Thursday, April 20, 2017

Thursday Thirteen

1. When it is 7:27 on a Thursday morning and I have no Thursday 13 prepared, it's time for my brain to think.

2. However, my brain tends not to work so well in the mornings anymore.

My Lumosity scores. I am in the 90th percentile
for my age group.
3. That is why I am playing the "brain games" at Lumosity. They are supposed to challenge you and increase your gray matter. Practice must help because my overall score has risen by over 300 points since I began playing in October. (It has dropped in the last month, but I had the respiratory thing and suspect that contributed to a decline.)

4. Did you know physical exercise can make you think better? If you get up and move around, your long-term memory, reasoning, attention, problem-solving, and other intelligence tasks improve. Really!

Let's get physical!

5. The reason humanity has survived is because of our brains, not our brawn. Our brain is a survival organ that evolved as humans had to solve problems related to survival in terrible environments. Without it, you wouldn't be around long enough to procreate and pass on your genetic material. "We were not the strongest on the planet but we developed the strongest brains, the key to our survival. … The strongest brains survive, not the strongest bodies. … " - The Week

6. Every brain is wired differently. It is wrong to assume all brains are the same, that all children can learn at the same rate, that we all think the same way. Brains are affected by every action and life event - it literally rewires the individual brain when something happens.

Turn off your phone if you
want to learn a song.
7. We are not meant to multi-task. You may be able to walk and talk and chew gum at the same time, but higher level tasks should be performed one by one. Today, workplaces and schools encourage doing multiple things at once and the rate of error increases with every activity added. "Research shows your error rate goes up 50 percent and it takes you twice as long to do things. When you're always online you're always distracted. So the always online organization is the always unproductive organization." - The Week

8. Our attention span only lasts about 10 minutes. Then we need to reboot.

How'd you sleep last night?
9. Sleeping helps your brain work better. Lack of sleep means you're literally losing your mind. Sleep loss inhibits thinking in all measurable ways. It makes you less attentive, worsens your memory, sours your mood, and impedes your logical reasoning ability.

10. Brains need naps. Most people find the 3 p.m. hour to be difficult and eat a power bar or something, but what you really need is a nap. About 12 hours after the midpoint of your sleep, your brain wants a rest. That's why it makes no sense to schedule a 3 p.m. meeting. (Or surgery. Must remember that next time. Wait until morning if you can.)

11. Stress lowers brain function. Brains today still are on saber-tooth tiger time - reflecting on dangers that lasted about 30 seconds. Brains aren't designed for long-term stress like dealing with a bad boss, marriage, or inappropriately raised children. Stress literally makes your brain smaller. It damages memory and executive function and impairs motor skills. Stress disrupts your immune system. The longer you're stressed, the sicker you get. It disrupts sleep. It causes depression. (See how that cycle kicks in there?)

This is my eye!
12.  Vision is the best of our senses. We remember pictures better than anything else. Information we hear vanishes: we only remember about 10 percent of that. Throw in a power point picture and we remember 65 percent of the info. Reading is also inefficient because our brain sees words as tiny pictures. (I guess now I need to take drawing lessons.)

13. Male and female brains are different. Neither is better, they're just different. Sex-based differences are best noted in psychiatric disorders. Men are afflicted by schizophrenia more than women. Women are more likely to become depressed than men. Males have more antisocial behavior. Females have more anxiety. Most alcoholics and drug addicts are male. Most people who have anorexia are female. These differences are a product of complex interactions between nature and nurture.

Information taken from The Week: 12 Things We Know About the Brain.


Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here if you want to read other Thursday Thirteens and/or play along. I've been playing for a while and this is my 496th time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday.


  1. #12 unless the auditory is via music, then we remember it. Brains fascinate me too, but what is the difference between the brain and the mind, and when the mind goes, where is the person?

  2. good reminders oh the lovely dogwood

  3. I expect to have to explain the fallacy of "multi-tasking" to the students I work with while I'm prying their attention from their phones, I-Pads, etc, etc, but I DON'T think I should have to do so with so many of the alleged teachers.

  4. Stressssss. It certainly does imprint itself upon your mind and your body. All the auto-immune disorders are, as you say, traceable right back to stress.

  5. Ten minutes of attention? Really, hmmm. Thanks for the information. I love learning new things.

  6. Wow! Great information! I am definitely going to look up the Lumosity website. I did know that our brains don't truly multi-task. I think it's very interesting how male and female brains are different. I love this post!


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