Saturday, July 26, 2008

Brain Blogging brain carnival 37

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The paradox of choice

The paradox of choice has been an interesting topic of recent. An
article in SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN suggests that making too many choices
or decisions depletes limited thinking resources (executive functions)
with a subsequent drop off in quality of decisions as you make more.
You can read a brief summary at the blog link below which also
includes a link to the lengthier SA article.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Top ten brain fitness trends

Sharp Brains has a nice post re: their top ten predicted trends in the
growing brain fitness movement. See link below.

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Migraines explained

Thanks to MIND HACKS for providing a brief summary to the Scientific
American article that has been making the blogosphere rounds re: new
insights into the causes of migraines.

I used to suffer 10-12 of these a year and now am almost migraine
free. The article made sense to me as I used to explain my migraines
as being a major electrical storm in my head, that when done, gave me
a sense of if someone had hit a brain reset button and
shocked all my neurons back to a clean starting state.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Computerized cognitive testing


Sharp Brains has a good post summarizing the recent activity in large
scale computerized cognitive testing. See link below.

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Smart girls and boys use different parts of brains?


From ENL a study suggesting what prior research has suggested in the
past-boys and girls tax different parts of their brains when
performing certain activities.

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

PS to prior post

Yes. Lots of spelling errors in prior FYI post. I'm still learning to
type with my two thumbs on my iPhone keyboard. It is not that easy.
Hang with me. Thanks.

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On the road

I'm on the road I'm Dallas TX. Tomorrow I present at the National
School Neuropsychology Congerence. Posts will be minimal to none. I
shall return on Friday.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Developmental coordination disorders: Special journal issue

Given the critical importance of the brain clock in motor coordination and functioning, readers of the IQ Brain Clock blog might want to check out a post at my sister blog (IQs Corner) that features a special issue of Human Movement Science dealing with developmental coordination disorder.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Is your time perspective making you happy or miserable?

I just skimmed a thought provoking article in Time and Society by Drake et al (2008) on peoples "time perspectives." Although not dealing specifically with the milli-second level processing of the brain clock (the primary focus of the IQ Brain Clock Blog), I found the time-related article thought-provoking. I was unfamilar with the research suggesting it is possible to measure and categorize a persons "time perspective" (TP) and, more importantly, relate different patterns of TP's to level of general happiness.

First, below is the abstract of the specific article. I was less interested in the objectives and findings of the current study (relating TP to "mindfullness"), and was more captivated by the overview of the TP literature in the introduction.

  • ABSTRACT. This study investigated correlates of five time perspectives (TPs) and the Balanced Time Perspective (BTP) construct proposed by Zimbardo and colleagues. Two hundred and sixty Scottish participants completed the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory (ZTPI: Zimbardo and Boyd, 1999), Subjective Happiness Scale (Lyubomirsky and Lepper, 1999) and Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (Brown and Ryan, 2003). The most prevalent TP profile was moderate to high scores on all five TPs of the ZTPI. BTP participants were significantly happier and more mindful. Happiness and mindfulness were positively correlated but a future TP did not correlate with subjective happiness.
It appears that the predominant researchers in the TP field are Zimbardo and colleagues. Below are the gems I pulled from the introduction:

TP is define by "the manner in which individuals, and cultures, partition the flow of human experience into distinct temporal categories of past, present and future." Past, present and future temporal frames can be measured and subdivided into five categories These are:
  • Past Negative (PN) - a pessimistic attitude towards the past and possibly the experience of traumaticlife events.
  • Past Positive (PP) - a more sentimental and positive view of one’s past.
  • Present Hedonistic (PH) - associated with the desire for spontaneous pleasure with slight regard to risk or concern for future consequences.
  • Present Fatalistic (PF) - defined as a lack of hope for the future and belief that uncontrollable forces determine one’s fate.
  • Future (F) - characterized by reward dependence that occurs as a result of achieving specific long-term goals.
The literature review suggests that certain TP's are associated with more negative life outcomes and feelings while others are more associated with more positive outcomes (you can read the entire literature review yourself for specifics).

According to researchers, the healthiest goal is to strive to achieve a "Balanced Time Perspective" (BTP) that is characterized, statistically, as moderate to high scores for the PP, PH, and F factors and relatively low scores for the PN and PF factors. This would translate into a person who has the ability to hold past present and future time perspectives concurrently (keeping the positive past, present fun stuff, and goal-oriented future collectively in one's day-to-day thinking) and to be able to move between each perspective to adopt the one that is most appropriate to the current situation.

According to Zimbardo et al., having a balanced time perspective (BTP) is central to function at the top of ones game in day to day living. "By that they mean that the individual will reap psychological benefits if they are able to ‘work hard when there is a mission to be accomplished, but play hard when the work is done’ "

Interesting and thought provking concepts. I'd like to find a copy of the survey and measure and categorize my time perspective.

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Brain Clock Research Bytes # 1: Parkinsons, schizophrenia, and temporal pattern recognition

I found time to quickly skim a number of interesting journal articles this afternoon. Check out the following research bytes:
  • Yet another study (Jones et al., in press, Brain and Cognition) linking the brain clock to Parkinson's with the usual cast of neuroscience characters implicated (basal ganglia; dopamine). A snipet from the authors conclusions "the data suggest that the integrity of the basal ganglia is necessary for ‘typical’ time production in the seconds range as well as for time reproduction at shorter intervals"
  • In a prior post I reviewed one of the key brain clock research articles (see right side of this blog) by Buhusi and Meck 2006), where they implicated the brain clock in a variety of mental disorders, including schizophrenia. I just skimmed another article "in press" in Brain and Cognition (see link above in prior bulleted byte), this type by Carroll et al., that suggests a deficit in auditory temporal processing precision in schizophrenics.
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