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What Multitasking Does To Our Brains

What Multitasking Does To Our Brains
I can definitely understand how focusing on one task at a time allows you to be more productive. However, I also believe that you can benefit from taking a break after ~an hour of working on something, and then doing something else. Making progress on multiple different tasks in this way provides a similar feeling of high productivity, but also allows you to get a feel for exactly how much work you have on your plate. Related:  The Human Psyche

Phantom Finger Points To Secrets In The Human Brain : Krulwich Wonders... When she was born, her right hand wasn't right. Instead of looking like this ... Robert Krulwich/NPR hand 1 ... her thumb was stunted, she had no index finger. Her middle finger and her ring finger were rigid. hand 2 Her name doesn't matter. Its truncated shape is often associated with thalidomide, a drug used during pregnancies in the 1950s and 1960s; RN, now in her late 50s, may have been a thalidomide baby. Born unlucky, she got unluckier. It gets worse. But in her case, this phantom was different from the one she lost. She told her doctors, V.S. hand 3 Which is very strange. In RN's case, her phantom grew a finger that wasn't there. What doctors Ramachandran and McGeoch wanted to know was: How did this happen? But first, let's finish RN's story, because her bad luck stayed bad. hand 4 She asked the doctors for help. They had a plan. So now back to that mysterious finger. hand 5 Sorry, You Can't Do That ... And so, that phantom index finger emerged. It's a lovely idea. Was RN Lying?

Tina Seelig’s Insights on Creativity 7Share Synopsis "Interacting with the world requires creative problem solving every day. Every sentence we utter is unique. We don’t just have robotic answers (...). Our brains are creativity machines". In her new book, InGenius: a Crash Course on Creativity , Tina Seelig , executive director of Stanford University’s Technology Ventures Program, describes two young entrepreneurs with an idea: an iPhone app for sharing your location with your friends. For Seelig, this tale illustrates not how to get rich quick, but three factors––attitude, knowledge, and imagination––that can spark creativity. “There’s a huge problem with the word failure,” she says. Systrom and Krieger’s success “would never have occurred had they not been willing to experiment and to learn form all the surprising results along the way,” she writes in Chapter 9, Move Fast––Break Things. Knowledge, which provides the fuel for imagination, was also critical to the Instagram team.

How To (Temporarily) Experience A Phantom Limb I placed a coffee cup in front of John and asked him to grab it [with his phantom limb]. Just as he said he was reaching out, I yanked the cup away.“Ow!” he yelled. “Don’t do that!”“What’s the matter?” Get your rubber hand here. The phantom limb syndrome is one more piece of evidence for the fact that we don’t perceive reality as it really is but that we perceive a reality as it is constructed by our own minds. “In short, phantom limbs are a mystery only if we assume the body sends sensory messages to a passively receiving brain. During the course of evolution not only our bodies evolved but so did our cognitive functions, including our sense of self. Some of these tools gives rise to optical illusions. Illusions like these have revealed alot about perceptual processes in psychology. To trick this system and experience an inanimate object as being your own all you have to do is the following (it helps if someone can give a hand):

The Damaging Impact of Abuse on Brain Development Some 30,000 neuroscientists have converged on the New Orleans convention center, a stone's throw from the French Quarter and overlooking the Mississippi river as it flows into the Gulf. Just as the river always flows downstream, science flows forward toward new understanding and nowhere is it more evident than here. I'm at the annual Society for Neuroscience (SfN) conference, which starts today and ends Wednesday. This year, SfN selected this blog to document the findings in cognition , behavior and disorders of the nervous system. After you're born, the greatest impact on the brain you'll have as an adult comes from the experiences you have in the first years of your life. This afternoon at SfN, Jamie Hanson from the University of Wisconsin presented work looking at brain development and behavioral outcomes of children who experienced stress in their early years. What was less clear is how abuse increased the risk of behavioral problems.

Poverty reduces the brain's cognitive abilities Researchers gave intelligence tests to two very different groups, demographically speaking — shoppers at a New Jersey mall and farmers in rural India — and found that mental performance decreased markedly when financial pressures were weighing on them. The findings suggest money woes leave the poor less brainpower for other tasks. "We're not saying the poor are dumber," said study researcher Sendhil Mullainathan, an economist at Harvard University. Money on the mind Mullainathan compared doing mental tasks while being poor with surfing the Web while a movie is downloading in the background. Some studies have shown people who are poor are less productive workers, less attentive parents and worse money managers. In one experiment, participants earned real money for correct answers. When the repair cost was low, the rich and poor performed equally on the IQ tests that followed. Poverty to blame? Nor was mental performance linked to stress — at least not by biological measures.

Another Perspective on Massive Brain Simulations Henry Markram has become famous as the creator of the world's most expensive brain simulation, but neuroscientists know him best for his pioneering experiments on synapses. Markram was one of the first to investigate the sequential version of Hebb's rule in a systematic way, by varying the time delay between the spiking of the two neurons when inducing synaptic plasticity. (Changes in the synapses, the connection points between cells. One scientist reduced Hebb’s rule to: “Cells that fire together, wire together.”) When I first heard Markram speak at a conference, I also encountered the chain-smoking and charming Alex Thomson, another prominent neuroscientist, who lectured about synapses with bubbling enthusiasm. In a 2009 lecture Markram promised a computer simulation of a human brain within ten years, a sound bite that traveled around the world. Markram didn't keep his indignation secret. The letter marked a new low point in Markram's relationship with IBM.

Doublethink: The Creativity-Testing Conflict Published Online: July 17, 2012 Published in Print: July 18, 2012, as Doublethink: Creativity, Entrepreneurship, and Standardized Tests Commentary By Yong Zhao Doublethink is "to hold simultaneously two opinions which canceled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them," according to George Orwell, who coined the phrase in his novel 1984. American education policymakers have apparently entered the zone of doublethink. They want future Americans to be globally competitive, to out-innovate others, and to become job-creating entrepreneurs. State leaders have taken similar actions. "What brings great test scores may hamper entrepreneurial qualities." In the meantime, the policymakers want students to be excellent test-takers. But test scores are not measures of entrepreneurship or creativity. —Chris Whetzel Comparing the two sets of data shows clearly countries that score high on PISA do not have levels of entrepreneurship that match their stellar scores.

5 Popular Beliefs That Are Holding Humanity Back Humans believe in a lot of stupid shit, and we do something stupid as a result of those beliefs about, oh, once every five seconds. And sure, most of you reading this are educated types who don't believe in Bigfoot or psychic readings, but there are a whole bunch of equally stupid/harmful superstitions out there that are so commonly held that we don't even think of them as such. Very few of us don't fall victim to at least a few of them. In fact, I'm something of an expert on this because I believe literally hundreds of idiotic things, and also because I wrote a ridiculous best-seller about an apocalypse brought about by people believing in apocalypses. And I say that, in order to keep humanity from imploding, we have to give up believing ... #5. Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images Every decision they make, and every vote they cast, is done with this in mind. And this affects your life. At this point my young atheist readers are saying, "Exactly! And I think it's bullshit. #4. #3.

Neuroscience, teaching, psychology and education (Mind, Brain, and Education science) | Science News Reasoning Is Sharper in a Foreign Language The language we use affects the decisions we make, according to a new study. Participants made more rational decisions when money-related choices were posed in a foreign language that they had learned in a classroom setting than when they were asked in a native tongue. To study how language affects reasoning, University of Chicago psychologists looked at a well-known phenomenon: people are more risk-averse when an impersonal decision (such as which vaccine to administer to a population) is presented in terms of a potential gain than when it is framed as a potential loss even when the outcomes are equivalent. In the study, published online in April in Psychological Science, native English speakers who had learned Japanese, native Korean speakers who had learned English and native English speakers studying French in Paris all surrendered to the expected bias when they encountered the question in their native tongue.

With nearly 1 in 12 teens diagnosed, is 'Anger Disorder' the next big thing? It seems to me "intermittent explosive disorder" is a cheap, easy diagnosis when the "doctor" is at her wits end about what's happening emotionally/cognitively/psychologically, and I do not think "Anger disorder" contributes much to the discussion regarding mood and developmental disorders. And like the article briefly says, what's the use in pathologizing a reaction that might very well be a symptom to a real underlying cause (e.g. bipolar, schizophrenia, brain tumor, brain damage) considering that reaction, i.e. anger, is itself a relatively common and basic human emotion. Further, there is much ambiguity: what does "explosive" mean and when does it happen? When is anger, explosive or otherwise, an "over-reaction" to a "trivial" cause? When is anger itself inappropriate?

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