Neuroscience around the Web – Issue 1

​Here are five interesting new studies I've found recently on the web.
Cheeseburger or Salad
Cheeseburger or salad

​When you eat in a restaurant playing loud music, you probably order the burger and fries rather than the salad. That's because music volume influences our food choices. When the music is loud, we're more likely to choose the unhealthy option, and when the music is low, we're more likely to choose the healthy option. This means that restaurant managers can manipulate food choices to influence sales, by strategically manipulating the music.


​An upcoming appointment makes us less productive

​Do you find it hard start working on a project when you have a scheduled task or appointment coming up? That's because people underestimate the amount of time they have available before a task or appointment on their calendar: Free time seems shorter. "We feel that if we have a meeting in two hours, we shouldn't work on any big projects. So we may spend time just answering emails or doing things that aren't as productive." That may explain why, on days when we have meetings spread throughout, we feel like we have accomplished little.

Using your legs
​Using your legs is vital for brain health 

"Using the legs, particularly in weight-bearing exercise, sends signals to the brain that are vital for the production of healthy neural cells, essential for the brain and nervous system. Cutting back on exercise makes it difficult for the body to produce new nerve cells -- some of the very building blocks that allow us to handle stress and adapt to challenge in our lives."

​Be careful of neuromyths

Sports coaches with an interest in the brain are more prone to believing in neuromyths. A couple of the neuromyths they endorsed were the "learning styles" myth and "the idea that short bursts of coordination exercises can improve the integration of left and right-hemishphere brain function, which chimes with the fact they said they made frequent use of the pseudoscientific Brain Gym programme that espouses this idea." There's a lot of neuroscience misinformation on the internet. And we need to be careful that we're not succumbing to neuro-marketing.

​Weaning yourself off anti-depressants can be ​hard

 "The biggest reason why many long-term users can't quit is because they get intolerable withdrawal symptoms. These include dizziness, balance problems, fatigue, cognitive deficits, insomnia, anxiety, aches and pains and nausea. Some people get electric shock sensations in the head that have been dubbed brain zaps. A recent study mentioned in the Times found that half of long-term users said the withdrawal symptoms were severe — so severe nearly half said they could not bear quitting."

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