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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… Read More

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… Read More

The Pareto Principal and Social Burden

Many of us have heard of some form of the 80:20, or Pareto Principal. For example 80% of a country’s wealth lies in 20% of the population; or 80% of a business’ profits are generated by 20% of… Read More

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… Read More

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,… Read More

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… Read More

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… Read More

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… Read More

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… Read More

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… Read More

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… Read More

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… Read More

The neuroscience of restorative justice

Daniel Reisel has spent a lot of time studying psychopaths (specifically murderers) in order to determine what neurological changes allow them to act without feeling or concern. Research indicates that psychopaths have a deficit in the amygdala, a… Read More

Why aren’t we more compassionate?

In this TED talk, Daniel Goleman, psychologist and author of Emotional Intelligence, discusses our natural propensity for compassion. He explains how we have “mirror neurons” which automatically allow us to feel “with” someone and make compassionate choices. However,… Read More

The Resilience Portfolio Model

The Resilience Portfolio Model examines the protective factors and processes that promote resilience in children and adults who have been exposed to violence. There is a large body of research revealing common themes that have allowed people to… Read More

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… Read More

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… Read More

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… Read More

Neuropsychology of Violence

This review compiles recent studies, offering several explanations for abusive violence. The authors investigated the patterns of neuropsychological deficits in men who committed violent acts against women. They identified several potential causes for neuropsychological impairments, such as alcohol… Read More

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… Read More

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,… Read More

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… Read More

Carol Dweck TED talk: The power of believing that you can improve

Carol Dweck is a revolutionary researcher interested in motivation and how we can foster success. In this talk, she discusses how changing your mindset can enable success. According to Dr. Dweck, two primary mindsets operate when starting a challenge…. Read More

Thomas Insel TED talk: Toward a new understanding of mental illness

In this TED talk,Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, reflects on how significant strides in brain health can be made. Though we have had significant progress over the last few decades in our knowledge and… Read More

Nadine Burke Harris TED talk: How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime

In this compelling TED talk, pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris demonstrates how a single exposure that, in high doses, affects brain development, the immune system, hormonal systems, and even gene expression. In high doses, it can lead to an increased… Read More

The Avielle Foundation’s viewing of ‘Inside Out’

This week, members of the TAF team went to see the Disney Pixar movie Inside Out. Everyone loved the movie and agreed with the film’s lessons about social and emotional learning. The movie tells the story of a… Read More

compassion and empathy in the brain: not the same (research study)

Empathy and compassion are similar, of course, but not the same. Empathy is “putting yourself in someone else’s shoes,” such as feeling pain or sadness in response to someone else’s suffering. Compassion, however, is translating this experience of… Read More

Gary Slutkin TED talk: Let’s treat violence like a contagious disease

In Dr. Gary Slutkin’s TED talk, he proposes that we treat violence the same way we treat any other contagious disease. Dr. Slutkin founded Cure Violence in 2000, following a decade of overseas work as an epidemiologist whose goal… Read More