Recommended reading: Wired to Create

Reviewed by Marni Amsellem, Ph.D. A great read for anyone who wants to understand the science behind creativity should check out Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind by Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire (2015, Perigee). In addition to delving into what it means to be creative, the book summarizes current … Read moreRecommended reading: Wired to Create

Recommended reading: When breath becomes air

by Marni Amsellem, Ph.D. If you have an appreciation for both the fragility as well as the humanity of the brain, you will want to read Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air. More accurately, if you HAVE a brain (and we all do), you will want to read this book. This book is remarkable for … Read moreRecommended reading: When breath becomes air

Survey results on exercise and psychological well-being

In 2000, a group of researchers from the Finnish National Public Health Institute surveyed a section of the Finnish population, searching for an association between exercise and psychological well-being. Participants answered questions regarding their exercise habits, perceived health, and fitness. In addition, the participants filled out several standardized surveys designed to determine if they suffer from feelings of depression, their … Read moreSurvey results on exercise and psychological well-being

Book Review: Psychology: Essential Thinkers, Classic Theories, and How They Inform Your World

On the one hand, Psychology: Essential Thinkers, Classic Theories,and How They Inform Your World by Dr. Andrea Bonior is a compilation of useful summaries of thought-provoking ideas and influential thinkers, and on other hand, this book is an easy-to-digest,  visually appealing, and witty resource that has carved out its own little place on my bookshelf. This just-published book highlights the most significant … Read moreBook Review: Psychology: Essential Thinkers, Classic Theories, and How They Inform Your World

Are some of us wired to be more resilient?

These days, there is much talk of resilience. This is not surprising, as there are ample stressors in our daily lives and in our world, and some people seem to fare better in the face of stressors than others. But what is it that makes some people more resilient than others in the face of … Read moreAre some of us wired to be more resilient?

Things we can do to help our brains help us feel good: Meditation

Ask meditation devotees and they will tell you with conviction that their meditative practice brings about positive change within them. There is a lot of research that supports these experiences; whether it be a more positive mood after meditating, a more relaxed or focused cognitive state, or increased connection with others, the practice would not have … Read moreThings we can do to help our brains help us feel good: Meditation

More big evidence that mindfulness keeps the doctor away

 It is hard not to observe that the concept of “mindfulness” is currently very popular. According to Miriam-Webster Dictionary, mindfulness is “the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.”  The term is often used in reference to relaxation, meditation, everyday behaviors, … Read moreMore big evidence that mindfulness keeps the doctor away

Gratitude on the brain

Everyone seems to be talking about gratitude these days. Many who practice gratitude recognize in themselves that identifying and expressing gratitude makes them feel good. There is also a growing body of research (recently even fMRI studies) which supports what people recognize in themselves; that acknowledging feelings of gratitude can have many benefits for health … Read moreGratitude on the brain

Exercise on the Brain

This post is a summary of a Brain Science podcast in which host Ginger Campbell, MD, interviewed psychiatrist John Ratey about the effects of exercise on the brain. Essentially, Dr. Rater argued that exercise promotes changes in chemistry in your brain which he further describes in his book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain: The Revolutionary New Science … Read moreExercise on the Brain

Other neuroscience blogs you should check out!

  As we at The Avielle Foundation began our work, we soon recognized the benefit of having a resource for linking up to and summarizing relevant neuroscience research underlying the work that we do. This is how the “Check This Out!” spotlight on research and learning library has come to be. Our goal is to make science accessible to anyone who would … Read moreOther neuroscience blogs you should check out!

We are wired for compassion; how can we be MORE compassionate?

In this interview, psychologist and author Daniel Goleman, spoke with NPR Radio about compassion and why compassion is often absent in human behavior. After defining and describing current scientific thinking about compassion, he summarized current thought on compassion based on social neuroscience. Social neuroscience, he explained, is a  subfield of brain science that looks at … Read moreWe are wired for compassion; how can we be MORE compassionate?

Meditation’s benefits for your brain

Many people who practice meditation strongly stand behind their practice, noting the many benefits that they notice within themselves from meditating. What happens inside of the brain when a person meditates? Neuroscientists in many labs have sought to better understand this by conducting brain imaging studies, one of which we feature in a related blog post. … Read moreMeditation’s benefits for your brain

Neuroscience informing educational approaches in school

We wanted to highlight several videos in which the applications of neuroscience to education are presented in a clear, user-friendly way, both by Lori Desautels. The webinar focuses on trauma-informed education. She specifically describes the role of trauma in childhood and adolescence in our brain and how it impedes our ability to function, neurobiologically. She explains how when a child is … Read moreNeuroscience informing educational approaches in school

The neuroscience of the adolescent brain

Cognitive neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore highlights the period of life when the brain is rapidly developing and quite malleable, known as adolescence, in this TED Talk. She describes her research in which she uses neuroimaging to compare the adolescent’s prefrontal cortex and limbic system to that of adults, noting that there are many ways in which … Read moreThe neuroscience of the adolescent brain

How to read scientific papers

On this page, we post links to scientific papers that describe research that may be of interest to those who want to understand more of the science behind what we do. We do realize that posting these papers may create a bit of anxiety when it comes to understanding what the papers are actually saying. … Read moreHow to read scientific papers

Empathy and compassion training changes both behavior and brain

Watch Olga Klimecki’s presentation on the Neuroscience Of Empathy and Compassion at the 2012 Empathy and Compassion in Society conference to learn about the effects of empathy and compassion training. Her primary point, demonstrating the plasticity of the brain, is essentially that we can train ourselves to react a certain way. Our emotional reactions (and underlying … Read moreEmpathy and compassion training changes both behavior and brain

Kelly McGonigal TED Talk- How to make stress your friend

Dr. Kelly McGonigal’s TED talk about the effects of stress on your mind and body represents a powerful perspective change on how we think about stress. Rather than trying to eliminate stress from your life (which is not doable), her goal as a health psychologist is to get people to get “better” at stress. That … Read moreKelly McGonigal TED Talk- How to make stress your friend