutes II, CBS Evening News and Good Morning America. In the late 1980s, Dr. Merzenich was on the team that invented the cochlear implant, now distributed by market leader Advanced Bionics. In 1996, Dr. Merzenich was the founding CEO of Scientific Learning Corporation (Nasdaq: SCIL), which markets and distributes software that applies principles of brain plasticity to assist children with language
thinkahol *

TEDxRheinMain - Prof. Dr. Thomas Metzinger - The Ego Tunnel - YouTube - 0 views

    Brain, bodily awareness, and the emergence of a conscious self: these entities and their relations are explored by Germanphilosopher and cognitive scientist Metzinger. Extensively working with neuroscientists he has come to the conclusion that, in fact, there is no such thing as a "self" -- that a "self" is simply the content of a model created by our brain - part of a virtual reality we create for ourselves. But if the self is not "real," he asks, why and how did it evolve? How does the brain construct the self? In a series of fascinating virtual reality experiments, Metzinger and his colleagues have attempted to create so-called "out-of-body experiences" in the lab, in order to explore these questions. As a philosopher, he offers a discussion of many of the latest results in robotics, neuroscience, dream and meditation research, and argues that the brain is much more powerful than we have ever imagined. He shows us, for example, that we now have the first machines that have developed an inner image of their own body -- and actually use this model to create intelligent behavior. In addition, studies exploring the connections between phantom limbs and the brain have shown us that even people born without arms or legs sometimes experience a sensation that they do in fact have limbs that are not there. Experiments like the "rubber-hand illusion" demonstrate how we can experience a fake hand as part of our self and even feel a sensation of touch on the phantom hand form the basis and testing ground for the idea that what we have called the "self" in the past is just the content of a transparent self-model in our brains. Now, as new ways of manipulating the conscious mind-brain appear on the scene, it will soon become possible to alter our subjective reality in an unprecedented manner. The cultural consequences of this, Metzinger claims, may be immense: we will need a new approach to ethics, and we will be forced to think about ourselves in a fundamentally new way. At
Sarah Eeee

*A Brain Scientist's Take on Writing*: What Mirror Images and Foreign Scripts Tell Us A... - 0 views

  • For most adults in literate countries, reading is so well practiced that it’s reflexive. If the words are there, it's impossible not to read.
  • If you raise a child on a desert island, he'll learn to eat, walk, and sleep, but odds are he won't spontaneously pick up a stick and start writing. For most of human history, written language didn't even exist. Reading as a cultural invention has only been around for a few thousand years, a snap of a finger in evolutionary terms.
  • we’re very good at seeing, and the trick is just to retune that machinery to the demands of reading.
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  • But even on a basic visual level, we have to somewhat reprogram our visual systems.
  • Mirror invariance, the idea that something flipped sideways is still the same object, is a core property of our visual systems, and for good reason.
  • What's the mirror image of b? Now it's a completely different letter: d.
  • Mirror reversal is overwhelmingly common in beginning writers, from the occasional flipped letter to whole words written as a mirror image. Kids do this spontaneously. They never actually see flipped letters in the world around them. It's as if their brains are too powerful for the task.
  • With practice however, we do retrain our brains to read
  • Does the brain of a reader look different from that of a nonreader?
  • Since blood flow is tied to brain activity, fMRI allows us to see the patches of brain involved in different tasks.
    • Sarah Eeee
      Bit of an oversimplification, no?
  • They found that most participants did indeed have a brain region that responded more to words than objects.
  • This is rather remarkable, that the brain would develop a specialized area for an artificial category of images.
  • need more proof that this region developed as a result of learning to read.
  • If reading experience does alter the brain, you would expect English readers and English/Hebrew readers to have different brain responses to Hebrew. And this is indeed what Baker found. The bilingual readers had high activation for both Hebrew and English in their word region, while monolingual English readers only had high activation for English.
    Interesting & quick post on research into the neurological basis of reading.
thinkahol *

How your memories can be twisted under social pressure | KurzweilAI - 0 views

    Listen up, Facebook and Twitter groupies: how easily can social pressure affect your memory? Very easily, researchers at the Weizmann Institute and University College London have proved, and they think they even know what part of the brain is responsible. The participants conformed to the group on these "planted" responses, giving incorrect answers nearly 70% of the time. Volunteers watched a documentary film in small groups. Three days later, they returned to the lab individually to take a memory test, answering questions about the film. They were also asked how confident they were in their answers. They were later invited back to the lab to retake the test. This time, the subjects were also given supposed answers of the others in their film-viewing group (along with social-media-style photos) while being scanned in a functional MRI (fMRI) that revealed their brain activity. Is most of what you know false? Planted among these were false answers to questions the volunteers had previously answered correctly and confidently. The participants conformed to the group on these "planted" responses, giving incorrect answers nearly 70% of the time. To determine if their memory of the film had actually undergone a change, the researchers invited the subjects back to the lab later to take the memory test once again, telling them that the answers they had previously been fed were not those of their fellow film watchers, but random computer generations. Some of the responses reverted back to the original, correct ones, but get this: despite finding out the scientists messed with their minds, close to half of their responses remained erroneous, implying that the subjects were relying on false memories implanted in the earlier session. An analysis of the fMRI data showed a strong co-activation and connectivity between two brain areas: the hippocampus and the amygdala. Social reinforcement could act on the amygdala to persuade our brains to replace a strong memory wi

The Strange Neuroscience of Immortality - 0 views

    "Hayworth has spent much of the past few years in a windowless room carving brains into very thin slices. He is by all accounts a curious man, known for casually saying things like, "The human race is on a beeline to mind uploading: We will preserve a brain, slice it up, simulate it on a computer, and hook it up to a robot body." He wants that brain to be his brain. He wants his 100 billion neurons and more than 100 trillion synapses to be encased in a block of transparent, amber-colored resin-before he dies of natural causes."
nat bas

Understanding the Anxious Mind - - 0 views

  • But some people, no matter how robust their stock portfolios or how healthy their children, are always mentally preparing for doom. They are just born worriers, their brains forever anticipating the dropping of some dreaded other shoe. For the past 20 years, Kagan and his colleagues have been following hundreds of such people, beginning in infancy, to see what happens to those who start out primed to fret. Now that these infants are young adults, the studies are yielding new information about the anxious brain.
  • Four significant long-term longitudinal studies are now under way: two at Harvard that Kagan initiated, two more at the University of Maryland under the direction of Nathan Fox, a former graduate student of Kagan’s. With slight variations, they all have reached similar conclusions: that babies differ according to inborn temperament; that 15 to 20 percent of them will react strongly to novel people or situations; and that strongly reactive babies are more likely to grow up to be anxious.
  • In the brain, these thoughts can often be traced to overreactivity in the amygdala, a small site in the middle of the brain that, among its many other functions, responds to novelty and threat. When the amygdala works as it should, it orchestrates a physiological response to changes in the environment. That response includes heightened memory for emotional experiences and the familiar chest pounding of fight or flight. But in people born with a particular brain circuitry, the kind seen in Kagan’s high-reactive study subjects, the amygdala is hyperreactive, prickly as a haywire motion-detector light that turns on when nothing’s moving but the rain. Other physiological changes exist in children with this temperament, many of them also related to hyperreactivity in the amygdala. They have a tendency to more activity in the right hemisphere, the half of the brain associated with negative mood and anxiety; greater increases in heart rate and pupil dilation in response to stress; and on occasion higher levels of the stress hormones cortisol and norepinephrine.
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  • The physiological measurements led them to believe something biological was at work. Their hypothesis: the inhibited children were “born with a lower threshold” for arousal of various brain regions, in particular the amygdala, the hypothalamus and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, the circuit responsible for the stress hormone cortisol.
  • At age 4, children who had been high-reactive were four times as likely to be behaviorally inhibited as those who had been low-reactive. By age 7, almost half of the jittery babies had developed symptoms of anxiety — fear of thunder or dogs or darkness, extreme shyness in the classroom or playground — compared with just 10 percent of the more easygoing ones. About one in five of the high-reactive babies were consistently inhibited and fearful at every visit up to the age of 7.
  • By adolescence, the rate of anxiety in Kagan’s study subjects declined overall, including in the high-risk group. At 15, about two-thirds of those who had been high-reactors in infancy behaved pretty much like everybody else.
  • PEOPLE WITH A nervous temperament don’t usually get off so easily, Kagan and his colleagues have found. There exists a kind of sub-rosa anxiety, a secret stash of worries that continue to plague a subset of high-reactive people no matter how well they function outwardly. They cannot quite outrun their own natures: consciously or unconsciously, they remain the same uneasy people they were when they were little.
  • Teenagers who were in the group at low risk for anxiety showed no increase in activity in the amygdala when they looked at the face, even if they had been told to focus on their own fear. But those in the high-risk group showed increased activity in the amygdala when they were thinking about their own feelings (though not when they were thinking about the nose). Once again, this pattern was seen in anxiety-prone youngsters quite apart from whether they had problems with anxiety in their daily lives. In the high-risk kids, even those who were apparently calm in most settings, their amygdalas lighted up more than the others’ did.
  • Behaviorally inhibited children were much more likely to have older siblings: two-thirds of them did, compared with just one-third of the uninhibited children. Could having older siblings, he and his co-authors wondered, mean being teased and pushed, which becomes a source of chronic stress, which in turn amplifies a biological predisposition to inhibition?
  • high-reactive babies who went to day care when they were young were significantly less fearful at age 4 than were the high-reactives who stayed home with their mothers.
  • The predictive power of an anxiety-prone temperament, such as it is, essentially works in just one direction: not by predicting what these children will become but by predicting what they will not. In the longitudinal studies of anxiety, all you can say with confidence is that the high-reactive infants will not grow up to be exuberant, outgoing, bubbly or bold. Still, while a Sylvia Plath almost certainly won’t grow up to be a Bill Clinton, she can either grow up to be anxious and suicidal, or simply a poet. Temperament is important, but life intervenes.
    This is a good article that looks at how anxiety happens- it is more or less something you are born with, but you learn to live with, if you are intelligent about it. Liked it. Good writing.
thinkahol *

How to size up the people in your life - opinion - 15 August 2011 - New Scientist - 0 views

    Why are we all so different? Here is a toolkit for finding out what people are really like IN THE 4th century BC, the Greek philosopher Theophrastus, Aristotle's student and successor, wrote a book about personality. The project was motivated by his interest in what he considered a very puzzling question: "Why it has come about that, albeit the whole of Greece lies in the same clime, and all Greeks have a like upbringing, we have not the same constitution of character?" Not knowing how to get at the answer, Theophrastus decided to instead focus on categorising those seemingly mysterious differences in personality. The result was a book of descriptions of personality types to which he assigned names such as The Suspicious, The Fearful and The Proud. The book made such an impression that it was passed down through the ages, and is still available online today as The Characters of Theophrastus. The two big questions about personality that so interested Theophrastus are the same ones we ask ourselves about the people we know: why do we have different personalities? And what is the best way to describe them? In the past few decades, researchers have been gradually answering these questions, and in my new book, Making Sense of People: Decoding the mysteries of personality, I take a look at some of these answers. When it comes to the origins of personality, we have learned a lot. We now know that personality traits are greatly influenced by the interactions between the set of gene variants that we happen to have been born with and the social environment we happen to grow up in. The gene variants that a person inherits favour certain behavioural tendencies, such as assertiveness or cautiousness, while their environmental circumstances influence the forms these innate behavioural tendencies take. The ongoing dialogue between the person's genome and environment gradually establishes the enduring ways of thinking and feeling that are the building blocks of personality. This de
Hypnosis Training Academy

Breakthrough Stanford Research: Hypnotic Trance Changes Brain Activity - 0 views

    A groundbreaking Stanford Study lead by Dr. David Spiegel has revealed what hypnotists have long known about brain activity whilst under a hypnotic trance. That is: some parts of the brain function differently under hypnosis than during normal consciousness. In essence, hypnosis indeed alters brain patterns and activity. These findings might help explain the intense absorption, lack of self-consciousness and suggestibility that characterize the hypnotic state. Would you like to discover more about Dr. David Spiegel hypnosis research findings and how you can use hypnosis to control pain and increase someone's self-esteem? Check out the latest article on now…..
Todd Suomela

More Evidence That Intelligence Is Largely Inherited: Researchers Find That Genes Deter... - 0 views

  • In a study published recently in the Journal of Neuroscience, UCLA neurology professor Paul Thompson and colleagues used a new type of brain-imaging scanner to show that intelligence is strongly influenced by the quality of the brain's axons, or wiring that sends signals throughout the brain. The faster the signaling, the faster the brain processes information. And since the integrity of the brain's wiring is influenced by genes, the genes we inherit play a far greater role in intelligence than was previously thought.
    Intriguing article but frustratingly vague on the measurements used for intelligence testing. Apparently HARDI (High Angular Resolution Diffusion Imaging) can measure the diffusion of water through the brain, especially myelin. In yet another twin study (n=46 pairs) there appears to be a correlation between diffusion speed and intelligence.
Maxime Lagacé

A Hunger for Certainty | Psychology Today - 0 views

  • Your brain doesn't like uncertainty
  • Certainty on the other hand feels rewarding, and we tend to steer toward it, even when it might be better for us to remain uncertain.
  • A vast prediction machine
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  • ion machin
  • A vast predic
  • A vast predi
  • You don't just hear; you hear and predict what should come next. You don't just see; you predict what you should be seeing moment to moment.
  • That's because uncertainty feels, to the brain, like a threat to your life.
  • Uncertainty is like an inability to create a complete map of a situation. With parts missing, you're not as comfortable as when the map is complete.
  • It's all about the burst of dopamine we get when a circuit is completed. It feels good - but that doesn't mean it's good for us all the time.
  • It explains why we prefer things we know over things that might be more fun, or better for us, but are new and therefore uncertain.
    The brain needs to be certain. Here's why.
Caramel Crow

Brain plasticity and criminal behavior; part 1 | On the Brain by Dr. Mike Merzenich,Ph.D. - 0 views

    6-part series on brain plasticity and criminal behavior
thinkahol *

Stoner alert: McDonald's gets you legally high | KurzweilAI - 0 views

    Fats in foods like potato chips and french fries make them nearly irresistible because they trigger natural marijuana-like chemicals in the body called endocannabinoids, researchers at the University of California, Irvine, have found. The researchers discovered that when rats tasted something fatty, cells in their upper gut started producing endocannabinoids, while sugars and proteins did not have this effect. How fats create, like, a buzz It starts on the tongue, where fats in food generate a signal that travels first to your brain, and then through a nerve bundle called the vagus to your intestines. There, the signal stimulates the production of endocannabinoids, which initiates a surge in cell signaling that prompts you to totally pig out - probably by initiating the release of digestive chemicals linked to hunger and satiety that compel us to eat more. And that leads to obesity, diabetes and cancer, the researchers said. But they suggest it might be possible to curb this process by obstructing endocannabinoid activity: for example, by using drugs that "clog" cannabinoid receptors. The trick: bypassing the brain to avoid creating anxiety and depression (which happens when endocannabinoid signaling is blocked in the brain). I'm guessing McDonald's won't be adding that drug to their fries. Ref.: Daniele Piomelli, et al., An endocannabinoid signal in the gut controls dietary fat intake, PNAS, 2011; in press
José Cavalcante

The Brain Rejects Inequality | Brain Blogger - 24 views

    Behavioral and anthropological evidence show that humans dislike social inequality and unfair distribution of outcomes. But this evidence is not purely social, anymore, since researchers at the California Institute of Technology and Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, have identified reward centers in the brain that are sensitive to inequality.
    nice. So we want to give, we enjoy doing so. Then why are we so distant from one another? Why are friendships so hard to form as you get older?
    şifa deryasınına dalıp fıkıh pınarından faydalanabilceğiniz hadis şerbetinle tatlanıp kısadan hiselerle hayalle gercek arasında gidip geleceğiniz,bazen tasavvuf aleminden bir derviş bazense rüya eleminden bir resime bakacagınız siteleri hayatınızdan bir kesit olacktır.

Scientists Discover What Our Brain Is Doing When We Become Aware That We Are Dreaming |... - 0 views

    A team of researchers in Germany have discovered the source of human awareness in the brain through the analysis of dreams.
nat bas

News Blog Articles | Stereotyping Increases With Age | Miller-McCune Online Magazine - 0 views

  • A decade ago, a research team led by William von Hippel of the University of Queensland challenged that assumption. The psychologists proposed that older people may exhibit greater prejudice because they have difficulty inhibiting the stereotypes that regularly get activated in all of our brains. They suggested an aging brain is not as effective in suppressing unwanted information — including stereotypes.
  • This finding supports our suggestion that older adults are more likely to make stereotypic inferences during comprehension, and that this stereotyping carries over into their later memory for that information
  • older adults are no more likely than younger adults to rely on stereotypes, and are similarly capable of altering their interpretation of a situation when information suggests that information is incorrect.
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  • In real life, of course, no one is pointing out biased statements as they emerge from the mouths or friends, family members or talk-show hosts. So for older adults, the best advice might be to avoid acquaintances who speak in stereotypes. This research suggests prejudice can be contagious, and we become more susceptible as our brains age.
    we are all prejudiced, and judge through making use of stereotypes- but older people find it difficult to suppress them, whereas we do it quite efficiently. Good news is, if these stereotypes are challenged, they see the light and shed their prejudices.
Robert Kamper

Guitarists' Brains Swing Together - 1 views

  • Our findings show that interpersonally coordinated actions are preceded and accompanied by between-brain oscillatory couplings," says Ulman Lindenberger. The results don't show whether this coupling occurs in response to the beat of the metronome and music, and as a result of watching each others' movements and listening to each others' music, or whether the brain synchronization takes place first and causes the coordinated performance. Although individual's brains have been observed getting tuning into music before, this is the first time musicians have been measured jointly in concert.
Sue Frantz

Dichotomistic logic - the 10% myth - 0 views

    It is a well known "fact" that we use just 10 percent of our brains. This is why creativity gurus are always urging us to learn to tap the other silent 90 percent. It has also been a staple point for those who want to argue that consciousness has little to do with brain circuitry and more to do with some intangible soul-stuff. So where did this particular old wives' tale spring from? Well, there are at least three famous bits of neuroscientific research that have fed the myth. And here are the modern countering arguments.
Heather McQuaid

Working in office bad for your brain? - Trends News - IBNLive - 0 views

    clean, sterile desk = smaller brain.
thinkahol *

5 Things That Internet Porn Reveals About Our Brains | Sex & the Brain | DISCOVER Magazine - 0 views

    With its expansive range and unprecedented potential for anonymity, (the Internet gives voice to our deepest urges and most uninhibited thoughts. Inspired by the wealth of unfettered expression available online, neuroscientists Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam, who met as Ph.D. candidates at Boston University, began plumbing a few chosen search engines (including Dogpile and AOL) to create the world's largest experiment in sexuality in 2009. Quietly tapping into a billion Web searches, they explored the private activities of more than 100 million men and women around the world. The result is the first large-scale scientific examination of human sexuality in more than half a century, since biologist Alfred Kinsey famously interviewed more than 18,000 middle-class Caucasians about their sexual behavior and published the Kinsey reports in 1948 and 1953. Building on the work of Kinsey, neuroscientists have long made the case that male and female sexuality exist on different planes. But like Kinsey himself, they have been hampered by the dubious reliability of self-reports of sexual behavior and preferences as well as by small sample sizes. That is where the Internet comes in. By accessing raw data from Web searches and employing the help of Alexa-a company that measures Web traffic and publishes a list of the million most popular sites in the world-Ogas and Gaddam shine a light on hidden desire, a quirky realm of lust, fetish, and kink that, like the far side of the moon, has barely been glimpsed. Here is a sampling of their fascinating results, selected from their book, A Billion Wicked Thoughts.
thinkahol *

Evolution of human 'super-brain' tied to development of bipedalism, tool-making - 0 views

    CU-Boulder Research Associate John Hoffecker said there is abundant fossil and archaeological evidence for the evolution of the human mind, including its unique power to create a potentially infinite variety of thoughts expressed in the form of sentences, art and technologies. He attributes the evolving power of the mind to the formation of what he calls the "super-brain," or collective mind, an event that took place in Africa no later than 75,000 years ago.
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