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The Six Brain Functions
An explanation of basic brain functions

From Building Mental Muscle

 
Brain

Creative Visualization:
Your visuo-spatial ability is in fact many different kinds of ability, ranging from picking out details, to perceiving the arrangement of those details into patterns, to fitting those patterns into a knowledge base so you know what to do with them.

Like your other faculties, your visuo-spatial intelligence can be maintained or left to deteriorate. Visual close-ups can challenge you to project those details onto a larger pattern, thus exercising your right-brain-dependent holistic-imaging skills. Familiar patterns with a subtle detail or two out of place can test your attention to objective minutiae. And tasks demanding mental rotation of three-dimensional visual objects can be a real brain-buster, until you learn to get the hang of it.

Memory & Learning:
Memory is a partner in developing all other mental skills. The key to learning is the brain’s ability to convert a current experience into code and store it so, later, the experience can be recalled for your benefit. The brain codes some kinds of inputs from the senses permanently with no conscious effort on your part. It can also store other kinds of data because you consciously pass that data through a rehearsal loop repeatedly — which, incidentally, can also take place during sleep.

Executive Planning:
The front part of the cortex (the wrinkled outer covering of the brain) allows you to foresee goals and take the steps necessary to execute your plans. As the most recently-evolved part of the brain, the frontal lobes also house the most fragile parts of our identity, and support the faculties that require the most conscious effort and practice if you want to maintain them.

The flip side of the fragility of executive functions is that they are also the most malleable and improvable with practice. The best way to be an expert at organizing information and using it to your advantage is to work at it. Because your frontal-lobe functions are so consciously accessible, this is an easier matter — as long as you’re willing to make the effort — than, say, learning to adjust your brain-stem-governed body rhythms.

Language & Math:
Our acquisition of language in infancy is so instinctual and automatic that we sometimes take it for granted. Recent evidence shows us that a life-long willingness to push the envelope of our linguistic abilities helps keep our brain cell’s dendritic branches from atrophying, and may even help prevent Alzheimer’s.

Almost all of us fall within the same range of basic mathematical ability. Why, then, do so many of us avoid mental arithmetic calculations and math-games with the excuse that we’re just “not good at math”? But those of us who think of math as something we’re simply not good at tend to leave the mental calculations to others. By allowing ourselves to settle into this kind of pattern, we allow our mathematical acuity, and general mental alertness, to slip. This is, in fact, exactly why most of us who really are “not good at math” have become this way — because we’ve become comfortable thinking of ourselves this way.

Emotional Response:
Neuroscience is revealing the loci in the brain of our emotional faculties, and the neural pathways linking emotion to the “intellectual” functions of the mind. Emotion is intimately linked to cognition, and to the maintenance of the health of our brain cells as well as our body’s immune system.

Social Interaction:
Social interaction is a skill you may not think of as “mental,” but you really can’t ignore it if you want to boost your brainpower and maximize the effectiveness of your other mental skills. Some of the most interesting recent brain research has shown us ways that social skills are tied to all the other traditional measures of intelligence. A person may have a razor-sharp logical acumen and yet be unable to use that skill to make logical life decisions, or even to engage in productive social interactions. Social interaction is also one of the three pillars of a so-called “enriched environment,” along with mental stimulation and physical exercise. That’s the kind of environment that serves to keep all cognitive skills sharp, to boost the production of new brain cells, and even to lower Alzheimer’s risk.

   
Building Mental Muscle
Building Mental Muscle
Over 230,000 copies sold
in the USA alone, plus translations into 14 languages worldwide.

 
Brains that Work a Little Bit Differently
Brains That Work a Little
Bit Differently

2nd best seller. Used in college Psychology courses. ADHD, Left Handedness, Autism, DejaVu, Child Geniuses

 
Building Left-Brain Power
Building Left-Brain
Power

It handles the details, like language skills. Every-day tips to use what you learn. Mental exercises that, when done, release serotonin, a feel-good hormone.

 
Learn Faster and Remember More Learn Faster &
Remember More

Three guides in one: How skills develop and are maintained through life: 1. Womb to adolescence; 2. Professional Years; 3. Slowing down the slowing down
 
Brain Building Games Brain Building Games
With Words & Numbers

Skill-graded challenges: easy to hard, logic, numbers, crypto-visual plus tricks to maximize performance in every one (176 of them). Another top seller.
 
Use It or Lose It Use It or Lose It!
As the mind matures it begins to lose essential abilities unless.... it is forced to work. Then it builds connections again into old age.
 
Exercises for the Whole Brain Exercises for the
Whole Brain
A breast-pocket full of visual mental-teasers to work out in spare moments. Now in 13 languages. Especially good for designers and creative thinkers.
 
Right Brain TeasersRight-Brain Teasers
How many of these photos of 60 old-time, household artifacts can you figure out how they worked and what they were used for? This taps the visual-spatial skills in your right brain. (Men are surprisingly good at this). See an interesting, detailed description when you turn the page after each photo. A fun Valentine gift , especially for elderly antique collectors and flea-market addicts.
 
   
 
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