The mysterious workings of the adolescent brain – @sjblakemore “Simple, educational a brilliant lesson”!


by Sarah-Jayne Blakemore

Why do teenagers seem so much more impulsive, so much less self-aware than grown-ups? Cognitive neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore compares the prefrontal cortex in adolescents to that of adults, to show us how typically “teenage” behavior is caused by the growing and developing brain.

How Your Brain Experiences the Passage of Time


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Scientists have located a specific set of neurons that indicate how time passes, confirming that the brain plays an essential role in how we experience the passage of time. By recording brain activity across 100 neurons in the lateral intraparietal cortex of two rhesus macaques, University of Minnesota researchers were able to examine how brain biology corresponds to an objective measurement of time. Then, by examining the rate of decay of the neural signals, scientists could estimate how much time had objectively past with simple reference to the brain’s biology. Leer más “How Your Brain Experiences the Passage of Time”

Why You Need to Make Your Life More Automatic

How different would your life be, after all, if you could get yourself to sleep 8 hours at night, exercise every day, eat healthy foods in the right portions, take time for reflection and renewal, remain calm and positive under stress, focus without interruption for sustained periods of time, and prioritize the work that matters most?

Right now, the vast majority of what we do each day occurs automatically. We’re often triggered, as these authors make vividly clear, by subtle cues we’re not even aware of — a smell, a visual image, a familiar sight. These cues prompt us to move away from any potential pain and discomfort, no matter how minimal, and toward immediate reward and gratification, no matter how fleeting.

The primary role of our prefrontal cortex is to bias the brain towards doing the “harder” thing. Unfortunately, our rational capacity is often overwhelmed by the power of our own most visceral and primitive desires.

We’re often captive to our biochemistry. When the neurotransmitter dopamine is triggered, for example, what we feel is craving, not pleasure. This explains not just why we fall into a range of self-destructive addictions, but also why we don’t take better care of ourselves and make wiser choices day in and day out.

The solution is to learn how to co-opt the more primitive habit-forming regions of our brains, so that rather than reinforcing our negative impulses, they become the soil in which we build positive rituals that serve our long term interests.


Tony Schwartz

TONY SCHWARTZ
http://blogs.hbr.org/

Tony Schwartz is the president and CEO of The Energy Project and the author of Be Excellent at Anything. Become a fan of The Energy Project on Facebook and connect with Tony at Twitter.com/TonySchwartz and Twitter.com/Energy_Project.

Why is it that three prominent books published just during the past several months focused on the subject of willpower?

The first answer is that neuroscience has finally begun to open a window into the complex way our brains respond to temptation and what it takes to successfully exercise choice.

Second, a raft of recent studies have shown that the capacity for self-control — even more than genetic endowment or material advantage — fuels a range of positive outcomes in life, including more stable relationships, higher paying and more satisfying work, more resilience in the face of setbacks, better health, and greater happiness.

Finally, these books — WillpowerThe Willpower Instinct, andThe Power of Habit — are a response to an increasingly evident need. Demand in our lives is truly outpacing our capacity.

The sheer number of choices we must make each day — what foods to eat, what products to buy, what information merits our attention, what tasks to prioritize — can be overwhelming. As Roy Baumeister puts it in Willpower, “Self-regulation failure is the major social pathology of our time.” Leer más “Why You Need to Make Your Life More Automatic”

The ethics of brain boosting

The idea of a simple, cheap and widely available device that could boost brain function sounds too good to be true.

Yet promising results in the lab with emerging ‘brain stimulation’ techniques, though still very preliminary, have prompted Oxford neuroscientists to team up with leading ethicists at the University to consider the issues the new technology could raise. They spoke to Radio 4’s Today programme this morning.

Recent research in Oxford and elsewhere has shown that one type of brain stimulation in particular, called transcranial direct current stimulation or TDCS, can be used to improve language and maths abilities, memory, problem solving, attention, even movement.


http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/science_blog/brainboosting.html
Science
Jonathan Wood

electric brain stimulation

The idea of a simple, cheap and widely available device that could boost brain function sounds too good to be true.

Yet promising results in the lab with emerging ‘brain stimulation’ techniques, though still very preliminary, have prompted Oxford neuroscientists to team up with leading ethicists at the University to consider the issues the new technology could raise. They spoke to Radio 4’s Today programme this morning.

Recent research in Oxford and elsewhere has shown that one type of brain stimulation in particular, called transcranial direct current stimulation or TDCS, can be used to improve language and maths abilities, memory, problem solving, attention, even movement. Leer más “The ethics of brain boosting”

15 Cool Ways To Boost Your Creativity

Feeling burnt out or lacking creative ideas?

This article is especially for all you writers, artists, business owners or anyone looking for some new ways to get their creativity flowing.

Here are 15 ways to give your creativity a jump start:

Write Your Ideas Down

Get into the habit of writing your ideas down as soon as you get them. This way you train your brain to keep coming up with ideas, and as soon as you get them you write them down.

When they are written down you don’t have to worry about remembering them and this allows more room for new ideas to form in your mind.

Relax

Good ideas and creativity usually do not appear under stress. When you are relaxed and rejuvenated, creative ideas usually come rather naturally.

Take a walk on the beach, take a nap, go and play some sport or do whatever it is that relaxes you so that your brain can be more creative when you get back to work.

Have No Expectations

Similar to living with no stress, but specifically no stress from the outcome.

When you create with love and passion and no expectation of the outcome, the chances are much greater that you will create something remarkable!


Feeling burnt out or lacking creative ideas?

This article is especially for all you writers, artists, business owners or anyone looking for some new ways to get their creativity flowing.

Here are 15 ways to give your creativity a jump start:

Write Your Ideas Down

Get into the habit of writing your ideas down as soon as you get them. This way you train your brain to keep coming up with ideas, and as soon as you get them you write them down.

When they are written down you don’t have to worry about remembering them and this allows more room for new ideas to form in your mind.

Relax

Good ideas and creativity usually do not appear under stress. When you are relaxed and rejuvenated, creative ideas usually come rather naturally.

Take a walk on the beach, take a nap, go and play some sport or do whatever it is that relaxes you so that your brain can be more creative when you get back to work.

Have No Expectations

Similar to living with no stress, but specifically no stress from the outcome.

When you create with love and passion and no expectation of the outcome, the chances are much greater that you will create something remarkable! Leer más “15 Cool Ways To Boost Your Creativity”

4 Ways to Turn Your Day Around

Every day is a new day, we never know what it holds in store for us. Just like Forrest Gump’s Mother so eloquently puts it “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you might get.” and she is so right.

Some days though, it can be hard to muster the enthusiasm, we wake on the wrong side. We just can’t find motivation, were surly and cannot help but get annoyed about every little irritating detail.

As you have probably read and heard before, your mood is completely your decision.

Sometimes though it can be very difficult to turn one of these days around.


Every day is a new day, we never know what it holds in store for us. Just like Forrest Gump’s Mother so eloquently puts it “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you might get.” and she is so right.

Some days though, it can be hard to muster the enthusiasm, we wake on the wrong side. We just can’t find motivation, were surly and cannot help but get annoyed about every little irritating detail.

As you have probably read and heard before, your mood is completely your decision.

Sometimes though it can be very difficult to turn one of these days around.

Here are 4 tips that always help me get back on my feet…: Leer más “4 Ways to Turn Your Day Around”

Idea Champions’ Secret Sauce Revealed

Most people think that creativity is a mystical state available only to the chosen few — a state that has to be induced, conjured, and maintained.

The effort, they imagine, takes a lot of time and hard work. And since they usually don’t have the time and don’t like hard work, they reason that higher states of creativity are just not in the cards for them. And so it isn’t.

But creativity isn’t a mystical state. It’s a natural state — a human birthright. The people in your organization, in fact, are already creative. The only thing is: their natural creativity is being obscured by their own habits of mind and a variety of bothersome organizational constraints.

logo-fedex.jpg

Their challenge is the same one as seeing the “hidden” arrow in the FedEx logo (look between the “E” and the “X”).

The arrow has always been there, but most people never notice it.

Try this experiment: Walk into a dark room from a well-lit place. Upon entering, you will not be able to see very much. Indeed, if someone asks you what’s in the room, you will either say “nothing” or “I don’t know.”

But if you linger in the room, your eyes will adjust to the available light. You’ll begin seeing the edges of things — and then the things themselves. Or at least some of the things.


tvg035.jpg

http://www.ideachampions.com/

Most people think that creativity is a mystical state available only to the chosen few — a state that has to be induced, conjured, and maintained.

The effort, they imagine, takes a lot of time and hard work. And since they usually don’t have the time and don’t like hard work, they reason that higher states of creativity are just not in the cards for them. And so it isn’t.

But creativity isn’t a mystical state. It’s a natural state — a human birthright. The people in your organization, in fact, are already creative. The only thing is: their natural creativity is being obscured by their own habits of mind and a variety of bothersome organizational constraints.

logo-fedex.jpg

Their challenge is the same one as seeing the “hidden” arrow in the FedEx logo (look between the “E” and the “X”).

The arrow has always been there, but most people never notice it.

Try this experiment: Walk into a dark room from a well-lit place. Upon entering, you will not be able to see very much. Indeed, if someone asks you what’s in the room, you will either say “nothing” or “I don’t know.”

But if you linger in the room, your eyes will adjust to the available light. You’ll begin seeing the edges of things — and then the things themselves. Or at least some of the things. Leer más “Idea Champions’ Secret Sauce Revealed”