“Creativity does not involve a single brain region or single side of the brain. Instead, the entire creative process– from preparation to incubation to illumination to verification– consists of many interacting cognitive processes (both conscious and unconscious) and emotions. Depending on the stage of the creative process, and what you’re actually attempting to create, different brain regions are recruited to handle the task.” The Executive Attention Network is utilized when a task requires focused attention, such as engaging in problem solving, and working memory. The Imagination Network is used in social cognition and in “constructing dynamic mental simulations based on personal past experiences such as used during remembering, thinking about the future, and generally when imagining alternative perspectives and scenarios to the present.” The Salience Network monitors external events and stream of consciousness and selects the information that is most salient to solving the task at hand. Sometimes the networks work together, while other times collaboration negatively impacts the creative process. “Also, converging research findings do suggest that creative cognition recruits brain regions that are critical for daydreaming, imagining the future, remembering deeply personal memories, constructive internal reflection, meaning making, and social cognition.” Read article
Sleeping less than seven to eight hours can be linked to cognitive decline, memory loss, and possibly Alzheimer’s. During sleep the brain clears out toxins, repairs neurons that assist with alertness and cognition, processes stimuli that entered the brain throughout the day, and creates memories. There is also a video embedded in the article. Read article
“Keeping the brain healthy and well-nourished is a task that should be high on our to-do list. There’s a lot of evidence to suggest that what we do for the brain now can have a big impact on how it functions in the years – and decades – to come.” Eating well in the present can help ward off age-related problems in the future such as cognitive decline. “When you feel mentally sluggish, foggy, unable to concentrate, and just plain tired, there is a good chance that what you have or haven't eaten is to blame. It is all too easy to be deficient in some of the nutrients the brain needs to work at top capacity, especially if we are dieting, or under stress, or eating on the go. These deficiencies can affect us mentally, leading to a number of cognitive problems and even to states like anxiety and depression.” Brain-friendly nutrients include omega-3 fatty acids, the B family of vitamins, vitamin D, and phytochemicals, which are plant-derived compounds that often act as antioxidants. One type of phytochemical is the flavonoid family, which includes compounds found in berries and fruits. The other is curcumin, which is found in a common Indian spice and offers major protection to the aging brain. Omega fatty acids are essential building blocks for the cell membrane of brain cells and effect cognition.Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation in the brain which is important as inflammation in the brain has been linked to depression. The B vitamins, particularly B12, B6, and folate are also essential to brain health. “Without enough B12, cell communication can be compromised — now and as we age and the communication between different parts of the brain is less efficient. B12 comes almost solely from animal products like meat (especially liver), seafood, eggs, milk and cheese. So it may be necessary for strict vegetarians and vegans to supplement B12, since it can be difficult for them to get enough of the vitamin. Vitamin B6 is found in the highest quantities in potatoes, bananas, chick peas, and oatmeal.” Folate “is also found in leafy greens, citrus fruits, peas and beans. Flavonoids are found in plant-derived food and drink like blueberries, apples, citrus fruits, black and green tea, and in cocoa, beer, and wine (these last few consumed in moderation, of course). They are known to affect our cognitive prowess – now and in the future. Flavonoids play important roles in repairing damage in the brain. They do this by influencing how neurons "talk" to each other and by increasing levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that reduce damage to cells in the brain.” Flavonoids also aide in blood flow to the brain. The best source of flavonoids are berries. Low vitamin D levels are linked to depression, psychological stress, and anxiety, which are explained by vitamin D’s role in reducing brain inflammation. “Curcumin benefits the brain by providing protection against neurological disorders a number of ways. As an anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-amyloidal agent, curcumin can improve cognitive function in patients with Alzheimer’s disease."
Elderly people who regularly ate curcumin were found to do much better on tests of cognitive function that people who consumed it rarely or never.” According to the article, one can undo past mistakes with wise food choices and exercise. Read article
"Regular exercise boosts brain health, and a fit brain is generally able to learn, think and remember better. But a few recent studies offer an additional exercise-related tip: time your workouts for just after a study session, and you might better retain the information you just learned. In a variety of experiments, people who biked, did leg presses or even simply squeezed a handgrip shortly after or before learning did better on tests of recall in the hours, days or weeks that followed. Experts think the crucial component is physical arousal. Exercise excites the body in much the same way an emotional experience does—and emotional memories are well known to be the most long lasting. The researchers caution, however, that at most exercise can have a supportive effect—the important thing is to study well first.” Read article
Research suggests that we learn and think better when we walk or do another form of exercise. “Part of the reason exercise enhances cognition has to do with blood flow. Research shows that when we exercise, blood pressure and blood flow increase everywhere in the body, including the brain. More blood means more energy and oxygen, which makes our brain perform better.” Another reason is that the hippocampus, which is critical for learning and memory, is highly active during exercise. Cognitive function improves when neurons in the hippocampus activate. For example, one study found that students who exercised performed better on tests than peers who did not exercise. The article recommends that if you are having a cognitive block it may help to go for a jog or a hike. Read article
Learn more about new brain thought technology with the articles and research that are listed on this page.