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Expand Your Mind: Brain Exploration

by Miki Saxon

There’s a lot of exciting exploration going on these days in space and under the sea, but some of the most exciting is the ongoing exploration of the human brain.

Most people recognize a certain validity in the old maxim ‘clothes make the person’, but would you believe that clothes can actually improve cognitive ability?

If you wear a white coat that you believe belongs to a doctor, your ability to pay attention increases sharply. But if you wear the same white coat believing it belongs to a painter, you will show no such improvement.

Oh, goody; once again corporate America is hijacking brain research to sell more (just what we all need) stuff.

…neuromarketing…helped researchers decode secrets such as why people love artificially colored snack food and how to predict whether a pop song will be a hit or a flop.

This next essay looks at how love affects your brain and you might wonder about its business application, but the information on how relationships change brain chemistry is as applicable to you and your boss and business colleagues as it is to you and your romantic partner—more so, perhaps, considering the hours spent in work-related relationships exceeds those spent on personal ones.

A RELATIVELY new field, called interpersonal neurobiology, draws its vigor from one of the great discoveries of our era: that the brain is constantly rewiring itself based on daily life.

Have you ever wondered why you acted/reacted a certain way? Could it be because of a cat you have, had or visited at some point?

Jaroslav Flegr believes a “latent” parasite may be quietly tweaking the connections between our neurons, changing our response to frightening situations, our trust in others, how outgoing we are, and even our preference for certain scents.

And before you start laughing, consider the words of Stanford’s Robert Sapolsky, “My guess is that there are scads more examples of this going on in mammals, with parasites we’ve never even heard of.”

Finally, an all natural, fully organic, multi-useful way to improve brain function—and it’s free! Additional benefits include potentially improved business functions and a myriad of benefits to your social life from more ways to meet chicks/guys to choosing restaurants and enjoying vacations.

Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter. It can have a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age.

Flickr image credit: pedroelcarvalho

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