Archive for March, 2010

Harry Lorayne: Ageless Mnemonist

March 29, 2010

I was most pleased to come across Harry Lorayne’s book, Ageless Memory: Simple Secrets for Keeping Your Brain Young. Harry Lorayne is probably the foremost mnemonist and advocate of mnemonic techniques. Mnemonic techniques are techniques designed for improving memory. A mnemonist is an expert practitioner of mnemonic techniques. He has demonstrated fantastic memory feats on television and throughout the world. The Book of Genius (Stanley Paul Publishers, 1994) discusses his record of having met and remembered the names and faces of more than 7,500,00 people. He has written many books on memory techniques, the best known being probably being the best seller that he wrote with basketball great, Jerry Lucas, The Memory Book. Ageless Memory discusses most, if not all, of the techniques in The Memory Book, plus a few more. There is a chapter that applies mnemonic techniques to computer tasks. Each chapter includes a “Special Mind-Power” Exercise.

Lorayne provides two reasons for using these techniques. One is the most obvious one, they can improve your memory. The second is that using these techniques can keep your memory healthy and young. Readers of the Healthymemory Blog will recognize that one of the themes of this blog is devoted to memory techniques, and the justification for this theme is the same as Harry Lorayne’s. They will not only improve your memory, but they should also foster brain health and keep your brain young as you age. There is also reason to think that you can improve your memory as you age, so that it is better than you were young.

Healthymemory Blog has three themes. One theme is titled “Human Memory: Theory and Data.” This theme presents data on human memory documenting its fallibility. Your memory was probably never as good as you thought it was. It is important to have a good understanding of memory so that you can be aware of its shortcomings and biases so that you are able to compensate for these shortcomings and biases and to take remedial action.

The second theme is mnemonic techniques, that we have already discussed. Here you can find a wide variety of techniques that not only will improve memory, but will also foster brain health.

The third theme is transactive memory which explores how both technology and fellow humans can aid and enhance memory.

The blog postings under these categories can be found along the sidebar. If you cannot see these categories along the sidebar, type healthymemory.wordpress.com into the URL space for your browser and hit enter.

© Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Cyberspace: How Much Data is Out There?

March 25, 2010

Let’s begin with the definition of a bit. Bit is short for binary digit which is the 1 or 0 used to store and process data.

A byte is 8 bits. The byte is the basic unit of computing and provided enough information to create an English letter or number in computer code.

A kilobyte (KB) is 1,000 (2 to the 10th power) bytes. One page of typed text is about 2KB.

A megabyte (MB) is 1,000 KB (2 to the 20th power bytes). A typical pop song is about 4 MB. The complete works of Shakespeare total about 5MB.

A gigabyte (GB) is 1,000 MB (2 to the 30th power bytes). A two-hour film can be compressed into 1-2 GB.

A terabyte (TB) is 1,000 GB (2 to the 40th power bytes). All the books in the Library of Congress total about 15 TB.

A petabyte (PB) is 1,000 TB (2 to the 50th power bytes). All the letters delivered by the US Postal Service amount to about 5 PB. Google processes about 1 PB of data every hour.

An exabyte (EB) is 1,000 PB (2 to the 60th power bytes). This is equivalent to about 10 billion copies of The Economist.

Zetabyte (ZB) is 1,000 EB (2 to the 70th power bytes). The total amount of data in existence this year is forecast to be around 1.2 ZB.

It would be a mistake to call all this data information. First of all, a non-negligible amount of this data is redundant. Worse yet, an undetermined amount of this data is wrong.

Nevertheless, the amount of good information is substantial, far more than any human can process.

But, nevertheless, the good information provides the basis for cognitive growth and a healthy memory. Remember the distinction between potential transactive memory, available transactive memory, and accessible transactive memory. The entire 1.2 ZBs can be regarded as potential transactive memory. This is data that can potentially become information and transferred to available transactive memory.

Available transactive memory is memory that you cannot remember and cannot find immediately. Nevertheless you know it exists and can search for it.

Accessible transactive memory is the information that not only do you know exists, but information that you can readily find or access. And some portion of the accessible transactive memory will be valuable enough to you for it to become part of your personal biological memory.

© Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

To Get It Right, Get It Wrong First!

March 22, 2010

A recent article, “The Pluses of Getting it Wrong” by Henry Roediger and Bridgid Finn has profound implications for students, in particular, and education, in general.1 They present research that makes the case not only for difficult tests in school, but also for testing before any instruction takes place. Students who make an unsuccessful attempt to answer a test question before receiving the correct answer the material remember the material better than if they simply study the information. One can certainly ask, how can this be?

One possibility is that asking questions before studying the material focuses the students’ attention on critical concepts. This could be beneficial, but might not the same benefit be achieved by allowing students to preview the questions without having to answer them? This issue was addressed by comparing three groups in a study. One group, which you might call the standard control group, was allowed to study the material in advance of the first test. A second group previewed the questions before studying the material. The third group not only saw the questions, but was also required to attempt to answer them. All groups were allowed to study the material again and were given a final test.

The third group, the one that not only previewed the test questions, but were also required to attempt to answer them, performed the best. The group that previewed the questions came in second, and the standard traditional group performed the poorest. So testing in advance not only facilitates the identification of key concepts, but the attempt to answer the questions provides additional benefit. This might activate memory circuits that facilitate learning.

A previous blog post “The Benefits of Testing” also cited the work of Roediger. Testing before studying resulted in better recall. Roediger has used his results and the results of others to modify his teaching. Every class begins with a test on the material of the day. When this test is completed he proceeds to cover the material. This results in better retention, long term retention, in particular.

When or whether the educational establishment acts upon these findings remains to be seen. However, the industrious student can use these results to improve the effectiveness of her own study. If there are questions in the back of a chapter, attempt to answer them before reading the chapter. If there are no questions, then read headings and try to construct questions based on the headings and then attempt to answer them before reading the chapter. Then read the chapter.

1Roediger, H. L. III & Finn, B. (2010). The Pluses of Getting It Wrong, Scientific American Mind, March/April, 39-41.

© Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

An Interesting Article on Boosting Brain Health

March 16, 2010

There is an interesting article in the March/April AARP magazine. It is written by a physician, P. Murali Doraiswamy, and is titled “Boost Your Brain Health.” This article has been cited in previous postings. It points out our memory strengths as we age. Our crystallized intelligence, our vocabulary and knowledge, can continue to grow and increase. Some impressive examples are cited of memory performance being maintained in spite of large losses in the physical brain. Losses in speed of processing do occur, but they can be mitigated through training and practice.

What I find most impressive about this article is that it does not propose one specific magic bullet for boosting brain health. We are constantly bombarded with adds regarding specific pills that will solve the problem. Or that there is a specific game you can play to maintain cognitive functioning. Avoid gimmicks. No product builds extra brainpower instantly or effortlessly. Both the brain and memory are way too complex to be amenable to a simple solution.

The article recommends the following ten helpful habits: 

  1. Walk and talk. Find a walking partner and a topic to discuss during your walks.
  2. Vary your routine. Try new things. Seek out novelty.
  3. Get smart. Be a lifelong learner and go beyond superficial learning.
  4. Play games. Pick games with several levels of difficulty. Look for timed games where you need to beat the clock.
  5. De-stress. Engage in activities that reduce stress. Meditate, walk, focus and relax.
  6. Sleep. Your brain remains active when you sleep continuing to process and relate the information of the day.
  7. Imagine. Be creative, paint, write (or employ mnemonic techniques). Visit new websites or build your own.
  8. Party. Meaning do not be a loner. Engage socially.
  9. Eat right. You have heard this before. To keep oxygen flowing to the brain consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains and fish.
  10. Watch your numbers. Blood pressure, weight, blood sugar, and cholesterol.
  11. The Healthymemory blog strongly endorses these recommendations. It provides direct support to habits 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7.

Many scientists believe that the buildup of a “cognitive reserve” wards off mental decline. The Healthymemory Blog strongly subscribes to this view. It supports three themes to this end.

The first theme can be found under the category “Human Memory: Theory and Data.” You will find posts here that will build your understanding of how human memory works. You will also learn of fallacies, biases, and processing errors that are common to all of us. Learning about them will allow you to avoid them. So your performance will not only improve, but will also help you avoid decision making errors that can have adverse effects on your finances.

The second theme can be found under the category of “Mnemonic Techniques.” Here you will find specific techniques for improving your memory. These techniques have the potential not only of improving your memory performance, but of also providing exercises that improve brain health.

The third theme is transactive memory. This little known concept has two parts. One is the reliance upon your fellow humans for improving your memory and brain health. The other is the use of technology for improving your memory and brain health.

To access these themes, click on the appropriate links under Categories on the sideboard.  (If you don’t see the Categories link on the sideboard, then go to healthymemory.wordpress.com)

© Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Brain Training

March 13, 2010

Those of you who have been reading this blog might have come to the conclusion that I do not advocate games that purport to provide braining training. If so, that conclusion is wrong. What I am warning against is thinking that solely practicing a particular brain exercise guarantees a healthy memory. Both the brain and memory are extremely complicated and multi-faceted. A wide range of experience and exercises is required to keep them healthy. In this blog much emphasis has been placed on using transactive memory, the internet, to increase knowledge and to grow in wisdom and stature. Using online games to develop and enhance specific cognitive skills can be quite helpful. Games with increasing levels of difficulty that are timed can foster quicker thinking. Research has indicated that with practice older people can improve their mental speed by more than 50%.1

Myfitbrain, myfitbrain.com, offers games to develop specific cognitive facilities. They are Memory, Numeric, Reflex, Logic, Visual, and Auditory. You establish an account and a profile. You have a level for each category and you advance through the levels as your performance improves.

I have just started my account. One of the best parts of myfitbrain is that this is all free. I would encourage others to try myfitbrain. Once you have done so, comments on myfitbrain would be welcome. Just click the “Leave a comment” link and enter your comments in the box provided.

1Doraiswamy, P.M. (2010). Boost Your Brain Health. March/April AARP. p. 48.

© Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Restoring Attentional Resources

March 10, 2010

There are techniques for restoring attentional resources. See the Blog Post “The Relaxation Response.” Another approach comes from Attention Resource Theory (ART) 12. In the nineteenth century the famous psychologist William James made a distinction between two types of attention: 3 involuntary attention, when attention is captured by inherently important or intriguing stimuli, and voluntary or directed attention, when attention is directed by cognitive-control processes. 

According to ART, directed attention involves resolving conflict when there is a need to suppress distracting stimulation, which depletes attentional resources. According to ART, interactions with nature can restore these attentional resources.

Berman, Jonides, and Kaplan 4 performed two experiments assessing ART.  In the first experiment there were two groups:  one group took a 50-55 minute walk in the city, while the other group took a 50-55 minute walk in the woods.  Both groups performed a tasks that both assessed and depleted directed attentional resources before and after their respective walks.   The walk in the woods group performed about 20% better than the walk in the city group.  A second experiment followed the same basic structure as the first, but this time the experimental participants viewed pictures of natural or urban settings rather than walking.  Similar results were obtained documenting the restorative effects of nature.

So attention is extremely important to memory and cognitive functioning.  Attention is depleted and needs to be restored.  Attentional resources vary throughout the day.  These are important points to remember when planning your day.  It is also important to engange in effortful Type 2 processing5.   As we age the vast repository of memory and experience makes it both easier and more likely to rely upon Type 1 processing.  Although this is one of the potential benefits of aging, there remains a need to continue to engage in appropriate Type 2 processes to ward off cognitive decline.

1Kaplan, S. (1995).  The restorative benefits of nature:  Toward an integrative framework.  Journal of Environmental Psychology, 15,  160-189

2Kaplan, S. (2001).  Meditation, restoration, and the management of mental fatigue. Environment and Behavior, 33, 480-506.

3James, W.  Psychology:  The briefer course.   New York:  Holt.

4Berman, M. G., Jonides, J., & Kaplan, S.  (2009).  The cognitive benefits of interacting with nature.  Psychological Science, 19,  1207-1212. 

5See the previous post on this blog “The Two System View of Cognition”

© Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

More on Attention and Cognitive Control

March 8, 2010

Upon inspection there are probably few cognitive tasks that could not benefit from better expenditures of attention.  Consider reading, for example.  I frequently find myself rereading portions of text that I have just read either because my attention waned or I was skimming and missed essential information while skimming.  Acronyms typically present a problem for me.  I need to reread the text to pick up the acronym, whereas if I had expended the necessary attention encoding the acronym when it was first encountered, I would not have lost the considerable time spent in rereading.  Summarizing as one reads can be beneficial.  And don’t overlook critical reading.  Does the text hold together logically?  Does it make sense?  If the text is nonfiction, can you think of any external information that contradicts the text.  Keep the mind active when reading.  Sometimes we can fall into the habit of moving our eyes and turning the page without engaging the mind to the extent needed.

The psychologist Stine-Morrow has developed an hypothesis of cognitive aging.1  The Stine-Morrow Hypothesis stresses the importance of the appropriate allocation of attention and effort in warding off cognitive declines.  In other words, the Stine-Morrow Hypothesis stresses the importance of effective cognitive control in warding off cognitive decline. Her ideas coincide nicely with those of Michael Merzenich, Ph.D., a professor at the Keck Center for Integrative Neuroscienses at the University of California at San Diego.  In turn, Dr. Merzenich’s ideas fit nicely with Kahneman’s Two System Theory that was presented in a previous blog post, “The Two System View of Cognition.”  Remember that System Two processes are effortful and require attention.  System One processes, which are the product of learning and experience, are relatively effortless.   The older an individual is, the more developed are those System One processes that facilitate cognition.  Consequently, there is a great temptation to rely upon these System One processes and become a creature of habit.  Merzenich and the Stine-Morrow Hypothesis warn against relying too heavily on System One Processes.  Effortful engagement of System Two processes can be beneficial in warding off cognitive decline.  System Two processes are engaged whenever we try or learn new things.  Thus engaging in new activities and in new areas of knowledge can be quite beneficial. 

1Stine-Morrow, A. L. (2008).  The Dumbledore Hypothesis of Cognitive Aging.  Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16, 295-299.

© Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Cognitive Control

March 6, 2010

Both divided attention and selective attention come under the concept of cognitive control.  Selective attention involves controlling cognition to focus on particular information.  Such concentration is needed for complex tasks.  If you need to study a topic, it is usually much more efficient to focus on the topic rather than to multi-task.   Such concentration is achieved by shutting out other information, which can be dangerous.  Cognitive control involves more than focusing on information.  It also involves switching attention when necessary or switching from automated System 1 to conscious System 2 processes.1  Some tasks inherently involve multitasking among subtasks.  Cognitve control is involved in the efficient switching between or sometimes among tasks.

One of the capacities that decline with age is the ability to selectively attend to information.  Fortunately, the brain’s capability to alter itself remains into old age, so losses in the ability to attend selectively can be effectively countered.  Computer training programs have been developed to do this2 and it is a safe bet that many more will be coming in the future. Restak3 has argued that video games, particularly action video games, improve the ability to attend selectively and to respond more quickly.  He presents exercises in his book for enhancing attention.  He also reviews the “Brain Gyms”  that can be found on the internet that exercise attention, perception, and memory. 

Multitasking has become the way of the world with people performing multiple tasks at once.  However, switching between tasks itself requires attention, and depending on the nature of the task additional time can be lost in reorienting yourself to the task.  So if you have the choice, it is prefereable to perform tasks sequentially rather than multi-tasking.  One way of thinking about this book is that it is providing guidance on how to attend selectively and to use your attention effectively. 

You can practice selectively attending.  If there is noise when you are trying to read or watch a television program, rather than asking people to be quiet you can practice focusing your attention.   Of course, once the practice session is over, do not hesitate to tell them to keep it down.

There are also some simple and obvious techniques that aid selective attention.  Research4 has shown that closing your eyes can reduce visual distractions.  Some studies have found that people who close their eyes either during the learning or recall of information performed as my as 33% better that people who had their eyes open when there was distracting information.  Moving to a quiet environment where there are few or no distractions is another technique that should not be overlooked.

It is also the case that the amount of attention with which you can work varies throughout the day. 5 . One hears people say that they are morning people or evening people.  This is true.  So not only does one’s own available attentional capacity vary throughout the day, but these circadian, daily, rhythms vary from individual to individual.  So, when possible, it is wise to arrange your schedule that those activities with the highest attentional demands are done when your attentional capacity peaks.  When in a group you need to be sensitive to the the attentional cycles of the members and make whatever accommodations the group needs.


1See the Blog Post “The Two System View of Cognition.”

2 Brain Fitness Program and insight, http://www.positscience.com

3Restak, R. (2009). Op cit p. 151-167.

4Einstein, G. O., Earles, J. L., & Collins, H. M. (2002).  Gaze Aversion:  Spared Inhibition for Visual Distraction in Older Adults.  Journal of Gerontology:  Psychological Sciences, 57B, 1-9.

5Einstein, G. O., & McDaniel, M., A. (2004).  New Haven, CT:  Yale University Press

© Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Attention

March 4, 2010

Attention is key to memory, in particular, and to cognitive functioning, in general. Attention performs three different functions:  alerting, orienting, and executive function.1  Alerting, as in “heads up” or the drill command “Attention” is a call that you will need to pay attention.  Orienting refers to where, what, or to whom to pay attention.  These types of attention are preliminary to the larger category, executive attention.  Now sometimes all your attention can be devoted to performing one task.

 Unfortunately, it is often the case that you either cannot or that it is difficult to devote all your attention to one task.  This is called multitasking and multitasking seems to have dramatically increased in our high tech world.  Divided attention refers to situations when attention needs to be divided between two, or even among, several tasks.  Driving provides good examples of divided attention.  Sometimes it seems as if you are on automatic pilot.  You drive from point A to point B while thinking about a variety of topics and arrive at point B with little or no memory of the drive itself.  Clearly you were paying attention during the drive or there would have been a terrible accident.  Your System 1 processes had taken over during the drive handling the basic driving tasks automatically.  This can be dangerous, though.  If something unexpected occurs and System 2 attentional processes are not engaged, accidents can happen.2 Using a cell phone when driving divides attention to the point where driving performance is effectively equivalent to driving under the influence of alcohol.  States that have passed “hands free” laws when using a cell phone while driving, have missed the point.  It is the loss of attention to the driving task that is the primary problem here, not the ability to manipulate multiple objects.   Some have made the argument that passengers in the car converse with the driver regularly, so how is that any different from conversing on a cell phone.  The difference is that passengers are typically aware of the situation they are in and moderate the conversation accordingly.3   They can even be helpful by pointing out specific feature or actions that are transpiring to which the driver should be attending.  This is a case of divided attention in which attention must be selected to focus on the primary task.

A good example of the selective attention can be found in what is known as the Cocktail Party Problem. To make sense of the cacophony that typically surrounds us, we must selectively attend to what we are trying to understand or accomplish..  Consider a noisy cocktail party at which you are trying to attend to an interesting conversation with a friend.  Attention needs to be spent to tune into this conversation and to tune out all the other irrelevant conversations.  This can be quite difficult, and it is almost impossible to tune out the irrelevant conversations completely.  Under these conditions you might hear your name being mentioned in one of the conversations you are trying to tune out.   Apparently your cognitive system has assigned a high enough priority to your name so that it will capture your attention even under these adverse conditions.  The vast majority of processing that the brain does remains below the level of consciousness.  This subconscious processing calls your conscious attention to specific items deemed of high importance.

1Posner, M. I. (2009) in  The Sharpbrains Guide to Brain Fitness:  18 Interviews with Scientists, Prectical Advice, and Product Reviews, to Keep Your Brain Sharp.  Fernandez, A., & Goldberg, E.  (eds).  San Francisco, CA:  SharpBrains.

2See the Blog Post “The Two System View of Cognition.”

3Drews,  F.A., Pasupathi, M., & Strayer, D.L..  (2009).  Passenger and cell phone conversations in simulated driving. Journal of Experimental Psychology:  Applied, 14, 392-400.

© Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Boost Your Cognitive Reserve

March 1, 2010

 There is an interesting article in the March/April AARP magazine. It is written by a physician, P. Murali Doraiswamy, and is titled “Boost Your Brain Health.” He relates the story of an accomplished mathematician in his early 70’s. His wife had referred him to Gary Small, M.D., who is the director of the UCLA Center on Aging. He had become cranky and was having some difficulties performing certain calculations. Dr. Small put him through a battery of tests and the man maxed all of them including a memory test and a score of 140 on his IQ test. But when he examined the patient’s brain scan it had all the markings of full-blown Alzheimer’s disease. This case, while unusual, was not unique. Yaakov Stern, Ph.D., a neuropsychologist at Columbia University School of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City noted that up to 20% of people autopsied who had no major memory problems are discovered to have had Alzheimer’s.

Of course, the question here is “How can this be?” Usually activities that are good for your brain are also good for your heart, your immune system, and the rest of your body. Doraiswamy report a recently published study of 2,500 people ages 70 to 79 found that 30% of the group saw no delcine in their mental performance or actually improved on cognitive tests over the course of eight years. People in this group were more likely to have some or all of the following healthy traits:

exercised at least once a week

had at least the equivalent of a high-school education

did not smoke

worked or volunteered

lived with at least one other person

Many scientists believe that the buildup of a “cognitive reserve” wards off mental decline. This Healthymemory blog strongly subscribes to this view. It supports three themes to this end. The first can be found under the category “Human Memory: Theory and Data.” You will find posts here that will build your understanding of how human memory works. You will also learn of fallacies, biases, and processing errors that are common to all of us. Learning about them will allow you to avoid them. So your performance will not only improve, but will also help you avoid decision making errors that can have adverse effects on your finances.

The second theme can be found under the category of “Mnemonic Techniques.” Here you will find specific techniques for improving your memory. These techniques have the potential not only of improving your memory performance, but of also providing exercises that improve brain health.

The third theme is transactive memory. This little known concept has two parts. One is the reliance upon your fellow humans for improving your memory and brain health. The other is the use of technology for improving your memory and brain health.

To access these themes, click on the appropriate links under Categories on the sideboard.

The next several posts will address improving attention and cognitive control. These are skills that tend to decline as we age and deserve special attention.