Our Working Brain, Working Memory – Part 2

Last month’s column introduced the concept of our working brain, the set of emotion/attention systems that identify and focus on current challenges. Our working brain must differentiate between what’s currently more and less important (foreground and background), focus on the foreground, and monitor the background in case something important occurs there. Our working brain is…

A Celebration of the Ordinary: The Key Role of the Arts In Educating a Brain

Artifacts from early human societies suggest that the arts were always important. If the arts hadn’t been important, people wouldn’t have expended the considerable time and energy it took to decorate clothing and tools, and to make non-functional artistic objects (such as necklaces)—given the primitive tools and materials available to them. The arts have endured,…

Mirror Neurons

The development of a smoothly controlled motor system is a major childhood priority. Suckling is almost the first mobile act of an infant, followed by the brain-outward maturation of the arm and leg systems—eating before grasping before walking. Since mobility is a central human characteristic, these innate systems must develop early at the survival level…

Cognitive and Motor Degeneration

All four of my grandparents had died before I was born. Seventy-five years later, I enjoy lucid physical interactions with my eighteen grandchildren, and hope to continue similarly at some point with great-grandchildren. Knock on wood. The Big Three medical problems have historically involved external invasions (infectious disease), internal insurrections (malignancies), and the inevitability of…