Friday, January 13, 2012

Brain Myths & Valuable Prizes

Hey…there you are! 

Thanks for coming back for another edition of “Brain Myths”.

Make sure you pay attention throughout our show today because if you discover the secret word, you’ll have a chance to compete for valuable prizes in a future episode.

If you were with us last time, you might recall we discussed all those happy, little celebrity neurons we have in our coconuts that light up at the sight or sound of various well known people, like Oprah and Jennifer Aniston.

Of course, this same principal also applies to everyday people and things in our life such as the sight or sound of the ice cream truck as it jingles down your street on a warm summer evening.

And if Jennifer Aniston is driving the ice cream truck, then the neuron light show will be elevated to the level of  fourth of July fireworks …at least for some of us.

And if Oprah is standing on the corner waiting for the ice cream truck to stop…then that opens up a whole other set of neuron lighting issues.

As I mentioned last time, a recent article reports that there are a lot of widely accepted myths about the brain that are just not true.

One brain myth debunked is that we only use 10% of our brains. Truth is, on any given day, we routinely use all areas of our brain at one time or another (I know…hard to believe about some people).  That’s right, every day our entire brain gets a pretty big work out, even when we’re asleep…which would explain why it refuses to cook or pick up our socks.  

“Did YOU have the kind of day I had?”…is the brains constant refrain.

Brain Myth # 2 is that people are either right brained or left brained.  Left-brained people are logical and good at solving problems, while right-brained people are imaginative and artsy….and prone to self-destructive behaviors, like blogging.

But, luckily, none of that is entirely true…even the blogging part, as hard as that is to believe. The two halves of the brain are intricately linked, so problem-solving or creative tasks fire up activity in regions of both hemispheres of the brain, not just half. 

To be honest, I’ve thought this for a long time since, occasionally, at parties, I'll stick a pencil in my left ear to tap into some of my left side neurons, and, without fail, my right leg, and right leg only, will begin to involuntarily perform one half of an Irish folk dance. 

Something that's always guaranteed to delight the other party goers.

Myth # 3 is kind if a boring one…that says the brain is grey.


Well, it goes on to describe some other kinds of icky white matter, various red parts and some black parts. So the brain really is a kind of “We are the World” collection of colors, which should make one think…that is if their brain actually works.

Personally, I like to go with the optional, snap on designer brain covers so I can make my brain whatever color suits me on any given day.

Myth # 4 is something about Flashbulb Memories that occur as a result of a traumatic event. People think these memories are so vivid that they recall every detail, as if the event was still happening, but it’s been shown that these memories are surprisingly inaccurate.

This actually doesn’t surprise me since, in my mind, I always saw myself wearing my blue T-shirt on the day I heard that “Gilmore Girls” was canceled. The truth is that I was actually wearing a red T-shirt, which is clearly seen in the photo that Z took of me hugging the image of Lorelei on the TV that night. 

Sorry…I can’t really talk about it…even now.

And Myth # 5 is that our brains get duller after age 40.  The truth is our brains begin a downhill slide after our late 20’s. So take that, all you 18-39 choice demographic profiles.

You’re slipping just like the rest of us.

Ever wonder why you find yourself driving for 5 miles with the right turn signal on for no apparent reason? 

Now you know…

And, apparently, on the plus side, older people seem to develop a knack for actually improving some of their mental skills with age, such as vocabulary or how they judge a person’s character.

It’s also been shown that they score higher on tests of social skills, which is true, at least for me,  since I almost never double dip at parties any more…at least while anyone’s watching.

Last, but not least, surveys have shown that older people are generally happier than younger people, and I guess that’s nice to know. However, I think that’s more a product of older people having ready access to mood enhancing medication…not to mention senior discounts.

So there you have it…another edition of “Brain Myths.

If you think you’ve discovered the secret word in today’s episode then send it along.

But I can pretty much assure you that it’ll be wrong.

Mostly because I've forgotten what it was….

Plus the idea that I would ever give out prizes of any kind is the biggest myth of all.


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