Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Traffic both ways

I am listening to "Outsmart Yourself" by Peter Vishton, one of the Great Courses.  Their courses can be purchased in CD or DVD format and can be streamed to a computer, tablet or phone.  I haven't found a good way to fit Great Courses into my life except while driving around town on errands.  So, if a course is so visual that it is only sold in DVD - video format, I don't try to watch it.  The few times I have tried, I haven't gotten to the material.  


Vishton is a psychology professor and he tries hard to get recent research that is applicable to a typical difficulty most people have.  He organizes the course around "tips", clues that allow better living.  For instance, one of his tips, backed up by some research, is that you may be more creative in your thinking if you are standing up rather than sitting.  He goes so far as to hypothesize that mathematicians may be good at solving complex problems because they often work standing at a blackboard.

In discussing the various ways that our brains work, Vishton emphasizes that the notion of the brain being in charge of the body is being modified.  It is clear that actions and uses of the body influence the brain.  So, traffic and influence travel both ways: from the brain and into the brain.  The book "The Brain that Changes Itself" by N. Doidge, MD and his follow-up volume make body and activity influence and modification of the brain clear and interesting.

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