The Question of Taste

Of the five senses, taste seems to be the one that we take personally. People will identify themselves as having a “sweet tooth” as opposed to being a “salt junky”. Many cultures are defined on the basis of their traditional cuisine–we often are more familiar with a country’s basic dishes than we are with its…

The Exploring Versus the Exploiting Brain

In a new study published in Psychological Science, neuroscientists Moshe Bar, director of the Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center at Bar-Ilan University and a professor at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, concluded that the less our minds our loaded the more capacity we have for creative thought. This seems logical, of course, but Dr.…

Reward Circuits of the Teenage Brain Activated by Peers

It’s no secret that teenagers are influenced by their peers. Now, a new study conducted by researchers at UCLA’s Ahmanson–Lovelace Brain Mapping Center looked specifically at how teen brains reacted to “likes” of photos on social media. The main finding was that alarge number of likes resulted in activity across a variety of brain structures.…

A Criticism Of Brain Training – And An Answer To It

An interesting paper came across my radar week – “Placebo effects in cognitive training” published in PNAS (with a paywall, unfortunately). In this paper, the authors investigate the effect that people’s expectations might have on the results of brain-training experiments. Every research study needs to recruit people to participate, and a common way is to…

It’s the Simple Stuff That Makes You––And Your Brain––Happy

Sometimes when we want to change our mood, we overlook the small stuff and focus on the big stuff. Instead of looking at what’s simple and right in front of us, we tend to look beyond into the aspirational abyss. Let’s say you’re not feeling so great and you’re looking for a little stimuli to…