Brain Training and Its Critics

When I was in college, I took a lot of science courses. Really, a lot — maybe even too many. And mostly what they taught me was how scientists believed the world worked — right then, as of the early 1990’s. Luckily for me, my college roommate took a somewhat broader curriculum, and much to my benefit, we talked…

The Exploring Versus the Exploiting Brain

In a new study published in Psychological Science, neuroscientists Moshe Bar, director of the Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center at Bar-Ilan University and a professor at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, concluded that the less our minds our loaded the more capacity we have for creative thought. This seems logical, of course, but Dr.…

Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms Could Be Mistaken for PTSD

A few studies in recent years are showing possible signs that soldiers who have had a traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by battlefield explosions are mistakenly diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In fact, what might be happening is that the soldiers’ pituitary glands have been damaged by the blast–which has led them to…

A Criticism Of Brain Training – And An Answer To It

An interesting paper came across my radar week – “Placebo effects in cognitive training” published in PNAS (with a paywall, unfortunately). In this paper, the authors investigate the effect that people’s expectations might have on the results of brain-training experiments. Every research study needs to recruit people to participate, and a common way is to…