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Attention, Emotions, and Memories

The posterior cingulate cortex is involved with several processes in the brain.  It is part of the default mode network, which we talked about in an earlier episode.  Recently, we’ve been focusing on the concept of attention, and examining how attention works from a cognitive standpoint.  We want to ultimately get to a place where […]

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How Does Attention Work?

In this episode, we discuss how attention works.  Now, this is a bigger topic than you might first think, so we’re really just getting started, but the concepts we discuss here will give you some things to think about, and we’ll follow up more in the future.  We’ll discuss attention vs awareness, then the three […]

Neuroscience Series

What Are Mirror Neurons?

Mirror neurons help us internalize experiences that we observe in the outside world.  They also help us connect empathetically with others.  We’ll explain how in this episode. For some extra reading, check out this article on mirror neurons from Scientific American: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2012/11/06/whats-so-special-about-mirror-neurons/

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How Does Motivation Work?

We get a lot of questions from people about how to be more motivated.  Let’s start by understanding more about how motivation works in your brain.

Neuroscience Series

Polyvagal Theory

Polyvagal Theory doesn’t exactly fit into brain networks…but it does.  I’d like for you to stretch the network concept to include any system with a bunch of interacting nodes.  Polyvagal Theory explains the role of the vagus nerve (cranial nerve 10) in your social cognition.  In a nutshell, the vagal nerve has a dorsaland ventral […]

Neuroscience Series

Dorsal Attention Network (DAN)

The Dorsal Attention Network increases attention to external stimuli based on goals and activated mental representations by increasing the salience of goal relevant stimuli. Neurohypnotic bonus   Self-Regulatory Depletion Enhances Neural Responses to Rewards and Impairs Top Dopamine supports coupling of attention-related networks Deconstructing the architecture of dorsal and ventral attention systems with dynamic causal modelling […]

Neuroscience Series

The Salience Network

The Salience network is made up of the anterior cingulate cortex and the insula.  Together they coordinate to monitor the conditions in the body for homeostasis (insula) from temperature, to pH, to pain, to hormonal discomfort and notify the anterior cingulate cortex.  You may recall that the ACC handles conflict.  Well, those would be the […]

Neuroscience Series

The Central Executive Network(CEN)

The Fronto-parietal Central Executive Network (CEN) handles inhibition, task switching, and updating.  It inhibits the default mode network, engages your conscious brain to think and maintains attention on a prioritized task.   It’s helpful to think of it as active when you put effort forth to keep your mind from wandering during a goal directed task. […]

Neuroscience Series

What is the Default Mode Network?

The default mode network (DMN) is a network of brain components active when during daydreaming, self-generated thought, and when not attending to outside stimuli.  Some neuroscientists theorize that the DMN is involved with the Freudian ego functions.   There is increasing evidence that moderation of the default mode network is the mechanism of hypnosis effects. […]

Neuroscience Series

What is Orexin?

Orexin, also known as hypocretin is all about energy, metabolism, and arousal.  Without it you may suffer from narcolepsy or drop fits when you laugh.  Some label it as being at the intersection of consciousness.  The best way to think of this is that your heart rate and breathing rate affect how you feel emotionally […]