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Music, Rhythm, and the Brain

Music is part of our life. Music has had deep roots in human culture throughout history. Listening to, enjoying, or playing music sometimes gives us pleasure, sadness, comfort, and even touches us deeply, causing life-changing experiences. Why does music have such a powerful affect on our brain? [ … ]

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Balance Your Energy … And Your Brain

Calmness and assertiveness are the energies of the two main branches of our autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system plays a major role in sensory awareness, emotions, behaviors, and basic organ-system functioning. Its two main branches are the sympathetic and parasympathetic, and they are managed by subcortical brain structures. [ … ]

aging

This Is Your Brain on Stress

Hey there. It’s me, your brain. Thanks for taking me on this walk in the woods, it’s just what I needed. Ah, nature. So lovely. So relaxing. Wait, wow, what was that noise? Over there, coming from those bushes right next to the path? That huge thing covered in black fur, rearing up on its hind legs and baring its teeth? A bear, you say? Okay. No problem. [ … ]

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Colorful Language: How Synesthetes Perceive Words

Although the phenomenon of synesthesia has been known for centuries, it is only in the last 20 years or so (since scientists developed brain-imaging technology) that synesthesia has been seriously studied. In 1995, Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen, a Cambridge University neuroscientist, headed a team that undertook brain-imaging studies [ … ]

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At A Loss for Words: Your Brain on Writer’s Block

He’d lost his magic. The impulse was spent. His talent was dead.” So opens “The Humbling,” one of the last novels by celebrated author Philip Roth. Although it tells the story of a washed up stage actor at the end of his career, these three short sentences sum up what every writer dreads the most — losing whatever it is that drives them to write every day, finding themselves unable to do the very thing that keeps them relevant. [ … ]

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“Yanny” Versus “Laurel”: When Your “Reality” is Open to Interpretation

It’s the return of the great “What color is this dress?” controversy of 2015, but in audio form. By the time I had heard “Laurel” I immediately began researching the reasons for the differences of opinion. Some had said age matters, or what kind of speakers you are listening to with, or if you have some kind of hearing loss, but I had a chance to immediately put this to the test. [ … ]

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The Mind Always Grows

“Grams, are you still growing?” my 4-year-old grandson recently asked me. Did his parents tell him that when you get older you stop growing, i.e., that you don’t get taller? Or did he think that because one of his grandparents had passed away a few weeks earlier [ … ]