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The Power of Green

It’s not just fresh air that helps clear your mind when you take a walk in the park — simply being around plants and trees has a beneficial effect, too. What can numb pain, make you a better person, and help you concentrate … ? A plant. It may sound far-fetched, but it’s true. While big pharmaceutical companies spend billions trying to come up with new medications to [ … ]

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Inside The Dream Mind

What goes on inside your brain when you’re dreaming? Well, as it happens, no one seems to know exactly. Not the mystics with the crystal balls, not the dream interpreters, and not even, as you might suspect, scientists. While several theories are floating about in both the scientific and non-scientific worlds about what dreams are [ … ]

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How to Keep Calm and Carry On

One of my scientific heroes, positive psychology researcher Barbara Fredrickson, published a study a few years ago showing that the largest variable in determining our level of life satisfaction is “resilience” – the ability to bounce back quickly from life’s small and large upsets. It wasn’t having [ … ]

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Using Your Brain to Control Stress

The brain is both the source of stress and the key to managing it. Stress is a biological response to a challenging physical or emotional situation. Studies have shown that stress is dependent on the amount of control a person feels she or he has over a situation. People who feel powerless, confused or overwhelmed have much higher than average levels of stress. [ … ]

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Call in the (Cognitive) Reserves!

How many paths does your brain have? Our thoughts run across a massive, diverse network of synaptic pathways, with trillions of synapses that form a staggering number of possible connections. Every human brain has more potential synaptic combinations than there are atoms in the universe [ … ]

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Exploring the Uncanny Valley

With bright red lips, rosy cheeks, and painted smiles, clowns are creepy. They make us balloons shaped like puppies, dance, and tell jokes — they even come out of small clown cars, all to make us laugh. So why are these (supposedly) beloved clowns so unnerving? It’s because of the “uncanny valley” [ … ]

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How Being Bilingual (As A Child) Betters Your Brain

It used to be the general consensus that being bilingual was not good for children. The practice was frowned upon by teachers and education experts because it was believed that trying to speak two languages at the same time confused children and made it difficult for them to learn either language properly. Now, however, thanks to researchers [ … ]