What are the treatments for obesity?

Obesity can happen for a number of reasons, including diet, a sedentary lifestyle, genetic factors, a health condition, or the use of certain medications. A number of treatment options can help people to achieve and maintain a suitable weight.

Carrying excess weight can increase the risk of a number of health problems. Losing weight can be frustrating and difficult, but even losing just 5–10 percent of body weight can bring significant health benefits, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Read

Advertisements
Posted in Obesity | Tagged

Is Talking a Behavior or a Mental Process?

Let’s talk about talking and the science of psychology. To be clear about what I mean, consider related concepts like verbal behavior, conversations, cognitive therapy and self-talk, narrative therapy and meaning-making, reasoning and reason-giving, attributions, interpretations, explanations and on and on.

Let’s ask modern empirical psychology: What are these “things”? Virtually all modern textbooks define psychology as “the science of behavior and mental processes.” Behaviors, the textbooks tell us, are things that can be observed and measured by scientists. In contrast, mental processes are hidden, at least from the third-person, empiricist perspective that defines modern psychology.

Read

Posted in Talking | Tagged

Intelligence is associated with the modular structure of intrinsic brain networks

General intelligence is a psychological construct that captures in a single metric the overall level of behavioral and cognitive performance in an individual. While previous research has attempted to localize intelligence in circumscribed brain regions, more recent work focuses on functional interactions between regions. However, even though brain networks are characterized by substantial modularity, it is unclear whether and how the brain’s modular organization is associated with general intelligence. Modeling subject-specific brain network graphs from functional MRI resting-state data (N = 309), we found that intelligence was not associated with global modularity features (e.g., number or size of modules) or the whole-brain proportions of different node types (e.g., connector hubs or provincial hubs). In contrast, we observed characteristic associations between intelligence and node-specific measures of within- and between-module connectivity, particularly in frontal and parietal brain regions that have previously been linked to intelligence. We propose that the connectivity profile of these regions may shape intelligence-relevant aspects of information processing. Our data demonstrate that not only region-specific differences in brain structure and function but also the network-topological embedding of fronto-parietal, as well as other cortical and subcortical brain regions, is related to individual differences in higher cognitive abilities, i.e., intelligence.

Read

Posted in Brain networks, Intelligence | Tagged ,

Different brain structures associated with artistic and scientific creativity

Creativity is the ability to produce original and valuable ideas or behaviors. In real life, artistic and scientific creativity promoted the development of human civilization; however, to date, no studies have systematically investigated differences in the brain structures responsible for artistic and scientific creativity in a large sample. Using voxel-based morphometry (VBM), this study identified differences in regional gray matter volume (GMV) across the brain between artistic and scientific creativity (assessed by the Creative Achievement Questionnaire) in 356 young, healthy subjects. The results showed that artistic creativity was significantly negatively associated with the regional GMV of the supplementary motor area (SMA) and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). In contrast, scientific creativity was significantly positively correlated with the regional GMV of the left middle frontal gyrus (MFG) and left inferior occipital gyrus (IOG). Overall, artistic creativity was associated with the salience network (SN), whereas scientific creativity was associated with the executive attention network and semantic processing. These results may provide an effective marker that can be used to predict and evaluate individuals’ creative performance in the fields of science and art.

Read

Posted in Brain structure, Creativity | Tagged ,

The Role of Intelligence in Social Learning

Studies in cultural evolution have uncovered many types of social learning strategies that are adaptive in certain environments. The efficiency of these strategies also depends on the individual characteristics of both the observer and the demonstrator. We investigate the relationship between intelligence and the ways social and individual information is utilized to make decisions in an uncertain environment. We measure fluid intelligence and study experimentally how individuals learn from observing the choices of a demonstrator in a 2-armed bandit problem with changing probabilities of a reward. Participants observe a demonstrator with high or low fluid intelligence. In some treatments, they are aware of the intelligence score of the demonstrator and in others, they are not. Low fluid intelligence individuals imitate the demonstrator more when her fluid intelligence is known than when it is not. Conversely, individuals with high fluid intelligence adjust their use of social information, as the observed behavior changes, independently of the knowledge of the intelligence of the demonstrator. We provide evidence that intelligence determines how social and individual information is integrated in order to make choices in a changing uncertain environment.

Read

Posted in Intelligence, Social learning | Tagged ,

Babies Feel Pain More Intensely Than Adults

It may seem crazy, but until very recently most doctors were trained to believe babies don’t feel pain — or at least not as much as adults do — with the rationalization that their nervous systems weren’t fully developed.

Under this belief, all kinds of traumatically painful operations and surgeries were performed on them without anesthesia or pain medicine until at least the late 1980s.

In 1987, the American Academy of Pediatrics declared it was no longer ethical to perform surgery on premature babies without anesthetics, but to this day, both preterm and full-term babies endure a surprising number of painful procedures without any form of pain relief.

Read

Posted in Baby, Pain | Tagged ,

Affective neuroscience of the emotional Brain-Mind

Cross-species affective neuroscience studies confirm that primary-process emotional feelings are organized within primitive subcortical regions of the brain that are anatomical, neurochemically, and functionally homologous in all mammals that have been studied. Emotional feelings (affects) are intrinsic values that inform animals how they are faring in the quest to survive. The various positive effects indicate that animals are returning to “comfort zones” that support survival, and negative affects reflect “discomfort zones” that indicate that animals are in situations that may impair survival. They are ancestral tools for living – evolutionary memories of such importance that they were coded into the genome in rough form (as primary brain processes), which are defined by basic learning mechanisms (secondary processes) as well as by higher-order cognitions/thoughts (tertiary processes). To understand why depression feels horrible, we must fathom the effective infrastructure of the mammalian brain. Advances in our understanding of the nature of primary-process emotional effects can promote the development of better preclinical models of psychiatric disorders and thereby also allow clinicians new and useful ways to understand the foundational aspects of their clients’ problems. These networks are of clear importance for understanding psychiatric disorders and advancing psychiatric practice.

Read

Posted in Brains, Emotions, Mind, Neuroscience | Tagged , , ,

Better wisdom from crowds – harvesting correct answers from groups

The wisdom of crowds is not always perfect. But two scholars at MIT’s Sloan Neuroeconomics Lab, along with a colleague at Princeton University, have found a way to make it better.

Their method explained in a newly published paper, uses a technique the researchers call the “surprisingly popular” algorithm to better extract correct answers from large groups of people. As such, it could refine wisdom-of-crowds surveys, which are used in political and economic forecasting, as well as many other collective activities, from pricing artworks to grading scientific research proposals.

Read

Posted in Wisdom, Crowdsourcing | Tagged ,

Babies can learn that hard work pays off

Study finds infants try harder after seeing adults struggle to achieve a goal.

A new study from MIT reveals that babies as young as 15 months can learn to follow this advice. The researchers found that babies who watched an adult struggle at two different tasks before succeeding tried harder at their own difficult task, compared to babies who saw an adult succeed effortlessly.

The study suggests that infants can learn the value of effort after seeing just a couple of examples of adults trying hard, although the researchers have not studied how long the effect lasts. Although the study took place in a laboratory setting, the findings may offer some guidance for parents who hope to instill the value of effort in their children, the researchers say.

Read

Posted in Baby, Infant, Work | Tagged , ,

Engaging young children in conversation boost brain response to language

Study finds engaging young children in conversation is more important for brain development than “dumping words” on them.

A landmark 1995 study found that children from higher-income families hear about 30 million more words during their first three years of life than children from lower-income families. This “30-million-word gap” correlates with significant differences in tests of vocabulary, language development, and reading comprehension.

MIT cognitive scientists have now found that conversation between an adult and a child appears to change the child’s brain, and that this back-and-forth conversation is actually more critical to language development than the word gap. In a study of children between the ages of 4 and 6, they found that differences in the number of “conversational turns” accounted for a large portion of the differences in brain physiology and language skills that they found among the children. This finding applied to children regardless of parental income or education.

Read

Posted in Brain development, Children | Tagged ,