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“FOLK NEUROSCIENCE Popular misconceptions ■ The "left-brain" is rational, the "right-brain" is creative The hemispheres have different specialisations (the left usually has key language areas, for example) but there is no clear rational-creative split and you need both hemispheres to be successful at either. You can no more do right-brain thinking than you can do rear-brain thinking.■ Dopamine is a pleasure chemical Dopamine has many functions in the brain, from supporting concentration to regulating the production of breast milk. Even in its most closely associated functioning it is usually considered to be involved in motivation (wanting) rather than the feeling of pleasure itself.■ Low serotonin causes depression A concept almost entirely promoted by pharmaceutical companies in the 1980s and 90s to sell serotonin-enhancing drugs like Prozac. No consistent evidence for it.■ Video games, TV violence, porn or any other social spectre of the moment "rewires the brain" Everything "rewires the brain" as the brain works by making and remaking connections. This is often used in a contradictory fashion to suggest that the brain is both particularly susceptible to change but once changed, can't change back.■ We have no control over our brain but we can control our mind The mind and the brain are the same thing described in different ways and they make us who we are. Trying to suggest one causes the other is like saying wetness causes water.”—Vaughan Bell debunks the myths of “folk neuroscience.” Also see how neuroscience became popular culture.
“Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy — every dollar. Today our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer’s. They’re developing drugs to regenerate damaged organs, devising new materials to make batteries 10 times more powerful. Now is not the time to gut these job-creating investments in science and innovation.”—Barack Obama, “Project Seeks to Build Map of Human Brain,” 2013
Avoid Some of the Main Brain Damaging Habits
1. No Breakfast – People who don’t eat breakfast have lower blood sugar levels. This can lead to an insufficient supply of nutrients to the brain (and to underperformance in terms of thinking, processing , retrieval and memory skills).
2. Overreacting – This can flood the brain with chemical which interferes with clear thinking, logical analysis and memory.
3. Smoking – This can cause a shrinkage in the brain, and possibly lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
4. High Sugar Consumption – Consuming too much sugar interferes with the absorption of proteins and nutrients. These are essential for healthy brain development.
5. Air Pollution – The brain is the largest oxygen consumer in our body. Inhaling polluted air decreases the supply of oxygen to the brain. Again, this can reduce and interfere with the brain’s healthy functioning.
6. Sleep Deprivation – Sleep allows our brain to rest and rejuvenate itself. Long term sleep deprivation accelerates the death of brain cells. It interferes with putting down new memory traces, effective problem solving and memory retention.
7. Exercising your Brain in Times of Illness – Working or studying during times of sickness can lead to a ineffective thinking, poor processing, and to poor memory and retention.
8. Lack of Stimulation – Thinking is the best way to train our brain. Lack of stimulation can prevent new neural pathways from forming. It can also prevent us from reaching our potential in terms of creative thinking and analytical thinking.
Source: The World Health Organisation
How Caffeine Can Cramp Creativity
—Maria Konnikova on how caffeine short-circuits creativity: http://nyr.kr/15dRvAQ
Caffeine prevents our focus from becoming too diffuse; it instead hones our attention in a hyper-vigilant fashion.