This One Little Game Will Make You Smarter—But Why?
Brain training is big business, with a multitude of online apps and a huge variety of exercises. It’s also a battleground of hotly contested claims. Studies appear denouncing all brain training as worthless, and these are countered by claims for every conceivable benefit from IQ increase to preventing Alzheimer’s. In the middle of all this […]more
Thinking is Only Thinking
Brains are not computers: they come with bodies. Whenever we think, the entire body, from head to toe, is in full activation. Check for yourself: there’s a constant flow of sensations running alongside the chatter in your mind. You cannot just think. You also feel. Part of that flow is what we call “emotions.” Emotions […]more
Why Brains Love Braincat
Braincat looks like a piece of software, but it’s actually a mental process. The software just makes the process easy to do. The Braincat process allows you to take a mass of unsorted stuff — ideas and information — and quickly organize it. Then you can think clearly, and take action. What kind of information […]more
The biggest threat to mental mobility is anxiety. When we are anxious, we tighten the mind. Few things produce this effect quite so rapidly as an overload of information. Unfortunately the experience of TMI—too much information —has become pandemic, a direct result of digital technologies. Anxiety triggers our fight-or-flight response. This is one of the […]more
Use It or Eat It
The sea squirt is much beloved by neuroscientists. It has a brain, but with only 177 neurons—somewhat less than our estimated 100 billion. So it’s possible to make a complete map of its cognitive apparatus. But here’s what’s interesting. The sea squirt starts out looking rather like a tadpole, and it swims around searching for […]more
In Praise of Fuzzy Goals
Goals are good, right? And SMART goals are better, of course. Or not. Beware of anything that gets repeated this often, especially when it includes the term “smart” — surely one of the dumbest, most irritating words in the current lexicon. SMART goals, in case you haven’t been told a hundred times, are goals that […]more
Is Information Making Us Stupid?
Our lives are awash with information: in the palm of my hand, I have simultaneous access to the lifestyle of the Korowai Tribe of Guinea, the interest rate on a 13-week Treasury Bill, expert advice on canine dental care, Kant’s entire critique of pure reason, and my wife’s current location. Does that make me smarter? […]more