The Brain

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The Brain

Postby Doc » Thu Apr 02, 2015 4:23 am

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archi ... el/388135/

For a More Creative Brain, Travel

How international experiences can open the mind to new ways of thinking

Brent Crane

Mar 31 2015, 8:00 AM ET

Kenneth Lu/Flickr

There are plenty of things to be gained from going abroad: new friends, new experiences, new stories.

But living in another country may come with a less noticeable benefit, too: Some scientists say it can also make you more creative.

Writers and thinkers have long felt the creative benefits of international travel. Ernest Hemingway, for example, drew inspiration for much of his work from his time in Spain and France. Aldous Huxley, the author of Brave New World, moved from the U.K. to the U.S. in his 40s to branch out into screenwriting. Mark Twain, who sailed around the coast of the Mediterranean in 1869, wrote in his travelogue Innocents Abroad that travel is “fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”

In recent years, psychologists and neuroscientists have begun examining more closely what many people have already learned anecdotally: that spending time abroad may have the potential to affect mental change. In general, creativity is related to neuroplasticity, or how the brain is wired. Neural pathways are influenced by environment and habit, meaning they’re also sensitive to change: New sounds, smells, language, tastes, sensations, and sights spark different synapses in the brain and may have the potential to revitalize the mind.

New sounds, smells, language, tastes, sensations, and sights spark different synapses in the brain.

“Foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility and depth and integrativeness of thought, the ability to make deep connections between disparate forms,” says Adam Galinsky, a professor at Columbia Business School and the author of numerous studies on the connection between creativity and international travel. Cognitive flexibility is the mind’s ability to jump between different ideas, a key component of creativity. But it’s not just about being abroad, Galinsky says: “The key, critical process is multicultural engagement, immersion, and adaptation. Someone who lives abroad and doesn’t engage with the local culture will likely get less of a creative boost than someone who travels abroad and really engages in the local environment.” In other words, going to Cancun for a week on spring break probably won’t make a person any more creative. But going to Cancun and living with local fishermen might.


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In Galinsky’s latest study, published last month in the Academy of Management Journal, he and three other researchers examined the experiences of the creative directors of 270 high-end fashion houses. Combing through 11 years’ worth of fashion lines, Galinsky and his team searched for links between the creative directors’ experience working abroad and the fashion houses’ “creative innovations,” or the degree “to which final, implemented products or services are novel and useful from the standpoint of external audiences.” The level of creativity of a given product was rated by a pool of trade journalists and independent buyers. Sure enough, the researchers found a clear correlation between time spent abroad and creative output: The brands whose creative directors had lived and worked in other countries produced more consistently creative fashion lines than those whose directors had not.

Going to Cancun for spring break probably won’t make a person any more creative, but going to Cancun and living with local fishermen might.

The researchers also found that the more countries the executives had lived in, the more creative the lines tended to be—but only up to a point. Those who had lived and worked in more than three countries, the study found, still tended to show higher levels of creativity that those who hadn’t worked abroad at all, but less creativity that their peers who had worked in a smaller number of foreign countries. The authors hypothesized that those who had lived in too many countries hadn’t been able to properly immerse themselves culturally; they were bouncing around too much. “It gets back to this idea of a deeper level of learning that’s necessary for these effects to occur,” Galinsky says.

Cultural distance, or how different a foreign culture is from one’s own, may also play a role: Surprisingly, Galinsky and his colleagues found that living someplace with a larger cultural distance was often associated with lower creativity than living in a more familiar culture. The reason for that, they hypothesized, was that an especially different culture might come with a bigger intimidation factor, which may discourage people from immersing themselves in it—and no immersion, they explained, could mean none of the cognitive changes associated with living in another country.

Traveling may have other brain benefits, too. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, an associate professor of education and psychology at the University of Southern California, says that cross-cultural experiences have the potential to strengthen a person’s sense of self. “What a lot of psychological research has shown now is that the ability to engage with people from different backgrounds than yourself, and the ability to get out of your own social comfort zone, is helping you to build a strong and acculturated sense of your own self,” she says. “Our ability to differentiate our own beliefs and values … is tied up in the richness of the cultural experiences that we have had.”

Cross-cultural experiences have the potential to pull people out of their cultural bubbles, and in doing so, can increase their sense of connection with people from backgrounds different than their own. “We found that when people had experiences traveling to other countries it increased what’s called generalized trust, or their general faith in humanity,” Galinsky says. “When we engage in other cultures, we start to have experience with different people and recognize that most people treat you in similar ways. That produces an increase in trust.”

"Traveling increased what’s called generalized trust, or general faith in humanity."

This trust may play an important role in enhancing creative function. In a 2012 study out of Tel Aviv University, researchers found that people who “believe that racial groups have fixed underlying essences”—beliefs the authors termed “essentialist views”—performed significantly worse in creative tests than those who saw cultural and racial divisions as arbitrary and malleable. “This categorical mindset induces a habitual closed-mindedness that transcends the social domain and hampers creativity,” the study authors wrote. In other words, those who put people in boxes had trouble thinking outside the box.

Of course, although a new country is an easy way to leave a “social comfort zone,” the cultural engagement associated with cognitive change doesn’t have to happen abroad. If a plane ticket isn’t an option, maybe try taking the subway to a new neighborhood. Sometimes, the research suggests, all that’s needed for a creative boost is a fresh cultural scene.
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Re: The Brain

Postby Parodite » Sun Aug 30, 2015 4:16 pm

R.I.P. Oliver Sacks

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Re: The Brain

Postby Enki » Tue Sep 01, 2015 2:15 am

The structural basis of interindividual differences in human behaviour and cognition

Abstract | Inter-individual variability in perception, thought and action is frequently
treated as a source of ‘noise’ in scientific investigations of the neural mechanisms
that underlie these processes, and discarded by averaging data from a group of
participants. However, recent MRI studies in the human brain show that interindividual
variability in a wide range of basic and higher cognitive functions —
including perception, motor control, memory, aspects of consciousness and the
ability to introspect — can be predicted from the local structure of grey and white
matter as assessed by voxel-based morphometry or diffusion tensor imaging. We
propose that inter-individual differences can be used as a source of information
to link human behaviour and cognition to brain anatomy.
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Re: The Brain

Postby Doc » Tue Sep 01, 2015 4:21 am

Enki wrote:The structural basis of interindividual differences in human behaviour and cognition

Abstract | Inter-individual variability in perception, thought and action is frequently
treated as a source of ‘noise’ in scientific investigations of the neural mechanismsr
that underlie these processes, and discarded by averaging data from a group of
participants. However, recent MRI studies in the human brain show that interindividual
variability in a wide range of basic and higher cognitive functions —
including perception, motor control, memory, aspects of consciousness and the
ability to introspect — can be predicted from the local structure of grey and white
matter as assessed by voxel-based morphometry or diffusion tensor imaging. We
propose that inter-individual differences can be used as a source of information
to link human behaviour and cognition to brain anatomy.


HI Tinker How is the 3D printing going? I have some idea about that VS "Rise of the robots" Your work might even be the way forward

AS for the Brain. Personally I think the variability of intra-individual perception can be as great as the differences inter-individual.
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Re: The Brain

Postby Nonc Hilaire » Tue Sep 01, 2015 2:42 pm

Enki wrote:The structural basis of interindividual differences in human behaviour and cognition

Abstract | Inter-individual variability in perception, thought and action is frequently
treated as a source of ‘noise’ in scientific investigations of the neural mechanisms
that underlie these processes, and discarded by averaging data from a group of
participants. However, recent MRI studies in the human brain show that interindividual
variability in a wide range of basic and higher cognitive functions —
including perception, motor control, memory, aspects of consciousness and the
ability to introspect — can be predicted from the local structure of grey and white
matter as assessed by voxel-based morphometry or diffusion tensor imaging. We
propose that inter-individual differences can be used as a source of information
to link human behaviour and cognition to brain anatomy.

No doubt. If you are looking for at a public health issue, group studies are the way to go. If you are looking for basic science N=1 studies using double reversals are better because individuals provide their own baselines. A group study cannot confirm a specific MOA, only probability of final outcome.
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Re: The Brain

Postby Enki » Tue Sep 01, 2015 5:06 pm

Doc wrote:HI Tinker How is the 3D printing going? I have some idea about that VS "Rise of the robots" Your work might even be the way forward


I am not really working in 3D Printing. I will be moderating a panel on rapid prototyping soon.

We are launching this product company currently. http://aer-analytics.com

AS for the Brain. Personally I think the variability of intra-individual perception can be as great as the differences inter-individual.


Yeah, I am getting some of this from my virtual reality scene. My wife is COO of a VR startup that is doing VR data visualization. I hope to get an EEG helmet by the end of the year.

One of the most interesting pieces of gear coming out is the Augmented Reality hardhat created by Daqri. In future versions they will be applying EEG technology to take biometric readings. http://daqri.com
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Re: The Brain

Postby Enki » Tue Sep 01, 2015 5:08 pm

Nonc Hilaire wrote:
Enki wrote:The structural basis of interindividual differences in human behaviour and cognition

Abstract | Inter-individual variability in perception, thought and action is frequently
treated as a source of ‘noise’ in scientific investigations of the neural mechanisms
that underlie these processes, and discarded by averaging data from a group of
participants. However, recent MRI studies in the human brain show that interindividual
variability in a wide range of basic and higher cognitive functions —
including perception, motor control, memory, aspects of consciousness and the
ability to introspect — can be predicted from the local structure of grey and white
matter as assessed by voxel-based morphometry or diffusion tensor imaging. We
propose that inter-individual differences can be used as a source of information
to link human behaviour and cognition to brain anatomy.

No doubt. If you are looking for at a public health issue, group studies are the way to go. If you are looking for basic science N=1 studies using double reversals are better because individuals provide their own baselines. A group study cannot confirm a specific MOA, only probability of final outcome.


Indeed, what interested me about this paper was how they were modelling it.
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Re: The Brain

Postby Doc » Tue Sep 01, 2015 11:46 pm

Enki wrote:
Doc wrote:HI Tinker How is the 3D printing going? I have some idea about that VS "Rise of the robots" Your work might even be the way forward


I am not really working in 3D Printing. I will be moderating a panel on rapid prototyping soon.

We are launching this product company currently. http://aer-analytics.com

AS for the Brain. Personally I think the variability of intra-individual perception can be as great as the differences inter-individual.


Yeah, I am getting some of this from my virtual reality scene. My wife is COO of a VR startup that is doing VR data visualization. I hope to get an EEG helmet by the end of the year.

One of the most interesting pieces of gear coming out is the Augmented Reality hardhat created by Daqri. In future versions they will be applying EEG technology to take biometric readings. http://daqri.com


Looks like a lot of fun. I was thinking more in terms of the personal manufacturing you were talking about a year or two ago. It would be interesting to "see" how that might play out VS "rise of the robots"/ "Humans need not apply"

In the end it may boil down to "Do you or do you not own your own resources?" Starting with land and how many resources that land has to offer.
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Re: The Brain

Postby noddy » Wed Sep 02, 2015 1:58 am

it scary that nowdays you can build your own eeg/ecg gear with off the shelf consumer components for around $100 :)
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Re: The Brain

Postby Enki » Wed Sep 02, 2015 6:55 pm

I was talking about making small sensors for hydroponics systems.

Http://atlasscientific.Com beat me to it. I would just buy gear from them and assemble it now.
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Re: The Brain

Postby Typhoon » Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:57 pm

Welcome back, Enki.
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Re: The Brain

Postby Enki » Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:52 pm

Typhoon wrote:Welcome back, Enki.


Thanks! Good to see you all.
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Re: The Brain

Postby Parodite » Fri Sep 04, 2015 9:22 am

Good to hear from you again Enki. :)
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Re: The Brain

Postby noddy » Sat Sep 05, 2015 1:58 am

Enki wrote:I was talking about making small sensors for hydroponics systems.

Http://atlasscientific.Com beat me to it. I would just buy gear from them and assemble it now.


my soon to be ex company did some product with those, hard to get margins when things are so cheap :/
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Re: The Brain

Postby Doc » Sat Apr 16, 2016 9:36 am

http://scienmag.com/electrical-brain-st ... chers-say/
Electrical brain stimulation enhances creativity, researchers say
By admin -
April 14, 2016

WASHINGTON (April 14, 2016) – Safe levels of electrical stimulation can enhance your capacity to think more creatively, according to a new study by Georgetown researchers.

Georgetown psychology professor Adam Green and Dr. Peter Turkeltaub of Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) and MedStar National Rehabilitation Network, and a team of colleagues published the study yesterday online in Cerebral Cortex.

The team used Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) to stimulate an area of the brain known to be associated with creativity in combination with giving test subjects verbal cues to think more creatively.

"We found that the individuals who were most able to ramp up activity in a region at the far front of the brain, called the frontopolar cortex, were the ones most able to ramp up the creativity of the connections they formed," Green explains. "Since ramping up activity in frontopolar cortex appeared to support a natural boost in creative thinking, we predicted that stimulating activity in this brain region would facilitate this boost, allowing people to reach higher creative heights."
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Re: The Brain

Postby Nonc Hilaire » Sat Apr 16, 2016 10:55 am

Doc wrote:http://scienmag.com/electrical-brain-stimulation-enhances-creativity-researchers-say/
Electrical brain stimulation enhances creativity, researchers say
By admin -
April 14, 2016

WASHINGTON (April 14, 2016) – Safe levels of electrical stimulation can enhance your capacity to think more creatively, according to a new study by Georgetown researchers.

Georgetown psychology professor Adam Green and Dr. Peter Turkeltaub of Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) and MedStar National Rehabilitation Network, and a team of colleagues published the study yesterday online in Cerebral Cortex.

The team used Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) to stimulate an area of the brain known to be associated with creativity in combination with giving test subjects verbal cues to think more creatively.

"We found that the individuals who were most able to ramp up activity in a region at the far front of the brain, called the frontopolar cortex, were the ones most able to ramp up the creativity of the connections they formed," Green explains. "Since ramping up activity in frontopolar cortex appeared to support a natural boost in creative thinking, we predicted that stimulating activity in this brain region would facilitate this boost, allowing people to reach higher creative heights."

I wonder if a TENS unit would work? They are only about $20 these days.
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Re: The Brain

Postby Doc » Sun Apr 17, 2016 6:48 am

Nonc Hilaire wrote:
Doc wrote:http://scienmag.com/electrical-brain-stimulation-enhances-creativity-researchers-say/
Electrical brain stimulation enhances creativity, researchers say
By admin -
April 14, 2016

WASHINGTON (April 14, 2016) – Safe levels of electrical stimulation can enhance your capacity to think more creatively, according to a new study by Georgetown researchers.

Georgetown psychology professor Adam Green and Dr. Peter Turkeltaub of Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) and MedStar National Rehabilitation Network, and a team of colleagues published the study yesterday online in Cerebral Cortex.

The team used Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) to stimulate an area of the brain known to be associated with creativity in combination with giving test subjects verbal cues to think more creatively.

"We found that the individuals who were most able to ramp up activity in a region at the far front of the brain, called the frontopolar cortex, were the ones most able to ramp up the creativity of the connections they formed," Green explains. "Since ramping up activity in frontopolar cortex appeared to support a natural boost in creative thinking, we predicted that stimulating activity in this brain region would facilitate this boost, allowing people to reach higher creative heights."

I wonder if a TENS unit would work? They are only about $20 these days.


I don't on that What is a "TENS" unit?

There are people out there that experiment with this stuff. i have seen at least one program that claim a 1khz signal at the front of the brain relieves bi-polar disorder.
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Re: The Brain

Postby Nonc Hilaire » Sun Apr 17, 2016 9:53 am

TENS is a battery powered unit which runs a pulsing shock through muscles, causing them to contract and then relax. Sold as massage devices, they have been used in chiropractic and physical therapy for decades. Only recently have low cost home units become widely available.

Very helpful for planar fascitis and muscle strain/pain.
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Re: The Brain

Postby Doc » Mon Apr 18, 2016 7:18 am

Nonc Hilaire wrote:TENS is a battery powered unit which runs a pulsing shock through muscles, causing them to contract and then relax. Sold as massage devices, they have been used in chiropractic and physical therapy for decades. Only recently have low cost home units become widely available.

Very helpful for planar fascitis and muscle strain/pain.


Don't stand in water and use it. :P

Seriously though I wouldn't use it like that. I don't know what the power output of that unit is but generally a good shock on the head could cause a seizure
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Re: The Brain

Postby Nonc Hilaire » Mon Apr 18, 2016 1:40 pm

Doc wrote:
Nonc Hilaire wrote:TENS is a battery powered unit which runs a pulsing shock through muscles, causing them to contract and then relax. Sold as massage devices, they have been used in chiropractic and physical therapy for decades. Only recently have low cost home units become widely available.

Very helpful for planar fascitis and muscle strain/pain.


Don't stand in water and use it. :P

Seriously though I wouldn't use it like that. I don't know what the power output of that unit is but generally a good shock on the head could cause a seizure

They have settings for tension headaches. Strength is adjustable, and max is like putting your tongue on a 9 volt.
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Re: The Brain

Postby Parodite » Mon Apr 18, 2016 4:38 pm

Should work

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Re: The Brain

Postby Doc » Tue Apr 26, 2016 6:11 am

Parodite wrote:Should work

Image


Even better

In a Cat got your tongue sort of way.

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