Minding the News

February 3, 2009 at 3:06 am 1 comment

Some of the more interesting general news items and articles related to psychology and the brain sciences…

** SharpBrains, which continues to publish a wide range of fascinating news and research related to brain fitness, has a provocative interview with chess champion Joshua Waitzkin. In the interview, Waitzkin reflects on his retirement from the game, his struggle to rekindle his passion for chess, what he learned about philosophy and psychology from Tai Chi, and his book The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance.

** “First Person Plural” by Paul Bloom of the Atlantic:

An evoloving approach to the science of pleasure suggests that each of us contains multiple selves — all with different desires, and all fighting for control. If this is right, the pursuit of happiness becomes even trickier. Can one “bind” another self if the two want different things? Are you always better off when a Good Self wins? And should outsiders, such as employers and policy makers, get into the fray?

** One of the reasons why I continue to subscribe to Newsweek is to read Sharon Begley’s “On Science” column, which distills and makes accessible some of the more interesting and important research in science. “When DNA is Not Destiny” explains how psychology, cognitive science, and genetics studies show that otherwise assumed inhereted aspects of our personhood, including intelligence and personality, are not immutable: “Experiences can silence genes or activitate them. Even shyness is like Silly Putty once life gets a hold of it.”

** Best Life magazine has a good general article about “Your Brain at 40,” seeking to explain the “recent breakthroughs in neuroscience that provide answers to questions on how the brain ages and how men can maintain a sharp cognitive edge.” Especially with the recent explosion of the brain-fitness market, I found the related post “Lobes of Steel” to be a handy cheat-sheet that evaluates the theories behind and evidence for some of the more popular computer-based mental-training programs, including Posit Science‘s Brain Fitness Program, Cogmed’s Working Memory Training, CogniFit’s Mindfit, and Lumos Labs’ Lumosity.

Play, think…
J.R. Atwood


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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Alvaro  |  February 7, 2009 at 12:50 am

    J.R., glad you enjoyed the interview! I found it fascinating too. Thank you for the kind words, and enjoy the weekend


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Jason R. Atwood

I'm an avid trail runner and doctoral student at U.C. Berkeley who studies motivation and the relationship between the mind and body. This blog is a forum to share research, news, and musings about these topics of interest. More

Play is the beginning of knowledge.

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