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Dreaming on Demand: Becoming A Lucid Dreamer

Lucid dreaming is the act of dreaming while maintaining consciousness during the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep. This type of dreaming allows you to tell yourself that “you are dreaming” without waking up. Awake consciousness, if used correctly, gives one the opportunity to keep on participating in the dream while defining it to be something else. [ … ]

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Road Map of the Mind: Understanding Functional MRI

What if I told you it was possible to read, or even hear, your thoughts? Mind reading has been the stuff of science fiction for some time — something that 50 years ago would have been thought impossible. Even today, there’s quite a bit of doubt, but what can be seen is the activity across brain regions each time we produce thoughts. While sending messages through brain waves [ … ]

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The Transposed Mind: How Self-Aware Are We?

When it comes to capturing and transferring the activity of the mind, imagine some sort of neural scanner that can read the on/off states of every neuron in your brain, and is then able to transpose these into a computer program or even into another human brain. Might the “I” you can feel living in your body shake its new head, blink its eyes, and say “I think, therefore I am”? [ … ]

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Discovering 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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Meet Your Brain’s GPS: The Hippocampus

Your brain probably doesn’t enjoy waking up early anymore than you do — a complicated task of taking in the first daylight and establishing your surroundings, just before you check your alarm clock and realize you’ve got about a half hour until your morning commute. From then on, there’s probably a hundred other decisions [ … ]

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Food for the Body, Food for the Mind

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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Until Inspiration Comes Along: 5 Habits of Creative People

You may still be a writer in search of an agent, or an artist in search of a patron, but you’re determined to get that first creative endeavor finished some time this year and show the world what you’ve got. Here are just a few habits that creative people — many of them well-known — practice daily. Feel free to make them your own, and pretty soon you’ll be creating your masterwork. [ … ]

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How To Survive Your Teenager’s Brain

We all know the story of Romeo and Juliet: Two teenagers fall instantaneously and deeply in love despite their families’ being bitter enemies. Believing themselves to be “star-crossed lovers,” they seize the moment and secretly marry. Eventually they and their best friends die. The theme of the play is [ … ]

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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 [ … ]