What mice can teach us about daydreaming
Plus, social media isn’t all bad…
“Starting from an early age, the world starts to treat attractive individuals differently than unattractive individuals.” –psychologist Vivian Zayas
If you give a mouse a rorschach test...What’s going on in the mind when we daydream? In a recent study from Harvard Medical School, neuroscientists looked at mice to help find an answer. Researchers showed the mice an abstract image, then tracked their neural activity. They also tracked their brain activity while in a “quiet waking state.” The study reported that during this “quiet waking” time, the mice’s neural activity suggested that “the animals are daydreaming about a recent image.” Also, the pattern of activity during their first few daydreams predicted how the brain activity would change over time. Put simply, the brain activity seemed to suggest that daydreaming might help improve learning and memory over time. “The research provides tantalizing, if preliminary, evidence that daydreams can shape the brain’s future response to what it sees,” a press release for the study reported. Researchers also emphasize the importance of allowing downtime for optimal brain function. Check out the images the mice saw here.
#winning. There’s no shortage of research documenting the relationship between mental health and time spent online, particularly among young people. But are older adults prone to the same issues? A new study looked at the effect of internet access on the mental health of U.S. adults aged 50 years and up. “In contrast to the literature that finds harmful effects of the internet among younger populations, my results show that broadband rollout significantly reduces depression symptoms by 5.7% among older adults,” reported study author Vikas Gawai. Perhaps because older adults might not have as many opportunities for social connection as younger adults, the data found that they reap more of the benefits of social connection that comes with internet access.
Sorry not sorry. Why is it so hard to say ‘I’m sorry?’ We explore the mental barriers that keep us from admitting when we’ve done something wrong. Listen to learn more.
ON THE HIDDEN BRAIN PODCAST
The Ugly Side of Beauty: We like to tell kids, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” But from a very early age, we humans are doing just that — judging others based on how they look. This week, we bring you the second part of our look at the science of beauty and talk with psychologists Vivian Zayas and Stefanie Johnson about how appearances can often lead us astray.
ON THE MY UNSUNG HERO PODCAST
Teresa Hernandez’s Story: This week on My Unsung Hero: As Teresa Hernandez was waiting to have a cesarean section, she started to have a panic attack. Just then, a nurse put her hand on Teresa's head and made her feel she was going to be ok.
Don’t forget to send us the story of your unsung hero! Record a voice memo on your phone and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A man pushes his car to a hotel and tells the owner he’s bankrupt. Why?
WE STAND CORRECTED
*A small correction to last week’s newsletter: We mentioned a study that found specific goals can help with focus. We wrote that, “The researchers found that when people set specific goals, not only did their reaction times increase, they were also more focused on the task.” We meant to say that reaction times decreased.