Here are six interesting new neuroscience studies I came across recently:
Why you may be overeating
We already know that seeing pictures of food increases nervous system arousal. However, even subliminal pictures, pictures that we are not conscious of, also increase nervous system arousal. And this was related to emotional eating and conscious decisions to restrict certain foods. What you're not aware of may be having a significant impact on your dieting decisions.
Embracing discomfort may help you achieve your goals
Growth and progress are not meant to be comfortable. Rather, "we should seek out the feelings of awkwardness or discomfort that are often associated with personal growth, and interpret them as signs of progress towards our goals. This can motivate us when faced with what we might otherwise simply see as negative emotional experiences."
How to wake up feeling refreshed
It's under your control. The keys are diet, exercise, and enough sleep, between 7 and 9 hrs. Many people try to get by on less sleep than they need but "morning grogginess is more than just an annoyance. It has major societal consequences: Many auto accidents, job injuries, and large-scale disasters are caused by people who cannot shake off sleepiness. The Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, the Three Mile Island nuclear meltdown in Pennsylvania, and an even worse nuclear accident in Chernobyl, Ukraine, are well-known examples.
Brains with more vitamin D work better
Vitamin D is present in the brain. "The researchers assessed the cognitive function of participants, older people with no signs of cognitive impairment, as they aged, and analyzed irregularities in their brain tissue after death. They found that vitamin D was indeed present in brain tissue, and high vitamin D levels in the brain correlated with better cognitive function."
Women may have better social skills than men
“Theory of mind is the ability to attribute mental states to oneself and others, in order to make sense of human behaviour and to predict it." It's a vital skill for navigating social interaction. Women scored higher than men across 56 countries and across the lifespan.
Intelligence requires the whole brain
"Intelligence appears to emerge from the global architecture of the brain and to reflect the efficiency and flexibility of systemwide network function rather than originating from a specific brain region or network." "Global information processing in the brain is fundamental to how well an individual overcomes cognitive challenges."