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“Tasting” Yellow, “Hearing” Orange

While exploring tide pools with her husband, Carol Steen jumped from a rock and tore a ligament in her knee. “At the point of impact, everything I saw suddenly became orange,” she recalls. “My husband was orange. The waves were dark orange, and the sand was light orange.” For Steen, orange is the color of pain. She has synesthesia, a condition in which the senses are cross-wired. […]

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Time in a Bottle: The Mystery of Déjà Vu

You’ve probably recently had a moment wherein you’ve stopped and realized that, in some subtle detail, it all seems familiar: the same person waiting in line for coffee, wearing the same shirt, or the same car passing you on the way to work every morning. What’s happening? Many claim they’re having a moment that the English language doesn’t quite have a word for. […]

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It’s All In Your Mind?

In the 17th century, something amazing happened in western medicine: Anton van Leeuwenhoek of Holland invented the microscope and discovered the biological nature of disease. Once a scientific basis for illness had been identified, the effectiveness of treatments could be observed and measured for the first time. […]

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Food for the Mind, Food for the Body

When determining what to consume, both in terms of food and information, it is helpful to have a standard with which to judge the effects of our choices. For food, it is helpful to have a sense of what it feels like to be truly healthy. It is possible to feel what the food you eat is doing to you when the senses of your body are restored to a natural equilibrium. But what kind of standard should we use for the mind? […]

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Finding the Spark: Five Myths About Creativity

Our brains have the power to find a path where none is visible, and to make new paths where none have been set. But we tend to be confined to the personality we have experienced, to the self we know, and find it difficult to move beyond it. This limits our own creativity. It is when we go beyond what we know and what we have experienced […]

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Meeting The Deadline: Workaholics and their Brains

It may sound surprising, but studies show that workaholics have distinct neurological and psychiatric profiles similar to those addicted to narcotics. In the United States, people tend to see workaholism as a good thing. A man dedicated to his family. A woman determined to reach the top. But scientists are increasingly finding that workaholics are typically less productive […]

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Are Brain Games Effective?

Go into any bookstore and you’re sure to see them: entire shelves full of brain teasers, puzzles, crosswords, sudoku, etc. These books are loaded with all sorts of mental exercises and brain games that supposedly will improve your brain fitness and function simply by playing them. You can find thousands of these sorts of brain boosters online […]

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Happiness By The Numbers

Are you happy? Fewer questions are more open-ended or catch us by surprise than this one. How happy should we be and how often? Our usual instinct is to say “yes” — but we probably answer more reluctantly than usual. It’s a moment when it’s almost impossible to not compare the life […]

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5 Ways to Increase Your Motivation

Motivation pushes you to perform certain behaviors to achieve results. But what exactly is motivation, and how can you give yours a boost? Motivation is based on reward prediction and value-based decision-making. It is your brain’s way of pushing you to perform certain behaviors […]

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Your Brain on Jazz

Listening to the velvet nuances of jazz may be a musical dessert for the ears, but it can also help reduce anxiety and improve one’s focus. Asked why jazz could have such an effect, Dr. Mark Jude Tramo, a professor at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, says that, “jazz stretches […]