How our ideas about how the brain works differ from what actually happens

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    July 31, 2022, 23:08 | Science and technology

    How our brain really works.

    How our ideas about work differ brain from what is happening

    One of the things that never ceases to amaze is how different our ideas about the brain work from what is happening, informs Ukr.Media.

    The most amazing discoveries and practical conclusions about the brain.

    < p>The brain does better creative work when you are tired

    It turns out that your approach to planning the day may be far from correct. The efficiency of our work is related to the cycles of our body. If you are a lark, it is better to allocate the most difficult and analytical work to the morning hours, when you feel fresh. Solving problems, answering questions, making decisions are all better done when you're at your peak. And for owls, it's obviously the later part of the day.

    On the other hand, if you have a creative job, you'll have better luck with it when you're tired and your brain isn't working as efficiently. It sounds crazy, but if you look into it, it makes sense. And that's why great ideas often come when you're taking a shower after a long day at work.

    If you're tired, your brain doesn't fend off distractions very well, and it doesn't focus very well, and it doesn't remember connections between ideas and concepts very effectively. All this is very good for creative work, because it requires us to be open to new ideas, the ability to make new connections and think differently. So a tired brain is much more useful when you have a creative task ahead of you.

    Stress changes the size of the brain (and can shrink it)

    You probably knew that stress is the most common cause of changes in brain function. But it turns out that under stress, the size of the brain can also decrease.

    In one experiment, the effects of stress on baby monkeys were studied. Half of the cubs were cared for by other cubs for half a year, the other half remained with their mothers. Then everyone was returned to their usual social environment. After a few months, those monkeys that were deprived of their mothers for half a year, the areas of the brain associated with stress were still enlarged, even though they had been in a normal environment for a long time.

    Of course, more research is needed to delve into this topic, but the idea that chronic stress fundamentally affects our brains is frightening. In another experiment, it was found that in rats exposed to chronic stress, the hippocampus, a part of the brain that is extremely important for the formation of memories, decreases.

    Multitasking is simply impossible.

    When we think we are multitasking, we are actually constantly switching contexts. And studies show that the frequency of errors increases by 50% in this case, and solving problems takes twice as much time. The problem is that we divide the brain's resources, giving each specific task less attention. The brain has to painfully switch back and forth.

    Daytime sleep improves the daily functioning of the brain

    It turns out that a short nap is very useful. First, it improves memory. In one study, participants memorized pictures, after which they were given a 40-minute break. Half of the group was dozing, half was awake. After the break, the first group performed best, with these participants remembering an average of 85% of the images, compared to an average of 60% for those who were awake.

    Secondly, it helps to learn new things better. A short sleep clears areas of temporary information storage, preparing them for absorption of new data. In a study from the University of California, participants were asked to complete a difficult task in the middle of the day. It required learning a lot of new information. At approximately 2 o'clock, half of the participants went to sleep, while the others did not sleep. The most interesting thing is not even that at 6 p.m. those who slept worked more efficiently. And the fact that they worked even better than in the morning.

    New research shows that during a short daytime sleep, the right hemisphere of the brain is much more active than the left. Meanwhile, 95% of people are right-handed, so their left hemisphere is dominant. It turns out that while the left hemisphere is resting, the right is cleaning.

    Sight suppresses other senses

    If you hear some information, after three days you will remember only 10% of it. If you are shown a picture at the same time, you will already remember 65%. At the same time, the image is more powerful than the text, including because reading is a very inefficient thing. Our brain perceives words as many tiny pictures, and it takes time to recognize them.

    Introversion and extroversion are the result of different brain structures

    Introversion and extroversion don't really reflect how brave or timid we are, but how our brains are wired. Extroverts' brains react more strongly when they win a game. It is partly a matter of genes, but partly also of different dopamine systems. An extrovert's brain encourages him to seek novelty, take risks, and enjoy unfamiliar or surprising situations. It can be too overwhelming for an introvert.

    Research also shows that introverts and extroverts process stimuli differently. In extroverts, this processing is much faster, it passes through the area where taste, visual and sound sensations are processed. For introverts, incentives “run through” a long and complicated path in the areas of the brain responsible for remembering, planning, solving problems.

    We prefer people who make mistakes

    Those who never make mistakes are perceived as less pleasant people. Your piercings attract people, make you seem more human. Perfection creates distance and an unpleasant atmosphere of invulnerability. So those who have defects win.

    This theory was tested by psychologist Elliot Aronson. He asked participants in the experiment to listen to how people answered a series of questions. In some recordings, the person answering could be heard spilling coffee from a cup onto the table. When the participants were asked to rate which of them they liked more, the clumsiest scored the most points.

    This is why we don't like people who look perfect. And now we know that small mistakes are not so scary, they can even help.

    Meditation can reprogram your brain

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    Many people think that meditation helps them focus and stay calm throughout the day, but it turns out there are other benefits.

    First, it reduces anxiety. The more we meditate, the less anxiety we feel because we loosen connections in certain neural pathways. We have an area in our brain called the prefrontal cortex. It processes information about ourselves and our experiences. Normally, the pathways for bodily sensations and from the fear centers of the prefrontal cortex are very strong. When you experience fear or an unpleasant sensation, it triggers a strong response in your prefrontal cortex, causing you to feel fearful and stressed. But when we meditate, especially when we're just starting to do it, we weaken these neural pathways, meaning we start to respond less strongly to the corresponding sensations.

    Secondly, it improves memory. Researcher Kathryn Kerr found that people who practiced self-immersion meditation were able to adjust their brain waves to block out distractions and increase their productivity more quickly than those who did not meditate. Perhaps this was the explanation for their ability to better remember and comprehend new facts.

    Meditation has also been linked to increased compassion, reduced stress, enhanced other memory skills, and increased gray matter volume in the brain.

    Physical exercises rebuild the brain and strengthen willpower

    There seems to be a connection between exercise and mental alertness, just as there is a connection between exercise and happiness. Exercising regularly can lead to an amazing boost in cognitive skills. Those who exercise regularly perform better in tests of long-term memory, logic, attention, problem solving, even the so-called mobile intelligence.

    You can slow down time by doing something new

    If you know how the brain perceives time, you can trick it into thinking that time flows more slowly. Essentially, our brain takes information from our senses and presents it to us in a way that makes sense to us. When the brain receives new information, it does not necessarily come to us in the order of arrival. It must be reorganized and presented to us in an understandable form. Processing familiar information takes almost no time. New information leads to the fact that time seems more stretched. The more new information we receive, the longer the corresponding time period seems. That is why time seems to slow down in life-threatening situations. The same thing happens when we listen to pleasant music: increased attention stretches time. If the brain does not have to process a lot of new information, time seems to pass faster, because the brain does not have to work hard.

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