How Practicing Makes Your Brain Better
In general, we all understand that practice improves our ability to play the viola, hit a golf ball, prepare tasty meals, etc. But how does practice work on the brain such that we get better at something just by repeating it?
A lot of contemporary neuroscience has focused on the importance of practice when it comes to honing your talents. In general, we all understand that practice improves our ability to play the viola, hit a golf ball, prepare tasty meals, etc. But how does practice work on the brain such that we get better at something just by repeating it?
The phenomenon has surprisingly complex roots and is intimately related with how the brain translates chaotic sensory data into an ordered view of the world. Take the difference between the sound of speed and light. Over large distances, the discrepancy is obvious, e.g. seeing a flash of lightening entire seconds before thunder booms. But over shorter distances--30 meters to be precise--the brain actually delays your experience of light in order to synchronize it with your experience of sound. In other words, the brain makes you believe you live in the present while you are really living microseconds in the past.
Practicing expands that system of synchronization, bringing stores of data gained through experience to your intuition (not your conscious reasoning). Practice seems to generate the greatest benefit in the sporting arena:
"All sports are a display of brains predicting the future based on intuition built up by practice – brains compensating for lag by seeing what is happening now, before the ball is thrown, before the punch is launched, and making a best guess on what will happen later."
Read more at Boing Boing
Photo credit: Shutterstock
How a cataclysm worse than what killed the dinosaurs destroyed 90 percent of all life on Earth.
While the demise of the dinosaurs gets more attention as far as mass extinctions go, an even more disastrous event called "the Great Dying” or the “End-Permian Extinction” happened on Earth prior to that. Now scientists discovered how this cataclysm, which took place about 250 million years ago, managed to kill off more than 90 percent of all life on the planet.
A new study discovers the “liking gap” — the difference between how we view others we’re meeting for the first time, and the way we think they’re seeing us.
We tend to be defensive socially. When we meet new people, we’re often concerned with how we’re coming off. Our anxiety causes us to be so concerned with the impression we’re creating that we fail to notice that the same is true of the other person as well. A new study led by Erica J. Boothby, published on September 5 in Psychological Science, reveals how people tend to like us more in first encounters than we’d ever suspect.
Using advanced laser technology, scientists at NASA will track global changes in ice with greater accuracy.
Leaving from Vandenberg Air Force base in California this coming Saturday, at 8:46 a.m. ET, the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 — or, the "ICESat-2" — is perched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, and when it assumes its orbit, it will study ice layers at Earth's poles, using its only payload, the Advance Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS).
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.