Why Does Brain Speed Matter, and What Can I Do to Improve It?

I just saw an article in Scientific American about why brain speed is important, how it decays as we age, and what the effects are on daily life over time. But this is nothing new: we have been talking about brain speed for years! Some highlights from the article include: “Studies suggest that the speed […]

Happy 100th Birthday to the Crossword Puzzle

It’s time to say happy birthday to our beloved crossword puzzle! The first one was published 100 years ago. In this short video about the crossword’s centennial, Mo Rocca interviews New York Times puzzle writer Will Shortz and Dan Feyer, four-time champion of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament and the best solver in the country. […]

Kids Who Watch TV Have Bigger Brains – But Not in a Good Way

A recent study from Japan found that children who watch TV a lot have more gray matter than kids who don’t watch TV. But, the researchers warn, that is not necessarily a good thing. The study looked at brain scans of kids between the ages of 5 and 18 and found that the more TV […]

This is What Happens in your Brain When You’re Scared Senseless

Do you love or hate scary movies? Are you the first to line up for a haunted house, or do you stay as far away as possible? I often wonder why some people love scary stories and situations, when I just find them, well, scary. This excellent video from the American Chemical Society explains why […]

How You Can Make Your Brain Smarter Every Day

If you’re old enough, you may remember a time, maybe back in your childhood, when someone measured your intelligence and assigned a number to it. I suspect that you have been either proud of that “IQ,” or perhaps a little bit chagrined about it, from that day to this. The general belief back then was that intelligence was a genetic endowment, along with eye color or a propensity for baldness.

We now know this is simply not true. Your brain — every brain — is a work in progress. It is “plastic.” From the day we’re born to the day we die, it continuously revises and remodels, improving or slowly declining, as a function of how we use it. If a brain is exercised properly, anyone can grow intelligence, at any age, and potentially by a lot. Or you can just let your brain idle — and watch it slowly, inexorably, go to seed like a sedentary body.

Decision-making is Still a Work in Progress for Teenagers

6

Recent studies of brain development in teenagers may finally give parents the scientific authority to say “No you’re not!” in answer to the common adolescent complaint, “But I’m old enough to make my own decisions!” That authority comes from brain imaging studies that reveal some surprising features of the adolescent brain. Deborah Yurgelun-Todd and colleagues […]

“Left Brain” “Right Brain”: The Mind in Two

Everyone knows the popular myths about the two brain hemispheres: The right brain is artistic, musical, spatial, intuitive, and holistic; the left brain is linear, rational, analytical, and linguistic. There is some truth in these labels. But, not surprisingly, they are mostly oversimplifications of tendencies, not fixed rules. A May 1998 issue of Science reported […]

Measuring The Mind

The Nature of Things There is something ethereal about human intelligence, something hard-to-pin-down. It’s hard even to define. Is intelligence the ability to reason? Does it have to do with memory? Is it aptitude with language? With mathematics? All of the above? Plenty of folks would go so far as to say that you just […]