Category: Behavior and Symptoms

Introverts and Extroverts Have Different Brains

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PrintMost people think of themselves as either an extrovert or an introvert, and they often think it has to do with how outgoing or shy they are.

And yet introversion and extroversion are actually based on where we get our energy. An easy way to tell if you’re an introvert or an extrovert is to answer this question: After a long week of work, which would you rather do: spend some quiet time alone OR go out with friends? The introverts among us would prefer some alone time, because lots of interaction can be physically and emotionally draining – introverts lose energy through human interaction and need alone time to recharge. Extroverts, on the other hand, gain energy from interacting with others, so at the end of a busy work week, they crave time with friends and loved ones to recharge.

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“If you can catch him, you can test him!”

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Overactive, hyperactive, impulsive, rambunctious, wild – any of those describe your child? Whether he’s been diagnosed with ADHD or not, chances are you’ve probably already tried many, many ways to calm him enough so he can focus and learn.

Have you tried this one? It’s from LearningRx Vice President of Research and Development Tanya Mitchell on BlogTalkRadio. “One thing I would not allow is for his teacher to keep him in for recess,” said Mitchell regarding her own 10-year-old son. “I told her, ‘That is directly negatively affecting you. If he has time to go out and physically move and do things, you’re going to be able to teach him better.’”

In addition to giving other tips, Mitchell explained that what appears to be an attention issue can sometimes be a visual or auditory processing weakness that results in impulsive behavior. Fortunately, all these skills can be strengthened and improved. First you need a cognitive skills assessment to determine which skill weaknesses are the root of the problem.

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Are Successful Relationships “No Brainers?” Um, No.

Love can feel complicated, which is why few people describe successful relationships as “no brainers.” But turns out there’s another reason the phrase “no brainer” doesn’t apply to your love life. There’s actually a very big link between your heart and all that gray matter between your ears. In fact, the success of your relationships–romantic and otherwise–is determined in many ways by the health of your brain.

So says Dr. Daniel Amen in a forward he wrote for the book This Is Your Brain in Love. Dr. Amen, award-winning physician, bestselling author, and brain enhancement expert, has this to say about the link between neuroscience and romance: “One of the most fascinating things I have learned from looking at more than 50,000 brain scans is that when you improve how your brain functions, even if it is troubled, you become more thoughtful, more loving, and more effective in all of your relationships.”

The book, written by Dr. Earl Henslin and Becky Johnson, explains the latest in brain imaging, shows how the brain affects your love life, and describes how to improve five common relationship imbalances.

Throughout the month of February, the LearningRx Brain Blog will be featuring a number of posts on love and the brain. So check back often to see what’s here.

In the meantime, if you want a healthier relationship, don’t look to your heart. Look a little farther north. “If you are having trouble in your relationships,” advises Dr. Amen, “you need to think about the brain. Undetected brain problems sabotage your ability to relate to and love others.”

Stop! Don’t Let Your Resolutions Fall By the Wayside Quite Yet

We’re almost three weeks into those New Year’s Resolutions.

So how are you doing?

If you’re like 40 to 45% of Americans, this month you made a least one resolution for the coming year. What are your chances of actually making the changes you vowed to make? Statistics indicate that, for every 20 people who make a New Year’s promise to themselves, 4 people will break that promise within the first week. Ten more will abandon their good intentions within three months, and of the six people who make it past that three month mark, only 3 will still be going strong by the time the year comes to an end.

In his blog, Business Mind Hacks, business coach Alex Schleber talks about the length of time it takes to truly ingrain a new habit. Rebuffing the traditional advice that it takes 21 days to form a new habit, Schleber says it actually takes between 30 and 60 days–and says that the reason it takes that long is rooted in the physiology of the brain.

It has to do with white matter in the brain called myelin. Myelin forms a protective coating around well-used pathways in the brain, helping to insulate those pathways and allowing information to be transmitted up to 200 times faster than along less established pathways. In other words, the more you repeat any behavior, the more efficient and protected that habit becomes. (For a fun slideshow showing how myelin helps athletes and others develop true talent, click here).

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Is Your Brain Making You Spend Too Much This Christmas?

Three Simple Tips to Avoid Impulse Spending and Stay within Your Holiday Budget

The holidays are here, which for most of us means spending time shopping in malls or online looking for gifts for loved ones (and even for ourselves!). It also means trying to keep from spending too much money.

Apparently whether we stay within our holiday shopping budget may not depend as much on willpower as it does on the circuitry of our own brains.

Brian Knutson of Standford University and colleagues mapped the brains of shoppers using a MRI. They discovered that, as people contemplated whether or not to make a purchase, one of two segments of their brains would “light up.” If the nucleus accumbens–part of the reward and pleasure center of the brain–lit up, the subject would invariably make the purchase. If the insula–the part of the brain that registers pain (such as the pain of something costing more than its perceived value)–lit up, the subject would invaribly say “Thanks, but no thanks.”

By watching which part of the brain became active, researchers could accurately predict whether or not the shopper would make the purchase.

The reason shopping feels so good may be related to the brain chemical dopamine. This “feel good” chemical is released anytime we are exposed to the exciting mix of new places, challenges, sights and sounds–all of which are plentiful at the mall.

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