Concentrating to Jog Your Memory

Concentrating to Jog Your Memory

What are the brain mechanisms at work when playing the children's game "Concentration"? Do adults benefit from playing it?

Kids seem to remember the tiniest of details from everywhere. But as adults we’ve all had our blurry moments – when all that information gets lost in the jungle of neurons and refuses to leave the tip o’ the tongue, driving us a little crazy. Tinkering with memory using simple card games and extensive brain training has been under the lens lately. But could a game like Concentration help you concentrate? Let’s find out.

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Can chewing gum improve my test scores?

Can chewing gum improve my test scores?

Does chewing gum help with memorization? Can chewing gum during a test improve your test scores?

Well ... maybe.

There is a strong effect of context on memory recall. You'll probably perform better on a test if you take it in the same room where you memorized the information included in the test. The same holds true for chomping on a stick of Juicy Fruit. ...

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Ask a Neuroscientist: Restless Legs Syndrome

Ask a Neuroscientist: Restless Legs Syndrome

Is restless leg syndrome a neurological disorder? What could be the root cause and is there any cure?

I fell deep into a rabbit hole of RLS and related research in writing this article. RLS is a neurological disorder, and we have some tantalizing clues about its cause--but there are far more questions than answers at this point. But two candidates are dopamine and iron. 

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Ask a Neuroscientist: Thinking Beyond the Halle Berry Neuron

Ask a Neuroscientist: Thinking Beyond the Halle Berry Neuron

Is it possible to measure the occurrence of a thought and its corresponding firing neuron - does the thought have to be present in a firing neuron, for it to exist? If so, which comes first - or are they one and the same thing?

These questions cut right to the heart of what many neuroscientists find fascinating about the brain and why we choose to study it. Essentially all neuroscientists believe that thoughts are purely an effect of firing neurons. But which one comes first? And can individual neurons be responsible for individual thoughts? 

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Eureka! The neuroscience of creative insights

Eureka! The neuroscience of creative insights

"If the brain is recalling a flash bulb memory, what would the average firing rate of neurons be in a human?"

The answer is: more than zero, (probably) less than a grand mal seizure.

A more compelling version of this question might be: "What is the neural process that underlies an "ah ha!" moment?" Or, in other words, what is our brain doing when we leap out of our baths yelling "eureka"? To help answer this question, I dig up a video of Dr. Mark Beeman, who studies the cognition of insight and creativity. 

Image source: Mike Rohde (flickrCC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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