May 14 2010

Ten myths about the human brain


I want to remember everything as I get older!

Science continues to expand our understanding of how the brain works. This mysterious organ that drives the entire machine suffers from being greatly misunderstood. Here are ten common misconceptions about the brain that should set you straight.

1. Humans only use 10% of their brain. Perhaps one of the greatest misconceptions of our time, this myth is empirically false. Originating from the idea that perhaps only about 10% of the neurons of the brain are operating at any given moment, but this concept is decidedly different than not using the other 90%. The truth is closer to the idea that we only push ourselves to about 10% of our entire capacity.

2. Video games will damage the brain. In this day and age of video gaming, this myth is also fairly inaccurate. Even though the advent of video gaming is a recent phenomenon and there is not a great deal of study about it, researchers have found the playing video games actually teaches your brain to process information in great amounts and much faster, thus improving brain power.


My brain can only take so much!

3. The bigger the better. There has never been any substantial evidence that the size on one’s brain makes you smarter. Men’s brains are by a rule larger than women’s, thereby debunking this myth immediately. If the brain is not used, it won’t matter what the size.

4. A damaged brain cannot regenerate. Science now has empirical evidence that the brain can engage in neurogenesis, a form of cellular rebuilding, although it’s not guaranteed.

5. Aging leads to a loss of memory. While it is a common condition, it is not a given that age will weaken the ability to remember. An active brain can be exercised with regular thinking and a healthy diet.

6. The brain is riddled with holes. A completely false mythology, referring perhaps instead to the parts of the brain where neurons are not firing.

7. Depression begins in the brain. This is not only a myth but a dangerous one as well. People who believe that depression is just a series of “bad thoughts” can do real harm. Depression is a much more complicated condition caused by any number of reasons. No one decides to be depressed.


I never knew all this goes on inside my head.

8. Left Brain, Right Brain. The truth is, no one operates from solely the left or right brain. Some people may be stronger on one side or the other, but all humans use both sides of the brain.

9. The brain is a giant computer. Just the opposite, the brain is so much more complicated than any computer, that it’s an insult to one’s brain to make this comparison. It was probably started because the first computers were roughly based on what was known about the brain at the time.

10. We learn better through a subliminal approach. While listening to information while in a relaxed or even sleep state works well for some, it is just as likely that it won’t work for others. We all learn in our own best way.

Feb 10 2010

Breaking an Addiction : An introductory course


I am so confused

Addictions manifest in many ways. Some turn a fun hobby like shopping into a financial nightmare. Other times, addictions pose health risks, especially when the addiction is drug or alcohol related. It really does not matter what you are addicted to. The only thing that matters is that you realize that you have a problem and are ready to take the steps needed to take your life back. In this fight, your mind is your biggest ally. It has all the power you need to get back on a healthy track.

You need to get to the root of your problem. Your problem is not with any substance or activity. Your problem is with what drove you to seek refuge in an addiction. Maybe it is to fight boredom. Maybe it is to get a rush. Whatever it is, you need to figure out what drives you to put your life on hold for an addiction. When you have it singled out, find healthy alternatives to receive the feelings that you crave.

Notice what is going on around you when you get an urge to partake in you addiction. If you figure out your trigger, you can plan to avoid any situation that will make you weak. In the beginning of the fight with addiction, you will need to stay away from obvious stressors and triggers in your life. Eventually, you can work up the strength to stare down the habit and walk away clean.


I am addicted to Smoking

The next step in this basic method comes in week two. Make a note every time you want to indulge in your addiction, and also make a note of what’s going on around you at the time. For example:

Cigarette craving 1:00

Just ate lunch

Smoked 1 cigarette

By keeping track of what happens when you have a craving or a need to do something, you can find your triggers, and make yourself realize what causes the urge – and then find a way around it. If you always have a cigarette after lunch, try something new in your routine for at least three weeks. For example, instead of going to a café where smoking is allowed, eat lunch at a different restaurant. Don’t give yourself time to smoke after you finish eating, either. Go right back to work. We are creatures of habit, and addictions are all about breaking these habits. Did you know that you can form a new habit in as little as 27 days? Don’t use chemical dependency as an excuse. Once the withdrawal phase is over, your road blocks are purely in your mind.


Addictive Gambling

Your new daily routines and habits should reflect your new life. Do not stay in the same patterns that you did while you were in full throws of addiction. This trap sets you up to fall back in to repeated patterns, including the ones that drove you to addiction. Vary what you do day to day. This will keep you open to better and more healthy life choices.

As you face your addiction, remember this fight will be for your life. You need to stay strong and take back control of your life. You can and will do it if you put your mind to it.

Oct 2 2008

9 Brain Habits You Didn’t Realize You Had…

Brain is certainly the most amazing part of human body. It becomes more interesting when it does not work the way you expect it should. Psychology frequently establishes our intuitions about how human mind works, but it reveals a number of surprises as well…

Although some psychology students will have heard one or two of these before, here’s a list of brain habits you probably didn’t realize you had:

1) The maximum capacity of your short-term memory is seven.

short-term memory is seven

Humans have basically three forms of memory: Sensory, Long-term and Short-term. Long-term memory is just like hard-drive space. Similarly, Short-term memory functions like a very small RAM. This Short-term memory is capable to hold only about five to nine (seven is an average) items at a time.

Retrieving information longer than this will need you to either pack it together into seven units or store it in Long-term memory. Have you observed that the most phone numbers have only seven digits?

2) The most visible color is Chartreuse.

most visible color is Chartreuse

Yellowish green, chartreuse, is naturally placed right in the middle of the frequencies of visible light. Human eyes have receptors for green, blue and red colors. Being placed in the middle, chartreuse actuates the most of these receptors to fire, making it distinct and easier to spot. For the same reason, in some metropolises, firetrucks have been modified from red to a yellowish green color to make them more visible and obvious to the eye.

3) Subconscious is smarter than you.

Subconscious is smarter than you

Subconscious is smarter than you. In other words, it is more powerful. In a recent study, a square was attributed to a location on a computer screen through a complex pattern. After watching it out, people began to get results better than the chance of recognizing where the square would crop up next. However, when they were inquired to consciously find out the pattern, even given a few hours, nobody really did it!

4) There are two nervous systems.

There are two nervous systems

We have two sets of nervous systems. One controls excitation, while the other controls inhibition. If you hold out your hand, you might observe minor tremors. This is actually stimulated by slight, random differences in the amount each of the two systems are firing.

5) Brain is exceptionally bad at probability.

Brain is exceptionally bad at probability

Your high-school math teacher might have told you about this one. Here what’s interesting isn’t that your brain is bad at probability. But how? In one study, recipients were asked:

Jessica is 31 years old, single, candid, and very promising. She graduated in philosophy. As a student, she was anxious about discrimination issues and social justice, and also took part in anti-nuclear demonstrations.

Assign a rank to the following statements from most probable to least probable: Jessica is a teacher in an elementary school.

  1. Jessica works in a bookstore and takes Yoga classes.
  2. Jessica is active in the feminist movement.
  3. Jessica is a psychiatric social worker.
  4. Jessica is a member of the League of Women Voters.
  5. Jessica is a bank teller.
  6. Jessica is an insurance salesperson.
  7. Jessica is a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement.

Nearly 90% of students responded that #7 was more probable than #5. This is despite the fact that to be a bank teller and in the feminist movement is entirely contained within the set of #5 (just being a bank teller). It is observable that our minds like to think more details make events more probable, not less.

6) Memory isn’t great either.

Memory isn’t great either

Research has revealed that people are highly probable to misremember past events. Even worse, it is quite easy to suggest a memory that never happened. Due to this fact, so-called “repressed” memories should be given a lot of consideration. It is extremely easier to suggest a memory of a situation that never encountered, than it is to recover one that actually did.

7) Depth is perceivable with one eye.

Depth is perceivable with one eye

It’s not quite true that depth perception is totally the result of having two eyes. Binocular vision does help in making a three-dimensional image. Still, most of your capability to perceive depth comes from inside your brain. It has been wired to look at angles and proportions to measure distance.

If you needed two eyes to perceive depth, then most optical illusions wouldn’t work and it would be extremely difficult to gather information from two-dimensional images. Not to mention a great number of one-eyed pirates walking overboard.

8 ) Long-term memory closes up during sleep.

Long-term memory closes up during sleep

The components of the brain that carry information to Long-term memory turn off while sleeping. For the same reason, dreams quickly fade out after you wake up. Although you may have quite a few dreams in a night, they aren’t being memorialized into Long-term memory. Normally only the fragments of a dream left in Short-term memory have a possibility to be converted after you wake up.

9) The Brain has an amazing instant playback feature.

Brain has an amazing instant playback feature

The last form of memory, i.e. Sensory memory is actually your brain’s equivalent to an instant playback feature. Functioning for both your vision and hearing, your thalamus can resend signals a few seconds after they were originally sent.

Let’s suppose being at a party and overhearing someone call your name. Often you can recall what they said even if you were concentrating on another conversation. This is because your sensory memory re-sends the signals when it feels something important, such as your name. If you missed this form of memory, activities such as multitasking or taking notes from a speaker would not be practicable for you.

If you’re supposed to repeat something you just said because the other person wasn’t hearing, just wait for a few seconds. Often they can replay the message in their head and cause to a reaction.

Jul 26 2008

Let your Mind start a journey…

Mind Power

Only to those who have “reading” minds inside their heads- welcome to MindCafé.org! :D Let your mind start a journey thru a strange new world. Leave all thoughts of this world you knew before. Let your soul take you where you long to be… Close your eyes, let your spirit start to soar, and with truly understanding and harnessing the mind power, you’ll live as you’ve never lived before. Soon you will feel the appeal and experience the allurement of our blog… We promise!
Keep that in mind: the power of mind is unlimited…