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Experts say trying new things can go a long way for the brain

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Memory slips loom larger as people grow older. Forgetting why you walked into a room, or what you were supposed to pick up at the store can provoke nagging anxiety — not to mention dark humor about impending decrepitude.

The science behind ‘pink noise’ and scent

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The neighbors are noisy, your baby is teething, and you have a difficult meeting scheduled with your boss tomorrow. Falling and staying asleep is not easy. So it’s no surprise when you don’t feel your best in the morning.

The science of remembering… and forgetting

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This is a modified excerpt from Inside Your Head 🧠, a weekly newsletter exploring why your brain makes you think, feel, and act the way you do, written by me, Elemental’s senior writer and a former brain scientist. Subscribe here so you won’t miss the next one.

Illustration: Jaedoo Lee

What the federal lawsuit against Prevagen says about the American supplement industry and the brain

About one month went by until Mary realized she no longer had trouble remembering other people’s names. Jim says it only took three weeks for him to notice an improvement in his memory. Meanwhile, Sue experienced perhaps the most profound effects: She’s less absentminded, a better multitasker, and her recall of people’s names and faces has only gotten better. Her co-workers have noticed, too.

The many stresses of Covid-19 exacerbate our well-known tendency to remember things that never happened

Image: Sean Gladwell/Getty Images

Without realizing it, human beings misperceive, misremember, and make up memories. The reasons, which all existed in the “before times,” are only made worse by the many stresses of Covid-19 and the politicization, conspiracy theories, and fake news the pandemic has generated. One might falsely recall, for example, that Covid-19 is only dangerous for old people and that a good stiff drink will help keep it at bay. Of course, none of those things is true, but for some, they may be ingrained memories.

Exploring and building in a virtual world develops memory and spatial awareness

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Standing between us and the castle was a red knight with a sword. He appeared angry — inasmuch as a heavily pixelated figure can show emotion — and was headed in our direction. I turned to my daughter and suggested we take a different, less confrontational path. She nodded, and we hurried along the far side of a large lake.

Research indicates smartphones, in particular, may impact what people remember down the line

Illustration: Andrea Manzati

I remember, when I was fourteen years old, spending a few weeks at my aunt’s house in Humboldt County, CA, where my evenings were consumed by hours spent chatting with friends on AOL Instant Messenger. Some of those friendships would go on to become meaningful, defining aspects of my time spent in high school, while others faded away, united by little more than time zones and a similar taste in music.

Two new reviews suggest blueberries are great for cognition. Does that mean they’re this year’s superfruit?

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Blueberries are fascinating to scientists. In humans, the berries have been shown to lower blood pressure and help kids perform better on cognitive tests. In rats, there’s evidence the fruit improves working memory and helps the animals balance. It seems the simple berry has a lot to offer the brain.


We’re surprisingly unreliable narrators of our own life story

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I’m standing under the porch of our old redbrick house on the outskirts of London, a rickety fence to the left propping up unwieldy roses, and in front of me, my nana crouched down with her hands resting on her knees, smiling encouragingly at me to walk toward her. She’s wearing a red cardigan and tan-rimmed glasses, her light-colored hair curly and neat. The lines on her freckled face are vivid, and they crinkle around her eyes as she beams up at me.

My memory lied to me.

This is one of my earliest and fondest childhood memories, from when…

Key techniques for creating a lasting memory

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Cramming for the exam, repeating someone’s name: Some experts say they’re not that effective at solidifying a memory.

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