Want to be smarter and better at concentrating? Want to improve your memory and protect yourself against dementia? Brain-training programs promise all this and more – but do they work? Do brain-training games make you smarter? Image credit: dire schaefer via Flickr The claims The logic behind brain training is simple. Carry out a mental task repeatedly, and you get better at it. It could be memorising a string of numbers, or fitting together a […]
Time has stopped. The world around you has disappeared. You are completely immersed in whatever you’re doing. Anything is possible and you feel invincible. What’s going on in your brain when you’re ‘in the zone’? Going with the flow Do you call it being ‘in the zone’? Or perhaps ‘in the groove’? If you’ve ever felt completely engrossed in a task to the point that nothing could distract you, you’ve experienced what psychologists call ‘flow’. […]
Are you good with faces? Would you be able to recognise someone you’ve only met once before? Some of us are better at remembering faces than others. But most of us take for granted being able to recognise our family and friends. What if you couldn’t? Face-blindness Being able to recognise my partner, kids and parents is something I completely take for granted. But for one in fifty people, it’s by no means a given. That’s how […]
According to some headlines, red wine is the elixir of life and a miracle cure-all. Is there any truth behind the hype?
Before goji berries, chia seeds and spirulina, there was honey. The second sweetest thing found in nature, honey is the original superfood. Not only is it extremely tasty, honey has been used in medicine since ancient Egyptian times. What is it about honey that makes it so special? The magic of bee vomit The earliest written reference to honey hails from about 2000 BC: a Sumerian clay tablet refers to its use as a drug and […]
Virtually all amputees experience ongoing sensations in their missing limb, and many also experience intense pain: phantom limb pain. How on earth can you treat pain in a body part that doesn’t exist? And what is causing the pain in the first place?
Stop right now and listen. What can you hear? I’m betting you can hear something: it’s a noisy world we live in. You’re probably well aware that too much noise is bad for you. New research suggests it’s time we embraced the power of silence.
Did you know the winter blues, aka Seasonal Affective Disorder, can be treated with light therapy? You’re probably aware that the blue light emitted by your phone and computer may be wreaking havoc with your sleep. But could light also be affecting your health and mood in other ways? Let there be light Danielle Feinberg, Pixar’s director of photography, argues that light is the magical ingredient that brings animated worlds to life. For example, without […]
We’ve all heard learning a second (or third) language is good for you. And research has shown bilingual brains are different to the brains of people who speak only a single language. But what exactly are the advantages of being bilingual?
Bats, bears and some birds do it, but humans can’t: hibernation. Animals hibernate to save energy through long cold winters. Sounds appealing, doesn't it? NASA wants to know if human hibernation is possible. Why? Because it because it would make the trip to Mars a hell of a lot less boring.