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Mentalrobics™

You exercise your body to stay physically in shape, so why shouldn't you exercise your brain to stay mentally fit? With these daily exercises you will learn how to flex your mind, improve your creativity and boost your memory. As with any exercise, repetition is necessary for you to see improvement, so pick your favorite exercises from our daily suggestions and repeat them as desired. Try to do some mentalrobics every single day!

When you get into a routine and do the same things over and over, your brain gets very little stimulation. Previously, we have learned that our minds works on the "use it or lose it" principal. One easy way to introduce novelty into your life is to shop at different grocery stores. For most of human history, finding food was a difficult task that required social interaction and ingenuity. In modern society, getting food from the local supermarket requires very little thought. Here are two ways to spice things up.

1. Try doing your grocery shopping at a different store. This will force you to learn a different store layout, and different brands of foods. Maybe you'll find something that you like better.

2. Shop at specialty markets. Instead of getting everything from one place, go to a bakery, a butcher shop, a farmers market, or an ethnic food store. You will probably get fresher food that will taste better and be better for you. Often these markets will have uncommon varieties that you can't get at a supermarket. Try one of these to get a different sensory input.

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In split-brain patients, the corpus callosum, which connects the left and right hemispheres of the cerebral cortex, has been surgical severed. This surgery is performed very rarely to help control severe epilepsy.

By studying these patients, Dr. Roger Sperry made some remarkable discoveries about the human brain, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1981. What he found was that consciousness exists independently in the two different hemispheres and that the two sides can operated independently. The left side of the brain contains the speech center and can express itself verbally and logically, while the right side of the brain is more visually oriented.

In one of the experiments, an object was shown to the left visual field (which connects to the right side of the brain). Because the right hemisphere cannot process language, the patient was unable to say what the object was. However, they were able to pick up the matching object with their left hand. This is because the right hemisphere of the brain knew what the object was and could tell the left hand to pick it up, it just couldn't express it with language.

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The corpus callosum is the part of the brain that connects the left and right hemispheres of the cerebral cortex. Most of the communication between the two halves of the brain is carried over the corpus callosum.

Some studies have shown that women have more fibers in the posterior portion of the corpus callosum. This added ability for cross-talk within the brain may account for the tendency for women to be more intuitive and better multitaskers. This interconnect is also very important for reading. This may be why dyslexia is five times more common in men versus women.

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Although nobody knows for certain, it is thought that in human evolution, an upright posture came before a developed brain. This upright posture freed up our ape-ancestors hands to use primitive tools such as rocks and sticks. It also allowed raised their eye level which helped them better see prey and predator. This started happening about 15 million years ago. For over 10 million more years, the brain stayed pretty much the same size. Beginning with Homo erectus, the brain size of our ancestors started growing dramatically. Almost all of this growth was in the expansion of the cerebral cortex which is what gives humans the ability to have language, abstract thoughts and consciousness. In only 3 million years brain sizes had quadrupled, giving humans the largest brain per body size ratio of any species on earth. It is still unknown why or how the brain could grow so much in such a short period of evolutionary time.

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A repressed memory is one that is still stored in the brain, but is not accessible by the conscious mind. Because these memories are usual of traumatic events, the theory is that the mind represses them to protect the individual from undue psychological stress. When a repressed memory is brought back into consciousness, it is called a recovered memory.

Due to the relative ease with which a practitioner can intentionally or unintentionally implant false memories via the power of suggestion, there is currently a great debate among psychologists as to whether or not repressed memories actually exist.

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