From the monthly archives:

June 2008

The (hopefully) Final Words On The Brain Fitness Bruhaha

by ToriDeaux on June 30, 2008

I know, I know….

I promised to get into the nitty-gritty of the argument over this weekend. But you’re going to have to wait till the 4th for those fireworks. I’ve spent the weekend on the back yard, alternately relaxing in my brand new new patio set, trying out the new BBQ grill, and watching an incredibly beautiful thunderstorm. It’s left me oh-so-mellow, and I’m just weary of the whole debate. I’ve decided to write Dr. Grohol privately tomorrow, clear up a few final issues, and hopefully we can get back to your irregularly unscheduled mindtweaking.

The only point in all of this that really matters is the legitimacy of a recommendation of a balanced approach to brain fitness. [click to continue...]


The Big Brain-Building Debate: A Citizen-Journalist’s Role

by ToriDeaux on June 26, 2008

A week or so ago, I published a somewhat quirky image
but carefully considered response to a Psyblog post, assessing the research behind popular brain-fitness techniques. Alvaro Fernandez of SharpBrains offered his not-so-quirky view on the topic as well. Together, the three posts provided an interesting combination of perspectives:

  • Jeremy Dean, Psyblogger and freelance writer with advanced degrees in research methods and psychology
  • Alvaro Fernandez, co-founder and chief executive of market research and  consulting firm, SharpBrains
  • And then there’s me… probably best described in this instance as a consumer/blogger, or a citizen journalist if I’m feeling pretentious. (And I am feeling pretentious. )

Yesterday, John Grohol (psychologist and CEO of online mental health portal, PsychCentral) added his perspective to the conversation. Unfortunately his contribution left me feeling more confused than enlightened – and, ok, a bit annoyed. Not annoyed because he disagreed with my position, (there’s plenty of room for different interpretations of research) but because he seemed to dismiss the discussion out of hand, without addressing any of the questions raised — apparently on the grounds of a lack of credentials on my part.

So this seemed like a good time to publicly address the role of bloggers in these discussions, and why we’re relevant to the topics of psychology, neuroscience, and the like.

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Brain Rules For Bloggers: Of Sex and Exploration

by ToriDeaux on June 24, 2008

This is Part Six  of the Brain Rules for Bloggers series, based on
John Medina’s excellent book & dvd, Brain Rules.


Brain Rule #11:  Male and Female Brains Are Different (and they’ll read your blog differently, too.)

It should come as no real surprise that men and women think differently;  from the time we’re infants (or a splotch on a sonogram) the world assigns us little labels in pink or blue, and then trains us to react accordingly.

But the differences run deeper than baby-blanket colors. Through a combination of nature and nuture, the differences are wired into our brains according to our sex.

This is a difficult segment to write.    The wording is awkward, the assertions are awkward, and I’m usually allergic to  gender based generalizations, because they are so often used as excuses or justifications for poor behavior.  The science does not support those excuses and justifications -  there’s a lot we dont know about the gender difference in the brain, but  we *do* know that neither gender has any sort of inherent  brain-based advantage over the other.   We also know that the brains of both sexes are capable of learning new ways to process things,  and that the generalizations do not hold true on an individual basis.

With that said?

Men and women really do think differently.

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Weekly Tweaks Returns! 4 Questions & A Flip

by ToriDeaux on June 17, 2008

"Which Way To The Moo's?"    (Photo by andrewatla on Stock.Xchng)One of my favorite mind-tweaking methods is to track down my most sacred assumptions, turn them upside down, shake violently and see what moos. 

So when  I ran across “The Work” of Byron Katie during a recent New Age debunking binge,  I was pleased  to find it a practical method of  investigating and challenging our beliefs about the world, and how we think it should be.    There *are* some gems  buried in the newage fluff out there (really, there are!) and this appears to be one of them.  Here’s how it goes.

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Looking for the Best Brain Fitness Method? Think Balance. (This is me being a blog-butt-in-ski)

by ToriDeaux on June 12, 2008

For anyone interested, I’ve added a follow up on this conversation: The Big Brain Building Debate: A Citizen Journalist’s Role In The Discussion

Two of my favorite Mind/Brain Bloggers are having an interesting conversation about different approaches to cognitive fitness, and I’ve decided to butt in. (Because that’s the only way I know to do this social media thing, you know. I butt in)

Not Actual Photos Of Jeremy or Alvaro. If you’re not familiar with Jeremy Dean of Psyblog, or Alvaro Fernandez of SharpBrains, hop on over to their sites, and subscribe. They both blog circles around me, frankly, so it’s worth your time (and hopefully that plug will make up for the photo of stuffed animals I’ve plonked next to their names… sorry guys. )

But about that conversation…

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