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Cognitive Psychology: Inquiring in Mental Processes

What is cognitive psychology? Who are its main authors? What are its characteristics?  In this article, we will talk about the study of cognitive processes. Discover everything you need to know about cognitive psychology.

Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive Psychology: Definition and Importance

Psychology is a heterogeneous science that explores various issues related to our mind and our behavior. This discipline examines us both socially and individually and involves an immensity of challenges.

These issues are often influenced by the subjectivity that inevitably leads people to study other people. In fact, psychology professionals often have trouble reaching an agreement. Its object of study is complex and changing. Also, their discipline is not an exact science. Psychology is still taking its first steps.

The main objective of psychologists is to make us understand ourselves better and to improve our quality of life. However, they are also influenced by their interests and their way of looking at the world. There are different currents that seek an approach to find the truth from different perspectives. However, we are all different and each person is biased from their own experiences. 

For example, there are different perspectives on what is mental illness. Some experts focus on the observable aspects of behavior, others look for biological causes and some think society is responsible. These dilemmas may confuse us.

Should we worry about this uncertainty?

We shouldn’t take these dilemmas as nonconclusive problems. In fact, it is possible to combine several perspectives and to elaborate new and more explanatory models. These discussions (in the most scientific sense of the word) drive the growth of psychology and bring us closer to the discoveries that allow us to know how cognitive processes work.

Cognitive psychology studies the mental processes related to knowledge. It is linked to artificial intelligence and analyzes psychological processes such as perception, memory, attention, cognitive distortions or learning. 

Cognitive Psychology: Features

Although heterogeneous theories coexist within cognitive psychology, we can observe its main distinctive features.

1. Emphasizes in cognitive processes

Behavior can’t be explained without naming our cognitive processes. These procedures cover a myriad of tasks that we perform in our day to day. For example, memorize the birthdays of our relatives or perceive the typical optical illusions that become viral.

2. The field of study is very complex

It is not easy to study cognitive processes since they are not tangible. In fact, this field has been rejected for years because of its complexity. Nowadays neuroscience allows us to approach cognitive processes in a more scientific and tangible way. Thanks to neuroimaging techniques such as fMRI (Functional MRI) we can see how our brain performs certain tasks such as deciding whether if you prefer coffee or tea. This field has also made it possible for company’s such as CogniFit to measure and train your cognitive skills through specific brain games. 

3. Their sources are scattered and varied

Psychologists focused on emotions, processing information, Gestalt or social psychology all dive into cognitive processes with different goals. This makes their sources very scattered and varied, however, they are enriching for psychology. 

4. Processing capacity is limited

Our ability to pay attention and process information is affected by several factors. It requires a lot of effort to select the most relevant data at any given time. For example, if we go to the supermarket, we can’t see all the boxes of cereal at a time. Therefore, our brain chooses the most visually striking and we focus on that. 

5. Mental processes are organized in a hierarchical way

We face an incredible amount of stimuli (for example the television is on, the telephone rings, the neighbors scream, smoke comes out of the kitchen, we feel like going to the bathroom, our arm itches, etc.) Our brain learns to make priorities and be as efficient as possible. Our brain organizes and controls all the activities we do consciously and much more all at the same time. In fact, we perform activities automatically (walking) and others in a controlled way (adding an event on our agenda). There are tasks that we can carry out simultaneously (detect different elements in the street) and others in serial form (to figure out a mathematical problem). This can only be achieved hierarchically.

6. People understand reality in different ways

We all carry out complex actions through our mental processes. That is, we can memorize data, organize information, have expectations about what we want in the future and countless activities that happen in our brain to adapt to the environment.

However, we are not mechanical robots. The environment and other people influence us. Nonetheless, we make our own decisions, defend our ideology and come to different conclusions while maintaining our own arguments. We make complex judgments and comparisons that are reflected in the great interindividual variability.

For example, a football fan will tend to focus more on any fact related to his team, especially if it is positive. We act based on the information that is accessible to us, our goals, feelings, prejudices and a long list of contents that pass through our mind.

Cognitive Psychology: A Little History

Early thinkers such as William James or Wilhelm Wundt, already theorized about cognitive processes such as consciousness. Nonetheless, cognitive psychology emerged in the middle of the last century.

In the 1950s, behaviorism was the main paradigm in this science. This approach is based on observable behavior, often extrapolating results obtained with animals to people and neglecting cognitive processes. Its main goal was to study human behavior in labs where scientific rigor was at its highest. However, it failed to explain human thought process. 

On the other hand, psychoanalysis was the other mainstream perspective. It focused on the subconscious and childhood development. Both perspectives set aside mental processes. 

The cognitive revolution

The cognitive revolution brought the fact that the black box, which was the gap between stimuli and behavior could now be opened and explored. Cognitive psychology began to imagine the mind as a computer that processes information through different programs and with certain capacities. This computer metaphor allows us to establish parallels that help us to better visualize the human mind.

However, they do not study all content well, beliefs or expectations are concepts more abstract than the number of elements that we are able to retain. Great strides are now being made from the cognitive perspective and it seems to remain a fundamental approach for psychology to progress.

Cognitive psychology: 10 essential authors and their contributions

Since the last century, there have been several celebrities in this field. Here are a few of the most important authors in the field. 

1. Bartlett

He studied types of memory and memory itself. He observed it in everyday situations and analyzed how we modify it ourselves.

2. Bruner

He was a great developmental psychologist. He focused on how we treat information and learning as a process rather than conceiving it as a final product.

3. Turing

He is the creator of the “Turing machine”, which is an abstract device that simulates human thinking. It serves to create representations that allow investigating cognitive processes.

4. Miller

According to this psychologist, the working memory may contain more or less seven information sequences. However, we can group the data to retain more elements. He wrote the cognitive manifesto called Plans and the Structure of Behavior (1960).

5. Festinger

He is the author of the theory of cognitive dissonance, which describes how important it is for us to maintain our beliefs, the processes we carry out to preserve them and how complex it is to change them.

6. Broadbent

This cognitive psychologist maintained that our attention processes data serially. 

7. Neisser

He coined the term “cognitive psychology”.

8. Gestalt Psychologists

“The whole is more than the sum of its parts.”

That is, our mind perceives reality through our senses and gives rise to a new interpretation through perception.

9. Shannon and Weaver

They developed a famous mathematical model that collects the main elements of the communicative process.

10. Chomsky

His main contribution to the field of cognitive psychology was through linguistics. 

Cognitive Psychology Applications

We apply cognitive psychology in almost every aspect of our lives. 

Basic research

Basic psychological processes, such as motivation and perception, are the main area cognitive psychology is applied to. Subsequently, the data obtained is integrated into programs to improve our quality of life.

Psychopathology

According to this approach, our thoughts and emotions have a significant impact on our mental health. For example, interpreting negatively every comment they make how we look could lead to an eating disorder.

Cognitive Therapy

Making our thoughts more positive or reducing our cognitive distortions or cognitive biases is the main contribution of this perspective. 

Developmental psychology

Through the study of topics such as the theory of mind, we come to better understand interpersonal relationships and our progress as we grow.

Social psychology

Cognitive psychology helps us to understand how our prejudices (however harmful they may be at times) enable us to reduce the amount of data we have to process since we take information for granted and do not analyze it.

Education

All basic psychological processes are elementary when it comes to talking about training. Cognitive psychology has given us Bandura’s theory of social learning, which contrasts with the mechanical explanations of behaviorists. Understanding how we assimilate knowledge or how we perceive external stimuli is dispensable to provide an education to society.

Artificial intelligence

Knowing how the human mind works is the key to developing the technology of the future. Amazing discoveries are being made in this field. The advance of artificial intelligence requires that its professionals work with a great responsibility, but also its technological advances have the capacity of improving our lives.

Daily life

Their contributions allow us to control better our thoughts and cognitive processes as well as infer the causes of other’s behavior. We can use cognitive psychology to simplify our day to day. For example, after learning that we retain approximately seven elements in our working memory (Miller) and that we can memorize more when grouping, we can take this data into account to draw more effective studying strategies.

Thank you very much for reading this article. What do you think about cognitive psychology? We invite you to comment below.

This article is originally in Spanish written by Ainhoa Arranz Aldana, translated by Alejandra Salazar.

Cognitive Biases That Explain Why We Make Stupid Decisions

Cognitive Biases. Do you think the decisions you make are rational? Are they the fruit of a deep reasoning exercise? The truth is that most are not. The decisions that we face day to day we make them almost automatically thanks to mechanisms called heuristics and cognitive bias. Find out more about cognitive biases, how they help us make decisions, sometimes stupid decisions and how to reduce their negative impact on our lives.

Cognitive biases

What are Cognitive Biases?

A cognitive bias can be defined as a deviation from our reasoning and cognitive process that leads us to illogical conclusions, distortions, and errors of thought. Cognitive bias distorts the way we see reality and are very common.

Cognitive biases are mental shortcuts that help us make decisions quickly. However, sometimes cognitive bias can have negative consequences by drastically distorting reality. Cognitive biases affect our daily social communications skills and interactions, even our scientific work.

Our brain tends to save energy. You will try to make things as easy and quick as possible. If we had to analyze every possible variable every time we made a minor decision our brain would overload. It is, therefore, useful to use heuristics or shortcuts that can make our decision-making processes lighter. Particularly when we can’t access as much information as possible.

However, we use these shortcuts even when we have a lot of reliable information. When these heuristics lead us to incorrect judgments, then we are faced with cognitive biases. These biases make us act irrationally and make decisions, often stupid or incorrect ones. It was Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman who first spoke about heuristics and cognitive biases, which earned Kahneman a Nobel Prize in Economics shared with Vernon L Smith. When most of our decisions take us down the wrong path it’s important to be aware why and work on them as well as on our emotional intelligence. Since cognitive biases are based on your reasoning and cognitive processes it’s important to keep our cognition in shape. Find out how you can do this through CogniFit.

Types of Cognitive Biases and how to avoid them

What types of cognitive biases do we use? How can we stop using them or minimize their use to enhance our critical thinking?There are a lot of biases that people use, here is a selection of the most used, but there are

There are a lot of cognitive biases that people use, here is a selection of the most used.

1. Cognitive bias of the bandwagon effect

This bias relates to believing in something cause many other people do. The probability of a person believing in something increases depending on the number of people who support it. The more people believe the more the person is likely to believe. People tend to follow the crowd, without thinking about whether, really, what they are doing makes sense or not. However, not necessarily because everyone does it, does it have to be good.

How do we avoid this cognitive bias? Before doing something because most people around us do, think first if it is really something you want to do or is it simply to follow others. Weigh out as much information as possible, investigate whether it makes sense or not.
For example, before starting a detox diet, ask yourself, investigate and reflect. Is this diet healthy?

2. Cognitive Confirmation Bias

It is the tendency to seek and interpret the information that comes to us in a way that confirms our beliefs and, in parallel, ignore or give less importance to the information that contradicts them. For example, if I think that drinking milk is bad, I will give more importance to arguments, research, and news that say that milk is harmful and will detract importance to those who say that milk is beneficial. Even if I drink milk and then I have a stomach ache it is easier to attribute it to the milk than to the vegetables I ate at noon.

How do we avoid this cognitive bias? Always consider the full range of opinions, both those that are in favor and those that are against your beliefs or opinions. This way you can see the situation more objectively and you can create an opinion, based on all possible data, instead of biased and partial information. Also try to ask yourself how or why you know something, where did you get that information? Is it truthful?

3. Cognitive bias of fundamental attribution error

The fundamental attribution error consists in giving external explanations to our errors and internal to our successes. As well as, we will give internal explanations to the errors of the others and external to their successes. For example, if our favorite team wins, we will think “we are the fastest, we have the best players”. If our rival team wins, we will think “the referee was biased” “the other team cheated”.

When we make a mistake we tend to give an external explanation, for example, if we arrive late we will think: “there was a lot of traffic”, “someone held me up”. , on the contrary, our companion is late, we will think ” he is always late”, “he woke up late”.

This mistake helps us protect our self-esteem, yet it is still a misconception.

How do we avoid this cognitive bias? Try being open-minded when someone makes a mistake, it might not be his fault. Give praise to people for their success that it can also be because of their abilities, not just because of others. Mistakes are part of a set of circumstances that can be to ability or situation. Therefore, we should analyze it carefully to know which circumstance has more proof. Don’t be so quick to judge others or yourself. 

4. Hindsight Cognitive Bias

Surely, after something happened, you have thought, “I knew it.” and actually believed you saw it coming. This is the retrospective cognitive bias.

How do we avoid this cognitive bias? When you think that you had predicted something, think about the real odds. If there were really low odds, it’s hard for you to have known it was going to happen.

5. Anchoring Cognitive Bias

It is the tendency of human beings to “anchor” them or to focus on the first piece of information we receive and then make judgments or make decisions. Different anchor points will give different results, even if these initial values are random. For example, imagine that you are going to buy a car and the first place you go you are asked 50,000 euros. You know that’s a very high sum, but to the places you go after, even if the price reduction is minimal, comparing it with the first one, you’ll see it more reasonable (even if it’s still not).

And this applies not only to the financial sphere. A doctor can anchor himself to the diagnosis of some illness by the first symptoms that he sees, and ignore other symptoms or data.

Anchoring- Cognitive Bias

How do we avoid this cognitive bias? Reflect carefully on whether the offer they have made is really reasonable or we are comparing it with the initial price. Think about whether you really believe that what you’re doing is because you think it’s the right thing or you’re “anchoring” some facts and giving up other data.

6. Blind Spot Cognitive bias

It is the tendency to believe that we are less biased or less prejudiced than we are. What happens is that we often think that what we believe is true. We are convinced we have the truth in our hands making it more difficult for us to identify our prejudices.

How do we avoid this cognitive bias? Realize that we all have prejudices, to a greater or lesser extent, nobody is free from them. Reflect on what you think. Ask: What evidence do I have that this is so?  This will help you identify your prejudices and by being aware of them you will be able to not let yourself be guided by them.

7. Illusory Correlation Cognitive Bias

It consists in believing that two events are related when in fact we have no proof that it is so. This bias is related to superstitious behavior.

How do we avoid this cognitive bias? That two events happen close together or you established they usually happen together it does not mean that they are related. For example:A woman believes that pit bulls are inherently dangerous. When she hears of a dog attack in the news, she assumes it is a pit bull that attacked. Therefore, it is best to be cautious and not assume relationships between two events or things until you have more information.

8. False Consensus Effect- Cognitive Bias

It is the tendency to believe that our beliefs and opinions are more widespread than they really are. It is the belief that our attitudes and beliefs are common and appropriate.

How do we avoid this cognitive bias? Everyone sees the world from their own perspective and sometimes it is difficult to get away from it. Before assuming that everyone else thinks alike, remember that everyone has their own mind, their own ideas, beliefs and opinions. We may share some, but that can only be known by talking to or getting to know others.

9. Illusion of Control- Cognitive Bias

It is the tendency to believe that we can control or influence certain situations or events, when in fact it is not so.

How do we avoid this cognitive bias? Being realistic about what we can or can’t control. We will pass an exam thanks to our study and effort, not because of our lucky charm. People do not have the ability to control time, or the outcome of a football game.

10. Availability Heuristic – Cognitive Bias

We overestimate the importance of the information that we have more available and accessible. We will see a fact or situation as more frequent and probable if we have at our disposal information about that fact.

For example, we can argue that lifestyle is not so important in our health because we know someone who smokes, drinks, does not exercise and does not eat healthily and is 90 years old.

How do we avoid this cognitive bias? He thinks that the most frequent or most frequently presented information is not the most representative. What will really be reliable when determining the frequency of something is the statistical basis of the fact.

Find out more about cognitive biases behind irrational decisions in the following video.

We hoped you enjoyed this article and that you can put into practice these tips. Feel free to leave a comment below.

This article is originally in Spanish written by Andrea García Cerdán, translated by Alejandra Salazar.

Frontal Lobe: Areas, functions and disorders related to it

The brain is divided into four lobes, differentiated by their location and functions. In this article, we are going to focus on one of the lobes: the frontal lobe. The frontal lobe is the biggest lobe in the brain and the most important lobe for the human species. 

Why is the frontal lobe so relevant? What are its functions? The following article will give you an all-inclusive look on the frontal lobe. 

Frontal lobe

Frontal Lobe: Anatomy and Functions

The Frontal lobe is located at the front of the brain, at the front of each cerebral hemisphere and in front of the parietal lobe. It is considered the most important lobe due to its functions and because it takes up one-third of the total brain. In other species its volume is inferior (chimpanzees 17% and dogs 7%).

The functions of the frontal lobe depend on the area we focus on. It plays a part on movement control as well as in high-level mental functions or behavior and emotional control. The frontal lobe is divided into two main areas: the motor cortex and the prefrontal cortex.

Motor cortex in the frontal lobe

The main function of the motor cortex is to control voluntary movement, including the ones in expressive language, writing, and ocular movement. This cortex is divided into three areas:

Primary Motor Cortex

Sends commands to the neurons in the brain stems and spinal cord. These neurons are in charge of specific voluntary movements. Inside the primary motor cortex, of both hemispheres, there is a representation of the contralateral half of the body. That is, in each hemisphere, there is a representation of the opposite side of the body.This is known as the motor homunculus and it is inverted, therefore the head is represented at the bottom.

Premotor Cortex

This area is in control of the preparation and movement programming. Premotor cortex automates, harmonizes and archives movement programs related to previous experiences. Within the premotor cortex:

  • Supplementary motor area: in charge of controlling postural stability during stance or walking.
  • Ocular field: controls the joint deviation of the gaze when voluntary exploring a field.
Broca’s Area

It’s considered the center for producing speech, writing, and also in language processing and comprehension. It coordinates movements of the mouth, larynx and respiratory organs that control language expression. Injuries can produce different language disorders. 

Prefrontal Cortex of the Front lobe

The prefrontal cortex is located in the front part of the frontal lobe. It is considered the ultimate expression of human brain development. It is responsible for cognition, behavior and emotional activity. Prefrontal cortex receives information from the limbic system (involved in emotional control) and acts as a mediator between cognition and feelings through executive functions. Executive functions are a set of cognitive skills necessary for controlling and self-regulating your behavior. Within the prefrontal cortex, three areas or circuits are important: dorsolateral, anterior and orbital cingulum.

Dorsolateral area of the frontal lobe

It is one of the most recently evolved parts of the human brain. It establishes connections with the other three brain areas and transforms the information into thoughts, decisions, plans, and actions. It is in charge of superior cognitive abilities such as:

  • Attention: Focus, inhibition, and divided attention.
  • Working memory: maintenance and manipulation of the information.
  • Short-term memory: ordering events.
  • Prospective memory: programming upcoming actions.
  • Hypothesis generator: analysis of the possible outcomes.
  • Metacognition: self-analysis of cognitive activity and continuous performance.
  • Problem Resolution: analysis of the situation and development of an action plan.
  • Shifting: the ability to adapt to new situations.
  • Planning: organizing behavior towards a new objective.

General Cognitive Assessment Battery from CogniFit: Study brain function and complete a comprehensive online screening. Precisely evaluate a wide range of abilities and detect cognitive well-being (high-moderate-low). Identify strengths and weaknesses in the areas of memory, concentration/attention, executive functions, planning, and coordination.

Anterior cingulum of the frontal lobe

This area regulates motivational processes. It’s also in charge of perceiving and resolving conflicts as well as regulating sustained attention.

Orbital area of the frontal lobe

This area is in charge of controlling emotion and social conduct. It regulates emotional processing, controls behaviors based on context and detects beneficial or detrimental change.

A neuroscientist explains the frontal lobe and the types of disorders that can happen after an injury.

Frontal Lobe: Disorders related to it

As we have explained, the frontal lobe is involved in different processes (motors, cognitive, emotional and behavioral). This is why disorders due to injuries suffered to this area can vary from concussion symptoms to others more severe.

Motor disorders

Injuries to the primary or premotor cortex can cause difficulties in the velocity, execution and movement coordination, all leading to different types of apraxia. Apraxia is a disorder in which the individual has difficulty with the motor planning to perform tasks or movements when asked, provided that the request or command is understood and he/she is willing to perform the task. A University of Toronto scientist has discovered the brain’s frontal lobe is involved in pain transmission to the spine. If his findings in animals bear out in people, the discovery could lead to a new class of non-addictive painkillers.

  • Ideomotor apraxia: Deficits or difficulty in their ability to plan or complete previously learned motor actions, especially those that need an instrument or prop. They are able to explain how to perform an action but can’t act out a movement.
  • Limb-kinetic apraxia: voluntary movements of extremities are impaired. For example, they can’t use their fingers in a coordinated fashion (waving).
  • Buccofacial or orofacial apraxia: Difficulty carrying out movements of the face, tongue, mouth, cheeks, etc. on demand.

Apart from the apraxias, other disorders can be developed from injuries to the frontal lobe, such as language disorders or aphasias.

  • Transcortical Motor Aphasia: language disorder due to which the person has a lack of verbal fluency (slow speech with reduced content and poorly organized), limited spontaneous language (lack of initiative) and difficulty or incapacity in writing.
  • Broca’s Aphasia: language disorder that generates a lack of verbal fluency, anomia (inability to access the lexicon to evoke words), poor syntactic construction in speech, difficulties in repetition, reading and writing.

Dysexecutive syndrome

It consists of a group of symptoms, cognitive, behavioral and emotional that tend to happen together. However, the symptoms are going to depend on the injured area:

Dorsolateral Area

An injury in this area is usually related to cognitive problems such as:

  1. Inability to solve complex problems: decrease in fluid intelligence (reasoning, adapting and resolving of new situations, etc.).
  2. Cognitive rigidity and perseveration: the person maintains a thought or action despite being invited to change it.
  3. Decreased learning ability: difficulty in acquiring and maintaining new learning.
  4. Temporal memory impairment: deficit in the order things happened
  5. Deficiency in motor programming and changing motor activities: difficulties in the organization of sequences of movements and the time to change an activity.
  6. A decrease in verbal fluidity: impairment in the ability to recall words after an instruction. This action not only requires the lexical part but also organization, planning, focus and selective attention.
  7. Attention Deficit: difficulty maintaining your attention and inhibiting other irrelevant stimuli or changing the focus of attention.
  8. Pseudo-depressive disorders: similar symptoms to depression (sadness, apathy, etc.).
Anterior cingulum area
  1. Reduction of spontaneous activity: appear to be static.
  2. A loss in initiative and motivation: noticeable apathy.
  3. Alexithymia: difficulty identifying emotions and therefore inability in expressing own emotions.
  4. Language restriction: answers tend to be monosyllabic.
  5. Difficulty in controlling interference: selective attention impairment.
  6. Pseudo-depressive disorders. 
Orbital area

The symptoms of an injury in this area are more behavioral. The person’s behavior tends to be uninhibited.

  1. Changes in personality: high instability between who he is and how he acts. Similar to what happened to Phineas Gage. 
  2. Irritability and aggressiveness: exaggerated emotional reactions in daily life situations.
  3. Echopraxia: imitation of observed movements in others.
  4. Disinhibition and impulsivity: lack of self-control over their behavior.
  5. Difficulty adapting to social norms and rules: behaves socially unacceptable.
  6. Judgment is impaired: many reasoning errors.
  7. Lack of empathy: difficulty understanding other people’s feelings.
  8. Euphoria
 The frontal lobe is incredibly important for humans to function to their full potential. Even without brain injury, it’s crucial to maintain our cognitive skills active. CogniFit offers a complete assessment of your cognitive skills and brain training not only as a rehabilitation due to injury, dementia, etc. but it can also strengthen your current neural patterns. Brain health is essential to lead a full life.
Hope you liked this article, feel free to leave a message below!
This article is originally in Spanish written by Natalia Pasquin Mora, translated by Alejandra Salazar. 

Fascinating Brain Facts part 1

Fascinating Facts About the Brain – Part 1

The brain is arguably the most vital organ in our entire body. Without it, we are notable to function. In a way the brain is like a giant computer that stores an immense amount of information. With that said, there are many fascinating facts about the brain.

Check out these fascinating facts about the brain.

1. The brain is one of the most complex organs in the human body. In fact, the human brain is so complicated that it remains an exciting frontier in the study of the body: clinicians, psychologists, and scientists are continually endeavoring to learn exactly how the many brain parts work together intricately to create our powerful human mind. Thus, there are many things about the brain that scientists still do not understand to this day.

2. Relative to size, human brains are much bigger than other mammals. In fact, our brains are over three times bigger than mammal’s brains similar in size. As you can imagine, there is no correlations between the animals’ absolute brain sizes and cognitive abilities. Cows, for example, have larger brains than just about any species of monkey, but unless they are very, very good at hiding it, cows are almost certainly less cognitively capable than most, if not all, “lesser-brained” primates.

3. Our brains weigh about on average 3.3 pounds (1.5 kg), the same weight as the average brain of a dolphin (which is also a very intelligent animal). But there are animals with larger brains that are not considered to be as intelligent as a dolphin. For instance, a sperm whale has a brain that weighs about 17 pounds (7.7 kg).

4. The right side of the brain interacts with the left side of our bodies, and the left side of the braininteracts with the right side of our bodies. Both sides of the brain have specific functions, but sometimes the two sides of the brain interact and work together. The right brain focuses on the expression and reading of emotions, understanding metaphors, and reading faces while the left brain is far more logical, focusing on language skills, analytical time sequence processing and skilled movement.

5. On average, men’s brains are between 10 and 15 per cent larger than women’s. Obviously, it does not mean that men are smarter than women, but these differences partly reflect the fact that men are generally bigger and taller than women. Men and women’s brains also differ in overall composition. Male brains tend to have a slightly higher proportion of white matter, whereas those of females have a higher proportion of grey matter in most parts of the cerebral cortex. Consequently, the cortex is slightly thicker in women’s brains than in men’s and, according to several studies, is slightly more convoluted as well. There are also sex differences in the size of individual brain structures. The hippocampus, a structure involved in memory formation, is on average larger in men than in women, as is the amygdala, which is also involved in memory, as well as emotions.

6. Having a bigger brain does not mean you are more intelligent. Clearly, there is more to intelligence than brain size, or Albert Einstein, one of the smartest people who ever lived, who had an average brain size, would have been out of luck! It is important to take into consideration how to actually define intelligence.

Brain fitness in the elderly

Brain Fitness and the Elderly

In today’s society, brain fitness is becoming more and more popular. Brain games are important for everyone of all ages, especially for senior citizens. Why? As we age, our brains tend to deteriorate. Memory loss, slower reaction time and less focus are some of the common things that happen when we get older. With all of this said, brain games are showing up in many retirement communities where brain fitness centers are built, so the elderly can utilize them.

These fitness centers usually have many computers, specific expensive dedicated brain training devices and a training instructor, who consider brain exercises very important. There are simpler and cheaper solution around like the CogniFit personalized brain fitness program which works on a regular Windows or Mac computer using the Internet browser. The International Business Time, CNN Health and NBC list the CogniFit program in the top 2 best app to train your brain. In addition, the CogniFit program is self-explanatory so you do not require an instructor. What else? The CogniFit personalized brain fitness program is one of the few programs that is scientifically validated.

Doing brain exercises can have many benefits. In fact, there are so many benefits; I am going to list only a fraction of them. Some include: improved memory, quicker thinking, faster reaction time, enhanced listening, self-confidence, improved self-image, better driving, sharper vision and better overall well being. Of course, I only scratched the service of the countless things brain exercises can do for you.

Mental exercises not only provide mental stimulation, they provide social stimulation as well. What does social interaction have to do with the brain?  Social interaction involves many cognitive abilities such as concentration, memory and attention. The more we interact the more we use our cognitive abilities. The more we use our cognitive abilities, the stronger the brain gets. Lastly, please do not forget about physical fitness!  Along with mental stimulation and social stimulation, physical stimulation is also crucial to your health and well-being! Makes sure you are physically active at least a few times a week. In addition, you should make an effort to eat healthy. Some of the healthiest brain foods include: fish, tomatoes, blueberries, nuts, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, sage and many whole-grain foods. Mental stimulation, social stimulation and physical stimulation are the trifecta of a healthy lifestyle!

The brain fitness industry has exploded over the last decade. In 2005, the industry accumulated $200 million in revenue, and in 2012, the industry surpassed $1 billion in revenue. Not only that, experts are predicting that by 2020, the brain fitness industry will be worth six billion dollars. Remember, the physical fitness industry boom? Some people are comparing today’s brain fitness industry to the physical fitness boom decades earlier. Perhaps we will have brain trainers in the future. Hey, the idea of physical fitness trainers was taboo only decades ago. Who knows what the future will bring.

Research debunks IQ myth: cognitive ability requires more than one measure

Research debunks IQ myth: cognitive ability requires more than one measure.

After conducting the largest online intelligence study on record, a Western University-led research team has concluded that the notion of measuring one’s intelligence quotient or IQ by a singular, standardized test is highly misleading.

The results showed that when a wide range of cognitive abilities are explored, the observed variations in performance can only be explained with at least three distinct components: short-term memory, reasoning and a verbal component.