Speaking Dozens of Languages

A “hyperpolyglot” is a person who has mastered at least 11 languages; some can speak dozens. But there aren’t very many hyperpolyglots around. What is it about them that makes it possible to learn languages so much more quickly and easily than for others? All the details in The New Yorker’s “The Mystery of People […]

Community Violence Is Toxic to the Growing Brain

How does the stress of witnessing community violence—seeing beatings, shootings, drug use, and so on—affect a child’s growing brain? In a pilot study, psychologist Darby Saxbe and her team took a look at long-term effects on the brain, and found that certain structures—notably, the hippocampus and the amygdala—were smaller in 17-year-olds who had witnessed community […]

Cooking Up Brain Health

Did you know that hosting a dinner party can be good for your brain? Many of the tasks that go into a dinner party—planning the meal, getting all the ingredients, and multitasking, to name a few—exercise complex thinking skills. Plus, social interaction and home-cooked food can provide brain benefits. More here

What’s the difference between ADD and ADHD?

Technically, ADD is one of three subtypes of ADHD. The term ADD is still used by many parents and teachers. But since 1994, doctors have been calling it by its formal name: ADHD, Predominantly Inattentive Type. The other two subtypes are ADHD, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type; and ADHD, Combined Type, which involves both hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive symptoms. […]

The Importance of forgetting

“Without forgetting, we would have no memory at all,” says McGill scientist Oliver Hardt. By that he means that if we remembered everything that happened to us with equal clarity, our brains would be crammed full of useless information. It would be nearly impossible to separate the wheat from the chaff—the important from the meaningless. […]

Flipping a Brain Switch on Bad Habits (2)

What if you could “turn off” your vices, like overindulging on sweets or alcohol? Two new studies take the first step in just that. In the second, scientists identified a protein in the brain that binds to alcohol, enabling a person to build a higher tolerance. Learn more about what the future holds for this […]