|How do we hear time within sound?
||How does our auditory system represent time within a sound? A new study investigates how temporal acoustic patterns can be represented by neural activity within auditory cortex, a major hub within the brain for the perception of sound.
|Major vascular anomalies found in brains of people with Huntington's disease
||Significant vascular changes in the brains of people with Huntington's disease have been identified by researchers. This breakthrough will have significant implications for our understanding of the disease and could open the door to new therapeutic targets for treating this fatal neurodegenerative condition.
|5 Scientific Studies the Prove Music Decreases Stress and...
||Music therapy is becoming increasingly popular in the medical community, and is being used as an important part of palliative care, Alzheimer’s and dementia treatment, and even in the NICU. … ...
|10 Ways to Improve Body Image
||Are your clients consumed with negative thoughts about their looks? How much of their time is spent obsessing over body image? We live in a culture fixated with outward appearances. … ...
|What's Your Worst Nightmare?
||They are the grim subject of several centuries-old paintings, in which a black horse (or "night mare") hovers near a sleeping figure. They have been the terrifying theme of movies, past and present––from "I Wake Up Screaming" (1941), to the latest "Nightmare on Elm Street" flick. So, what exactly is a nightmare?
|Electronic micropump to deliver treatments deep within the brain
||For a condition such as epilepsy, it is essential to act at exactly the right time and place in the brain. For this reason, a team of researchers has developed an organic electronic micropump which, when combined with an anti-convulsant drug, enables localized inhibition of epileptic seizure in brain tissue in vitro.
|Encountering a wall corrects 'GPS' in mouse brains, study finds
||By analyzing the activity of 'GPS' neurons in mice, researchers have discovered that the mental maps created by these cells accumulate errors, which are corrected when the animal encounters a wall. The findings support the theory that these cells, called grid cells, use an animal's perceived speed and direction to help it navigate familiar places.
|How to Help Teens Find Purpose
||When I was 14 years old, I boarded a plane and headed out for a weeklong backpacking trip in the Rocky Mountains. I had been to the Rockies before a few times with my parents, but this time I was headed out on a primitive skills week run by the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies. For a week, we were to live as close to the land as possible. We made our own bowls and knives for the trips. We made fires with bow drills, caught fish with our own hands, and stalked elk for hours.
I remember coming over a mountain pass and looking down at what looked like hundreds of ants moving around in a beautiful open meadow. As we started coming down the hill I realized they were elk—hundreds of elk scattered across the meadow. My mind stopped; my heart opened. I was experiencing awe—a feeling of deep wonder and being connected to something bigger than myself.
This trip changed my life forever. As I came home, I felt more connected to the natural world. I understood its majesty and power in a way I never had before. And I had a greater inclination to protect it and be a steward of the natural world. I also became aware of how much I had changed in only ten days. I became interested—addicted you could say—in taking in new experiences that would transform my outlook on the world and provide those experiences to others.
Since that trip I have been interested in the question: what experiences transform people? And in turn, what experiences help people, particularly young people, discover their purpose in life? This question has guided my career as an educator: I started a program for low-income youth to volunteer in developing countries, organized mindfulness retreats for teenagers, and this summer will be leading wilderness retreats for young men. All of these trips were done with the aim of helping young people find their purpose.
These experiences are of clear interest to parents as well. Every parent wants their child to have a sense of purpose, but how do we actually help them do that?
What is purpose? How can teens find it?
Let’s start with what purpose means. According to Kendall Bronk, a leading researcher on youth development, purpose has four defining features: dedicated commitment, personal meaningfulness, goal-directedness, and a vision bigger than self. The development of purpose is intricately woven with the development of identity. Thus embarking on a voyage of discovering one’s purpose is critical to during the adolescent years. Research shows that teens and young adults that seek purpose report higher life satisfaction and levels of happiness. New research even suggests that a feeling of purpose in young people is associated with better physical health.
The research on what specific experiences create a sense of purpose amongst youth is not that robust. However there are three critical components of an experience that make it a potentially “purpose-seeking” experience: an important life event, serving others in a meaningful way, and changes in life circumstance.
Over the past decade, I have interviewed peers, social change leaders, and others who had found their sense of purpose. These were people from all different types of nationalities, backgrounds, races, and socioeconomic upbringing. During my interviews, I wanted to know what experiences had transformed them? How had they discovered their purpose?
Everyone has their own story but there were a few experiences that were common amongst people who had discovered their purpose:
Spending extended time in the natural world
Getting involved in a meaningful social change project
Establishing a contemplative practice
Each of the four experiences listed above has components of at least two of the three purpose-seeking experience factors. Each of these experiences could be a significant life event. A trip abroad and service trip (often combined) focus on serving others in a meaningful way. A contemplative retreat and wilderness trip intentionally change life circumstances for youth, giving them the space to create an opportunity for finding their purpose.
One other critical point is the role of technology. All of these trips give young people a chance to take a break from their constant use of technology; this alone is a powerful force for young people to re-connect with themselves and seek connection with their peers.
Young people do not usually develop a specific purpose and then go become an expert in that thing. Rather, they are exposed to something new that helps them develop their own sense of purpose. In short, in most cases experiences lead to developing purpose, not the other way around. This is why summer experiences that introduce young people to new ways of seeing the world and themselves are so valuable. If young people are exposed from 15-19 years olds to events to seek purpose, they will increasingly seek them out on their own until the end of their adolescence, giving them a higher likelihood of discovering their own sense of purpose.
Finding yourself, making meaning
Adolescence is the time to explore one’s inner and outer world. It is a time to seek new activities and experiences. As Dr. Dan Siegel puts it, teens seek novel experiences. This helps young people try something on for size, see if they like it, and then decide if they want to make it part of their life. Unfortunately so many young people today are not actually able to explore—teens are often either disillusioned from the banality of school or over achieving students are on the treadmill and cannot step off for fear of falling behind.
We have managed to create high school experiences that give students little time for self-reflection, meaning making, and diving deeply into what makes us come alive. I know so many friends and family members that felt like most of their high school was meaningless for them. As Bill Damon, the leading researcher on purpose and adolescence at Stanford, succinctly puts it, “The biggest problem growing up today is not actually stress, it’s meaninglessness.” Without a sense of meaning and purpose students will either fall away, disinterested in school or continue to achieve without a sense of agency or excitement.
Creating a sense of purpose in education starts with basic “why” questions: why are we taking this class? Why are we in school? Why am I learning algebra? These are straightforward and educators often try to answer them. But most school settings fail to address the even larger questions: Why was I put on this earth? What do I want to do with my life? Why am I having trouble figuring out my identity? A real education of adolescents must start with these “why” questions and then begin to help young people develop their own identity, sense of purpose, and understanding of the world and their place in it.
If your teen is going to a potentially transformative experience, as a parent or educator, it is important to ask the why question: Why is your teen motivated to do this? What do you hope to get out of it? Or why is your teen not motivated at all? These are powerful questions to help shape your young person’s experience.
Of course there is no guarantee that if your teen goes on one of these trips, they will come back with a greater sense of purpose. Research shows that some teens that go on potentially transformative experiences change, others do not. There is an element of mystery in everyone’s journey. It is good remember as a parent and educator: you cannot give your child or anyone else their own sense of purpose. But what you can do is give them the experiences to help discover their own sense of purpose. You never know how these experiences will shape them down the road.
So where do you turn if you wanted to send your teen on one of these experiences this summer? How can my teen attend one of these programs if I am from a middle or low-income background? Although these experiences started off mainly for privileged teens, many programs have made a huge push to make themselves accessible to teens of all backgrounds. Ask about scholarships and sliding scales.
|What Makes Us Tick
||They met in a airport because of a book that one of them was reading, the same the other had recently read. The conversation was so stimulating that they decided to continue it online and share it with their readers. They both believe this will be the first of an endless series of talks about the subject—what makes people tick—that tickles them the most.
|3 Reasons You Can’t Win with a Narcissist
||We’ve all met one at some point. A man or woman who seems to believe they are the center of the universe. Arrogant, callous and manipulative, they force the world around them to accommodate this belief. Self-important and conceited, the narcissist exaggerates accomplishments, requires endless praise, … ...
|Mapping language in the brain
||'By studying language in people with aphasia, we can try to accomplish two goals at once: we can improve our clinical understanding of aphasia and get new insights into how language is organized in the mind and brain,' said the lead author of a new study.
|Real Self Care for Therapists by Jamie Stacks, LPC
||Thanks to Jamie Stacks, LPC for this guest post. To learn more about Jamie, check out her bio at the end of the article. Why self-care? As a helping professional you wanted to make a difference, you were enthusiastic and ready to take on the … ...
|Parental Warmth: Simple, Powerful, and Often Challenging
||Amidst all the chatter about parenting styles and techniques, it is easy to forget about the importance of warmth. This overlooked dimension is found to be critical to child development in study after study, so why don’t we give it the attention it deserves?
|The Brain Is Wider Than the Sky
||Neuroscientists often quote Emily Dickinson's poem that begins, "The brain is wider than the sky," in support of their view that the mind is nothing but the brain. But they interpret the poem too narrowly, and miss its deeper meaning. Her poetry can teach us about the brain and mind, in ways that neuroscience can't.
|The Feeling That Expands Time and Increases Well-Being
The emotion which makes people feel time-rich, provides a psychological boost and more...
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|If You Judge People, You Have No Time To Love Them.
||"If You Judge People, You Have No Time To Love Them." Mother Teresa Our judgments interfere with many of our relationships. Often we get so consumed with everything our spouse, child, friend or co-worker is not doing right, that we often forget to see what is special and wonderful about them.
|Scientists use brain stimulation to boost creativity, set stage to potentially treat depression
||The first direct evidence has been found demonstrating that a low dose of electric current can enhance the brain's natural alpha oscillations to boost creativity by an average of 7.4 percent. Next up: using the method to treat depression, scientists say.
|Increasing evidence points to inflammation as source of nervous system manifestations of Lyme disease
||About 15 percent of patients with Lyme disease develop peripheral and central nervous system involvement, often accompanied by debilitating and painful symptoms. New research indicates that inflammation plays a causal role in the array of neurologic changes associated with Lyme disease. The investigators also showed that the anti-inflammatory drug dexamethasone prevents many of these reactions.
|Novel mechanism involved in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, study shows
||Researchers have found, in animal models, that the absence of a certain enzyme causes a syndrome resembling the attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The study paves the way for a greater understanding of this childhood and adolescent disease, aiming at innovative therapeutic approaches.
|A sniff of happiness: Chemicals in sweat may convey positive emotion
||Humans may be able to communicate positive emotions like happiness through the smell of our sweat, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The research indicates that we produce chemical compounds, or chemosignals, when we experience happiness that are detectable by others who smell our sweat.