Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Bigger brains through exercise

Grow that big brain you've always dreamed of, with just 3x per week

Exercise keeps your cognitive capabilities intact and in older people can actually reverse the brain-aging process.

More here: Exercise protects memory formation capability

Cognitive Atlas

Cognitive Atlas

It's a project that aims "to develop a knowledge base (or ontology) that characterizes the current thought in cognitive science."

It is also exceedingly cool.

Sleep on it to remember it

Sleep selectively stores useful memories

Sleep doesn't just help us remember, our brains actively select what memories are worth remembering. Sleep helps solidify our expectations.

How good is your short-term memory?

Test your short-term memory: how many letters can you memorize?

The very first practical experiments in psychology looked nearly identical to this test. It's a fun test.

Brain drugs - the unknown

What we don't know about cognitive enhancement

Quite a bit. Next question?

More seriously - really, we don't know very much. It's very exciting research, but the benefits overpower the ability to consider the vast gaps in what we don't know.

The side-benefits of marriage

Marriage is good for physical and mental health

Good news for all you married folks out there.

Boost your self-control

What to do and not to do to boos self-control 

Lots of how-to articles recently. They're all fun.

Nim Chimpsky

Documentary tells the tale of Nim Chimpsky, the chimp raised as a human

Of the many famous failed experiments in psychology, this one is particularly instructive about the dangers of taking philosophical positions to the extreme.

Can you recall your memories?

Research finds practicing retrieval is best tool for learning

Re-reading and reviewing the things you've studied and or taken notes on is the best way to learn something. Gee, who knew?[/sarcasm]

Pay for performance kind of sucks

Financial reward undermines intrinsic incentives

It has been known for quite some time that extrinsic rewards can have negative effect on intrinsic motivation, but this study brings the effects into sharp relief.

Jedi mind-trick: DIY

The psychology of persuasion

Great list of articles that refer to current research on what types of things influence others.

Another list of approaches to persuasion: How to plant ideas in someone's mind

Music as a brain booster?

Does music make you smarter?

Short answer: a qualified, yes.

Long answer: in specific domains, yes you will gain cognitive advantages, in overall intelligence measures like IQ, not so much.

Sexual self-esteem

Better than sex! US college students value self-esteem boosts more than bodily pleasures

So, is this because "self-esteem" is vital to our well-being or is it a product of the entitlement generation and the constant barrage of self-esteem boosting these students got when they were kids (as is the standard practice in most of education today)?

Is happiness just an illusion?

Is happiness even the point?

I've posted about this before, but it seems there are people that believe that happiness is NOT a natural state for humans. The basic message from this article is that happiness is at best a fleeting, momentary thing and not really a state that can be achieved for long periods of time.

I'm not sure I buy into that. I think it depends on your mindset and your level of exposure to and availability of what makes you happy. Yes, happiness can be fleeting, but I believe it can also be enduring - I believe that it can be a state that is achievable. Not in every domain of your life, but in a sufficient abundance to be the overriding state of mind.

Build your memory

How to memorize anything you want: a quick primer on mental mapping

The advice revolves around a particular technique which may or may not work very well with every individual, but overall, this is a very good bit of instruction on a very useful technique.

More bad news for alcohol

Alcohol impairs the body's ability to fight off viral infection

Remember, whenever you read a study about the magical benefits of certain items like alcohol or even chocolate, there are usually a bunch of unwanted side effects to go with it.

Sleep off the fat

Early to bed and early to rise -- study suggests it's keeping kids leaner

They are starting to find the same kind of thing for adults as well.

Autism drugs

Study finds promising drug treatment for improving language, social function in people with autism

Faster, please.

B12 on the brain

Not having enough vitamin B12 can shrivel your brain. No, really.

Good to know.

The neuroscience of Halo

Gaming and neuroscience: opportunities and challenges

I've personally seen very few studies on gaming that were done in any kind of balanced methodology. There is PLENTY of room for excellently constructed and philosophically balanced studies.

Embarrass yourself

Embarrassed? You've won more trust

Look good...but not too good.