February 20, 2020


I wanted to bring to your attention an article that just appeared in Forbes entitled “Five Key Neuroscience Concepts Every Coach Should Know.” The article appears to be written for people who are life coaches, but it contains lessons for everyone who tries to support others in achieving their goals—and I suspect that is all of us.

It’s important to remind those you want to help that the brain is plastic—meaning you are always capable of change. Also, that you can drive change in a positive direction through repetitive and progressively challenging practices, and that mindfulness, a growth-oriented mindset, and feeling satisfaction from your efforts (which pumps dopamine) will help you in making positive changes. Users of BrainHQ may find these are very familiar concepts.

We all can benefit from good coaching. I hope these neuroscience concepts help coach you to be the best coach you can.

Best regards,

Jeff Zimman
Posit Science

Is Selfie Culture Affecting Memory? 
Research suggests that taking digital photos—a hobby that has exploded in the era of social media—may compromise memory. There are two likely reasons for this: first, that the act of taking a photo draws our attention away from the actual event (and attention is key to forming memories), and second, that we intrinsically trust that the photo will stand in for memory. Learn more.

Details Emerge on Exercise and Brain Health
Although scientists have known for some time that physical exercise is good for brain health, there is still work to be done on how different types of exercise affect the brain. A new study from the University Hospital Bonn in Germany sheds some light: it found that high-activity exercise engages affective/emotion processing networks, white low-intensity engages cognitive control and attention networks. Learn more.

Put Your Left Brain In, Put Your Right Brain Out
Researchers at McGill University in Canada have found that our brains process the lyrics and the melody of a song on entirely different sides of the brain. The timing information required to understand lyrics is processed in the left half of the brain—while the frequency patterns crucial for recognizing memory are detected in the right half.  Learn more.

Table Tennis, Anyone?
Researchers in Japan say that they plan to present study results at the late April meeting of the American Academy of Neurology on Parkinson’s and ping pong. These results suggest that ping pong may be a helpful intervention for people with Parkinson’s, improving their speech, posture, handwriting, tremors, and more. Learn more.

Art On the Mind
Do you like Picasso, or prefer Pollock? Does a Degas inspire you, or a Dali? People can have dramatically different taste in visual art—and research suggests that has to do with how they judge a combination of low-level information (intrinsic features of a painting, such as color and contrast) and high-level qualities (those that require human interpretation). Learn more.

Flooding in the Post-Stroke Brain
After a stroke, the brain can be flooded by salty water, causing a swelling known as cerebral edema. For many years, scientists believed this water was coming from blood getting into the brain. But breakthrough research—enabled by new technologies that allow scientists to look into the brain during a stroke—suggests that this water is coming from an entirely different source: cerebrospinal fluid. Learn more.

Book of the Month
Successful Aging: A Neuroscientist Explores the Power and Potential of Our Lives (2020)
By Daniel Levitin
In Successful Aging, well-known neuroscientist and cognitive psychologist Daniel Levitin aims to change how people think about the final decades of life. These decades shouldn’t be written off with a sigh as “old age,” because they actually represent a unique developmental stage of life, with ample opportunities for creativity and growth. In an engaging and thoughtful prose, Levitin lays out the science of what happens in the brain as we age, and shares ideas on how to harness what we know about the brain and brain plasticity to age more joyously and healthily. Learn more or buy on Amazon.