The potential economic benefit of trained mathematicians and scientists may be obvious to policy makers, and as scientists we can appreciate this. It can be difficult to envision how a third grader's piano lessons will lead to future economic gains; however, the hidden benefits of language and music training on cognitive health and brain function should not be overlooked. It's time to put what's "extra" back into the curriculum and embrace arts programming in schools as an essential part of building and maintaining cognitive health both in the present and into the future.
Post-doctoral researcher, Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute
Marc Berman received his Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience and industrial and operations engineering at the University of Michigan. During graduate school, Marc was the recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. He is currently a post-doctoral fellow at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute in Toronto where he examines the brain mechanisms involved in controlling thoughts, feelings and behaviors, and how to improve those abilities. Marc has authored or co-authored over 26 publications in peer-reviewed journals and edited book chapters on these topics. His work has also been cited in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New Yorker Magazine, and the Boston Globe as well as other media and news outlets. His research in Attention Restoration Theory was cited in the New York Times bestseller and Pulitzer Prize finalist book by Nicholas Carr, The Shallows: What the internet is doing to our brains. Berman’s groundbreaking research has shown that spending time with nature -- for example, going for a walk in the park -- refreshes our brain, improving attention and memory performance.
Did you know that interacting with nature be therapeutic for individuals with major depressive disorder? Also, your short-term memory capacity can increase by 16 per cent after a nature walk, not to mention you'll burn some calories!
05/24/2012 08:46 EDT
We like to think that we are in complete conscious control of our behaviour, but as it turns out we may be kidding ourselves. Case in point: many of us think that advertising has no bearing on our behaviour until we find ourselves woofing down a fast-food chain hamburger that we were mysteriously craving.
03/14/2012 11:30 EDT
In our modern lives, we are constantly bombarded with information and demands on our attention. Between cell phones, email, the Internet and social networking, there is hardly a moment left for self-reflection. What can we do to improve our focus and concentration abilities?
02/02/2012 04:51 EST
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