Saturday, May 2, 2015

Six Degrees Of Separation: Getting Connected - Douglas E. Castle

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Six Degrees Of Separation: Getting Connected




There is a theoretical maximum of only six persons (connections, similar to links in a chain) between you and anyone whom you'd like to meet in the entire world. Some quick background information follows:

Six degrees of separation is the theory that anyone on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries. The theory was first proposed in 1929 by the Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy in a short story called "Chains."

In the 1950's, Ithiel de Sola Pool (MIT) and Manfred Kochen (IBM) set out to prove the theory mathematically. Although they were able to phrase the question (given a set N of people, what is the probability that each member of N is connected to another member via k_1, k_2, k_3...k_n links?), after twenty years they were still unable to solve the problem to their own satisfaction. In 1967, American sociologist Stanley Milgram devised a new way to test the theory, which he called "the small-world problem." He randomly selected people in the mid-West to send packages to a stranger located in Massachusetts. The senders knew the recipient's name, occupation, and general location. They were instructed to send the package to a person they knew on a first-name basis who they thought was most likely, out of all their friends, to know the target personally. That person would do the same, and so on, until the package was personally delivered to its target recipient.

Although the participants expected the chain to include at least a hundred intermediaries, it only took (on average) between five and seven intermediaries to get each package delivered. Milgram's findings were published in Psychology Today and inspired the phrase "six degrees of separation." Playwright John Guare popularized the phrase when he chose it as the title for his 1990 play of the same name. Although Milgram's findings were discounted after it was discovered that he based his conclusion on a very small number of packages, six degrees of separation became an accepted notion in pop culture after Brett C. Tjaden published a computer game on the University of Virginia's Web site based on the small-world problem. Tjaden used the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) to document connections between different actors. Time Magazine called his site, The Oracle of Bacon at Virginia, one of the "Ten Best Web Sites of 1996."

In 2001, Duncan Watts, a professor at Columbia University, continued his own earlier research into the phenomenon and recreated Milgram's experiment on the Internet. Watts used an e-mail message as the "package" that needed to be delivered, and surprisingly, after reviewing the data collected by 48,000 senders and 19 targets (in 157 countries), Watts found that the average number of intermediaries was indeed, six. Watts' research, and the advent of the computer age, has opened up new areas of inquiry related to six degrees of separation in diverse areas of network theory such as as power grid analysis, disease transmission, graph theory, corporate communication, and computer circuitry.

If you'd like to try your own experiment with this, you can use a combination of a simple email message and your social media networks to launch a letter, which may go something like this:

I have to get this urgent message to Mr. Barack Obama . Could you please forward this message to anyone who might know how to reach him as quickly as possible? Thanks in advance!

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

'Dear President Obama:

You may wish to give some serious thought to your current strategy and policy regarding negotiations with Iran. Things don't seem to be working out too well on their side of the purported bargain. Perhaps you may take a tougher stance on their nuclear power development and impose further constaints upon that country's potential proliferation with each further incident of sponsoring or aiding and abetting terrorism in the region. Would you please let me know your thoughts regarding this? I can be reached at http://bit.ly/CASTLEDIRECT.

Thank you for your consideration.

Respectfully,

Douglas E. Castle'

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

As always, thank you for reading me, and for maintaining, straining and training your mind with Braintenance.

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Nature Of Mind - BRAINTENANCE - Douglas E. Castle

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Thinking about abstractions and examining cause-and-effect relationships are an integral part of intelligence strengthening. The more you utilize your introspective imagination, the greater your ability to conceptualize and to be creative. The mere notion of thinking about the nature of your mind, and of consciousness itself is a wonderful Braintenance exercise.  Give these questions some thought. Some of them require that you think about thinking -- a kind of recursive, "fractal logic":

Have you ever wondered about the nature of your mind? Is the mind separate from the brain or is the thinking, working mind merely a manifestation of the biological brain's self realization?

Do we imagine the existence of our minds?

Does the mind animate the brain? Or does the brain animate (or generate) the mind?

Are the brain and the mind somehow symbionts? Can one exist without the other? If the brain dies, does the mind die automatically?

Can consciousness, as we understand it, exist independent of biology?

Is the phenomenon of mental telepathy real? Is the phenomenon, when it seems to occur, a function of trained superconscious intuition or is it truly shared consciousness? Can we truly broadcast our thoughts and receive the thoughts of others?

Do our thoughts take on substance and live on independently of us? Do such entities as thoughtforms truly exist?

Is there truly a collective consciousness? If so, does it have embedded within it the thoughts of those long deceased? What is its origin (from where or what is it generated)? Does each of us contribute to it? Can any one of us access or "tap into" it? If so, how?

How are the subconscious, the conscious and the super conscious (intuitive) minds interconnected?

Are our minds a projection of someone else's thoughts or consciousness?

Is the mind truly located within the brain? Can the mind migrate and travel outside of the brain? Are astral projection, out-of-body and near-death-experiences genuine, or they more simply explained as a consequence of the chemistry of the brain?

Lastly, how often do you think about thinking?

The above photo bears no relevance to the subject matter of this article. Irrelevance is sometimes an intellectual virtue.

---------------

Thank you, as always for reading me.

Douglas E. Castle for The Braintenance Blog

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Monday, March 16, 2015

Analogies Are Mind Expanders: Braintenance - Douglas E. Castle

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Analogies Are Mind Expanders

If you'd like to truly sharpen your ability to think associatively and to open up some exciting neural pathways in the bargain, doing exercises involving analogies may be just the think to add to your Braintenance regimen. These exercises even improve you pattern recognition, total cognition and creative thinking. If you'd like to think outside of the box (and keep your mind fresh in the process), analogies are wonderful tools.

An analogy (dog is to puppy as cat is to kitten, or, as it commonly appears on standardized tests, especially in higher grades: dog : puppy :: cat : kitten) is a comparison between two things that are usually thought to be different from each other, but have some similarities. They help us understand things by making connections and seeing relationships between them based on knowledge we already possess.

Analogies are a ubiquitous staple of standardized tests. This type of comparison plays a significant role not only in improving problem solving and decision making skills, but also in perception and memory, as well as communication and reasoning skills. Learning analogies can help with reading and building vocabulary.

Types of Analogies include:
  • Synonym (happy : joyful :: sad : depressed)
  • Antonym (inflation : deflation :: frail : strong)
  • Characteristic (tropical : hot :: polar : cold)
  • Part/Whole (finger : hand :: petal : flower)
  • Degree (mist : fog :: drizzle : tropical storm)
  • Type (golden retriever : dog :: salmon : fish)
  • Tool/Worker (pen : writer :: voice : singer)
  • Action/Object (fly : airplane :: drive : car)
  • Item/Purpose (knife : cut :: ruler : measure)
  • Product/Worker (poet : poem :: baker : pie)
    Different types of analogies are introduced at different levels. Elementary school analogies may be simple, possibly funny analogies; whereas middle school analogies may focus more on analogical reasoning. Analogies practiced in high school delve even more deeply into analogical problem solving.
    Analogy vs. Metaphor
    Students often confuse analogies with metaphors. Both are comparisons, often involving unrelated objects, so what IS the difference? An analogy is a parallel comparison between two different things, whereas a metaphor is more of a direct comparison between two things, often with one word being used to symbolically represent another. "All the world's a stage. And all the men and women merely players." is an example of a famous metaphor. William Shakespeare is directly comparing the world to a stage, with the people playing " roles" as they go about their daily lives. A comparable analogy would be "Players are to stage as figure skaters are to ice rink."
Practice
Here are some examples (without answers supplied, so if you are overly-challenged, you'll need to employ dictionary.com or some other vocabulary resource) of analogies to sharpen your mind and refresh your vocabulary as well... 


JUROR : JUDGE

Your answer:
criminal : sentence
umpire : oust
broom : sweep [this answer is correct]
decision : vacillate
doctor : cure

      1. AUTHENTICITY : COUNTERFEIT

Your answer:
reserve : reticent
mobility : energetic
anticipation : solemn
reliability : erratic
argument : contradictory

      1. TURTLE : REPTILE

Your answer:
snake : rattle
leaf : branch
oyster : clam
oak : tree
snail : shellfish

      1. AGENDA : CONFERENCE

Your answer:
man : woman
executive : employee
agency : assignment
teacher : class
map : trip

      1. EMBARRASS : HUMILIATE

Your answer:
labor : suceed
bicker : fight
reduce : enlarge
spank : whip
pilfer : steal

      1. COT : BED

Your answer:
hand : finger
hotel : motel
tissue : hankerchief
lesson : composition
tea : lemon

      1. CONCOMITANT: ACCOMPANYING

Your answer:
loyal : staunch
rough : texture
separate : attached
hard : granite
tanned : leather

      1. DISORGANIZED : SYSTEM

Your answer:
retired : hope
greedy : money
athletic : intelligence
traitorous : loyalty
conserve : party

      1. FIX : STABLE

Your answer:
mend : torn
fortify : strong
deter : active
captivate : attractive
furrow : productive

      1. INVARIABLE : CHANGE

Your answer:
unfathomable : depth
extraneous : proposition
incurable : disease
ineffable : expression
varied : appearance



I wish you the best of luck, fellow Braintenancers, and I thank you as always for reading me. 

Douglas E. Castle for The Braintenance Blog

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Braintenance contains articles, resources, exercises, games and specially-designed protocols to improve the power of your brain and your mind in every significant aspect, including memory, cognition, IQ, plasticity, creativity and problem-solving ability.

Key Terms: brain, mind, cognitive enhancement, memory, brain gym exercises, IQ, plasticity, mind expansion, creativity, meditation, altered states, perception, self-hypnosis, self-growth, neuron, artificial intelligence, learning, somatic intellect, mathematics, language, dissonance, individualism, herd mentality, puns and word games, linguistics, genius, emotion, subconscious, unconscious, intuition, instinct, psychedelic, reality, learning curve, probability, collective consciousness

Monday, March 9, 2015

Your Brain: A Perpetual Motion Machine - Braintenance - Douglas E. Castle

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Your brain is a perpetual motion machine which is operating continuously on various "settings" in order to address certain functions crucial to our physiological and psychological existence. As long as you are alive, your brain is a muscle being applied, tested and, hopefully, strengthened. Despite this, we are constantly told by others to "give our brains a rest," or something similar. Although this is a well-intended suggestion for those of us who have been categorized as either workaholics or obsessives, it is advice that cannot be followed literally.

Having said this, an over-reactive, challenged brain needs rest, even though it cannot cease its operations. Too much cerebration leads to frustration, fatigue and an excess secretion of cortisol, each and all of which are inherently unhealthy. This begs the question: "What can we do to 'give our brains a rest' even though we cannot cease ongoing mental processes?

There is a solution. The key is to re-focus your brain on a different task (i.e., rotational tasking) in order to give the parts of it which were being strained a break while other parts are exercised in a healthy manner. Here are the two keys to re-focusing and resting your mind when it is either running in circles, being "uncooperative" or causing you psychological and physiological stress:

1) Stop what you're doing and engage in a passive activity, such as watching a movie, listening to music, working out or doing something else which is a "rote" exercise; or,

2) Take a brief nap and allow your mind to sort things out subconsciously.

Remember: A tired brain is an uninspired brain. If you have a multitude of things to do, don't get "hung up" on any one item on your list. When you get stuck, skip to the next item on the list and, after you've gotten a sufficient break from the task that you were originally performing, go back to it with renewed vigor and refreshed creativity.

Also: Don't multitask! Use rotational tasking. Multitasking is like texting while you're driving [i.e., you can't do either properly], whereas rotational tasking is like shifting gears or changing lanes consciously.

Always consciously attend to your Braintenance.

Thank you for reading me.

Douglas E. Castle for The Braintenance Blog

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Braintenance contains articles, resources, exercises, games and specially-designed protocols to improve the power of your brain and your mind in every significant aspect, including memory, cognition, IQ, plasticity, creativity and problem-solving ability.

Key Terms: brain, mind, cognitive enhancement, memory, brain gym exercises, IQ, plasticity, mind expansion, creativity, meditation, altered states, perception, self-hypnosis, self-growth, neuron, artificial intelligence, learning, somatic intellect, mathematics, language, dissonance, individualism, herd mentality, puns and word games, linguistics, genius, emotion, subconscious, unconscious, intuition, instinct, psychedelic, reality, learning curve, probability, collective consciousness

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Power In Your Words - Braintenance - Douglas E. Castle

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The image above bears no relevance to the content of the article which follows.
 
There is indeed a world of difference between saying "We're trying to..." and "We're going to...".

The first one inherently provides for a possible failure, while the second is a completely and unconditionally positive statement.

The most important thing is that we understand that we reinforce our thinking by listening to our own words -- in fact, we can't avoid hearing ourselves. We are always told to think positively [and many of our Braintenance readers are already using positive future visualization and other 'conscious' approaches to accessing the Law Of Attraction], but we are not reminded frequently enough to speak positively.

The takeaway from this quick article is that we listen to our own words, and talk ourselves into things. If we're going to speak, let's be certain to speak positively to reinforce positive thinking.

It's all in the words. And words are very, very powerful.

As always, thank you for reading me.

Douglas E. Castle for The Braintenance Blog

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Braintenance contains articles, resources, exercises, games and specially-designed protocols to improve the power of your brain and your mind in every significant aspect, including memory, cognition, IQ, plasticity, creativity and problem-solving ability.

Key Terms: brain, mind, cognitive enhancement, memory, brain gym exercises, IQ, plasticity, mind expansion, creativity, meditation, altered states, perception, self-hypnosis, self-growth, neuron, artificial intelligence, learning, somatic intellect, mathematics, language, dissonance, individualism, herd mentality, puns and word games, linguistics, genius, emotion, subconscious, unconscious, intuition, instinct, psychedelic, reality, learning curve, probability, collective consciousness

Monday, February 16, 2015

Exercise More Of Your Brain - Braintenance - Douglas E. Castle

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The statement above captures the essence of a form of Braintenance "cross-training" and "confusion training," wherein your brain is forced to break through its ordinary routines and to coordinate different tasks in a different matter. These exercises are very simple, but yield tremendous benefits in terms of your ability to focus and to be creative. Following is a sampling of exercises which may prove challenging enough to 'wake up your mind' and to capture your brain's attention. When dealing with the brain, more exercise, and greater diversity of cerebral tasks is always better. Try these:

1) If you are right-handed, try doing as many things as possible with your left hand, and vice versa;

2) Stir beverages, soups, and the like in a clockwise fashion, instead of in the traditional and popular counter-clockwise fashion;

3) Read a page of text from the bottom up, with the last sentences first;

4) Try working backwards for a while (be careful, and avoid those steps or the kids' Legos!); and

5) Do some simple multiplication and division problems in your head, with your eyes wide open.

These simple changes of pace will prove awkward at first, and will challenge your mind, as the central conscious coordinator of these voluntary actions. The skills required to make these changes are some of the most important in improving your spontaneous associative thinking, your creativity and your adaptability in problem-solving situations. Try these exercises; in fact, think of a few of your own and practice those as well as part of your cerebral cross-training workout. As we've noted before, doing things in an extraordinary fashion, forces your brain to do extraordinary things. Intellectual flexibility and neural plasticity are easily built by feeding the mind exceptions to the established routines.

Now, let's get to it, Fellow Braintenancers!




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Braintenance contains articles, resources, exercises, games and specially-designed protocols to improve the power of your brain and your mind in every significant aspect, including memory, cognition, IQ, plasticity, creativity and problem-solving ability.

Key Terms: brain, mind, cognitive enhancement, memory, brain gym exercises, IQ, plasticity, mind expansion, creativity, meditation, altered states, perception, self-hypnosis, self-growth, neuron, artificial intelligence, learning, somatic intellect, mathematics, language, dissonance, individualism, herd mentality, puns and word games, linguistics, genius, emotion, subconscious, unconscious, intuition, instinct, psychedelic, reality, learning curve, probability, collective consciousness

Friday, January 30, 2015

Learning Backwards: Braintenance Mind Jolt - Douglas E. Castle

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Learning Backwards: Braintenance Mind-Jolt
How often have you heard of someone knowing something "backwards and forward(s)"?  There is a reason for this in the etymology of the expression itself: it is generally perceived as being difficult for people who have learned and memorized something in a particular order to be able to learn and memorize it in a different order. Learning something "backwards" requires a (with apologies to Liam Neeson) special skill set. The skills involved are used both consciously and subconsciously every day by most people. In learning backwards, you'll have to use these skills consciously -- at least at first.

These skills include visualization (visualizing the list of items with eyes closed), creating acronyms (using the first letter of each image to create a word) and sensory association (i.e., linking a group of things to a simple song, or making them part of a simple story).

The benefits to backwards learning are tremendous. The process stimulates memory and recall, improves cognition and improves creativity.

Following are some lists of items for you to learn "forwards" and backwards. Since I'm not proctoring this exercise, I'll trust that you will be able to recite each of the following lists without cheating. One hint: The most bizarre or humorous associations are generally the most memorable.
---------------

1) A B C D E F G H I

2)  5 1 6 7 8 5 1 0 4

3) Apple, Snake, Pickle, Bicycle, Ruler

4) Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet

5) Sulfur, Phosphorous, Carbon, Oxygen, Hydrogen, Nitrogen

---------------

The video below provides an incredibly simple [oxymoron intentional] means of learning the entire alphabet backwards. This is a great way to be entertaining at social gatherings with friends who are either mathematicians or MENSA members...


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wCxRn35jwA


Douglas E. Castle for the Braintenance Blog

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Braintenance contains articles, resources, exercises, games and specially-designed protocols to improve the power of your brain and your mind in every significant aspect, including memory, cognition, IQ, plasticity, creativity and problem-solving ability.

Key Terms: brain, mind, cognitive enhancement, memory, brain gym exercises, IQ, plasticity, mind expansion, creativity, meditation, altered states, perception, self-hypnosis, self-growth, neuron, artificial intelligence, learning, somatic intellect, mathematics, language, dissonance, individualism, herd mentality, puns and word games, linguistics, genius, emotion, subconscious, unconscious, intuition, instinct, psychedelic, reality, learning curve, probability, collective consciousness

Friday, January 16, 2015

Getting Things Done - Braintenance Technique

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If you have had dreams, ambitions and objectives, you know that most of them are never achieved -- not because they were impossible, but because they were never even started. If you would like to get anything done, the key is to visualize what you desire (in terms of the outcome), and to then -- within 5 critical minutes of your visualization process -- take a first action toward that dream, ambition or objective, even if this action is simply reducing the idea to its essence and writing it on your "to do" list. Then within that same day, take a first physical action step (such as making a phone call, registering for an event, visiting a website, etc.) and pledge to yourself to take one additional action toward the furtherance of that which you are seeking to achieve per week at minimum.

The greatest acts and deeds are not achieved in giant steps -- they are achieved by incremental consistency; by working conscientiously, one action step at a time until your book is written, your song is recorded, your business is operating at a self-sustaining cash flow... whatever it is.

While the greatest ideas just emerge, seemingly magically, through bursts of energy in the mind, to live a life of self-actualization and accomplishment, you must 1) fully visualize them, 2) write them down on your "to do" list, 3) take a first physical action toward transforming that idea into a reality within that same day, and 4) follow a path made of increments toward your ultimate vision.

In summary:

THINK.
VISUALIZE.
WRITE IT DOWN.
TAKE A FIRST ACTION.
PROGRESS INCREMENTALLY.
GET IT DONE!

Douglas E. Castle For The Braintenance Blog

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Braintenance contains articles, resources, exercises, games and specially-designed protocols to improve the power of your brain and your mind in every significant aspect, including memory, cognition, IQ, plasticity, creativity and problem-solving ability.

Key Terms: brain, mind, cognitive enhancement, memory, brain gym exercises, IQ, plasticity, mind expansion, creativity, meditation, altered states, perception, self-hypnosis, self-growth, neuron, artificial intelligence, learning, somatic intellect, mathematics, language, dissonance, individualism, herd mentality, puns and word games, linguistics, genius, emotion, subconscious, unconscious, intuition, instinct, psychedelic, reality, learning curve, probability, collective consciousness

Friday, January 2, 2015

Your Mind CRAVES Orderliness! - Optical Illusions

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The conscious and subconscious mind crave orderliness and organization, with each item of data clearly recorded in multisensory detail, and filed in its most appropriate and accessible place. This is why we have routines, rituals and recurring cycles of thought (which sometimes haunt us and which sometimes help us). Look at the picture above. At first, it appears as a meaningless bunch of letters -- but as we study it consciously, it becomes a plainly-worded statement of fact. In fact, when we look at incomplete pictures or have "blind spots" in our foveal or peripheral vision, our minds tend to fill in those blanks for us. This effect is responsible for many optical illusions. And what we see (or think that we are seeing) is a significant input into what we will be thinking. Peripheral vision plays more tricks on us than foveal vision, but our foveal vision can be made to play tricks on us as well.

Let's get ourselves some definitions of these two types of vision from Wikipedia, the source for just about anything...

Foveal

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
Schematic diagram of the human eye, with the fovea at the bottom.

The foveal system of the human eye is the only part of the retina that permits 100% visual acuity.

The line-of-sight is a virtual line connecting the fovea with a fixation point in the outside world.

The discovery of the line-of-sight is attributed to Leonardo da Vinci.1
His main experimental finding was that there is only a distinct and clear vision at the line-of-sight, the optical line that ends at the fovea. Although he did not use these words literally he actually is the father of the modern distinction between foveal vision (a more precise term for central vision) and peripheral vision.

Leonardo da Vinci: The eye has a central line and everything that reaches the eye through this central line can be seen distinctly.

Leonardo da Vinci, (1452-1519) was the first person known in Europe to recognize the special optical qualities of the eye. He derived his insights partly through introspection but mainly through a process that could be described as optical modelling. Based on dissection of the human eye he made experiments with water-filled crystal balls. He wrote "The function of the human eye, ... was described by a large number of authors in a certain way. But I found it to be completely different."

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Peripheral vision is a part of vision that occurs outside the very center of gaze. There is a broad set of non-central points in the field of view that is included in the notion of peripheral vision. "Far peripheral" vision exists at the edges of the field of view, "mid-peripheral" vision exists in the middle of the field of view, and "near-peripheral", sometimes referred to as "para-central" vision, exists adjacent to the center of gaze.

Boundaries

Inner boundaries

The inner boundaries of peripheral vision can be defined in any of several ways depending on the context. In common usage or everyday language the term "peripheral vision" is commonly used to refer to what in technical usage would be called "far peripheral vision." This is vision outside of the range of stereoscopic vision. It can be conceived as bounded at the center by a circle 60° in radius or 120° in diameter, centered around the fixation point, i.e., the point at which one's gaze is directed.1 In common usage, peripheral vision may also refer to the area technically known as "mid peripheral vision," defined by a circle 30° in radius or 60° in diameter.

In vision-related fields such as physiology, ophthalmology, or optometry, the inner boundaries of peripheral vision are defined more narrowly in terms of one of several anatomical regions of the central retina, generally the fovea.

The fovea is a cone-shaped depression in the central retina measuring 1.5 mm in diameter, corresponding to 5° of the field of vision.The outer boundaries of the fovea are visible under a microscope, or with microscopic imaging technology such as OCT or microscopic MRI. When viewed through the pupil, as in an eye exam (using ophthalmoscope or retinal photography) only the central portion of the fovea is visible. Anatomists refer to this as the clinical fovea, and say that it corresponds to the anatomical foveola, a structure with a diameter of 0.35 mm corresponding to 1 degree of the field of vision. In clinical usage the central part of the fovea is typically referred to simply as the fovea.

In terms of visual acuity, "foveal vision" may be defined as the part of the retina in which visual acuity is at least 20/20 (6/3 metric). This corresponds to the foveal avascular zone (FAZ) with a diameter of 0.5 mm representing 1.5° of the visual field. Although often idealized as perfect circles, the central structures of the retina tend to be irregular ovals. Thus, foveal vision may also be defined as the central 1.5-2° of the field of vision. Vision within the fovea is generally called central vision, while vision outside of the fovea is called peripheral vision.

A ring-shaped region surrounding the fovea, known as the parafovea, is sometimes taken to represent an intermediate form of vision called paracentral vision. The parafovea has an outer diameter of 2.5 mm representing 8° of the field of vision. The macula, a region of the retina defined as having at least two layers of (bundles of nerves and neurons) is sometimes taken as defining the boundaries of central vs. peripheral vision. The macula has a diameter of 5.5 mm and corresponds to 18° of the field of vision. When viewed from the pupil, as in an eye example, only the central portion of the macula is visible. Known to anatomists as the clinical macula (and in clinical setting as simply the macula) this inner region is thought to correspond to the anatomical fovea.

The dividing line between near and mid peripheral vision at 30° radius is based on several features of visual performance. Visual acuity declines by about 50% every 2.5° from the center up to 30°, at which point the decline in visual acuity declines more steeply. Color perception is strong at 20° but weak at 40° . 30° is thus taken as the dividing line between adequate and poor color perception. In dark-adapted vision, light sensitivity corresponds to rod density, which peaks just at 18° . From 18° towards the center rod density declines rapidly. From 18° away from the center, rod density declines more gradually, in a curve with distinct inflection points resulting in two humps. The outer edge of the second hump is at about 30° , and corresponds to the outer edge of good night vision.

Outer boundaries

The outer boundaries of peripheral vision correspond to the boundaries of the visual field as a whole. For a single eye, the extent of the visual field can be defined in terms of four angles, each measured from the fixation point, i.e., the point at which one's gaze is directed. These angles, representing four cardinal directions, are 60° superior (up), 60° nasal (towards the nose), 70-75° inferior (down), and 100-110° temporal (away from the nose and towards the temple). For both eyes the combined visual field is 130-135° vertical and 200-220° horizontal.

Characteristics

The loss of peripheral vision while retaining central vision is known as tunnel vision, and the loss of central vision while retaining peripheral vision is known as central scotoma.

Peripheral vision is weak in humans, especially at distinguishing color and shape. This is because receptor cells on the retina are greater at the center and lowest at the edges (see visual system for an explanation of these concepts). In addition, there are two types of receptor cells, rod cells and cone cells; rod cells are unable to distinguish color and are predominant at the periphery, while cone cells are concentrated mostly in the center of the retina, the fovea.

Flicker fusion threshold is higher for peripheral than foveal vision. Peripheral vision is good at detecting motion (a feature of rod cells).

Central vision is relatively weak at night or in the dark, when the lack of color cues and lighting makes cone cells far less useful. Rod cells, which are concentrated further away from the retina, operate better than cone cells in low light. This makes peripheral vision useful for seeing movement at night. In fact, pilots are taught to use peripheral vision to scan for aircraft at night.

The distinctions between foveal (sometimes also called central) and peripheral vision are reflected in subtle physiological and anatomical differences in the visual cortex. Different visual areas contribute to the processing of visual information coming from different parts of the visual field, and a complex of visual areas located along the banks of the interhemispheric fissure (a deep groove that separates the two brain hemispheres) has been linked to peripheral vision. It has been suggested that these areas are important for fast reactions to visual stimuli in the periphery, and monitoring body position relative to gravity.

Peripheral vision can be practiced; for example, jugglers that regularly locate and catch objects in their peripheral vision have improved abilities. Jugglers focus on a defined point in mid-air, so almost all of the information necessary for successful catches is perceived in the near-peripheral region.

Functions

The main functions of peripheral vision are:
  • recognition of well-known structures and forms with no need to focus by the foveal line of sight,
  • identification of similar forms and movements (Gestalt psychology laws),
  • delivery of sensations which form the background of detailed visual perception.
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Both foveal and peripheral vision can be strengthened just through frequent use and exercise. These exercises are worthwhile because they assist us in seeing a true picture of the world around us with minimal "filling-in" by the ever-orderly imagination. If our minds are provided with greater amounts of higher resolution "real" visual input, this can only serve us better. Practice those eye exercises!

Each of the links below my signature leads to an interesting optical illusion. Take a look at each, and note how your mind completes incomplete patterns and creates the illusion of motion when objects being observed are actually still.

Enjoy the experience.

Douglas E. Castle for Braintenance


http://www.michaelbach.de/ot/

http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/games/illusions/

http://www.brainbashers.com/opticalillusions.asp


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BRAINTENANCE: Train, Strain And Improve Your Brain. Expand Your Mind.

http://braintenance.blogspot.com

Braintenance contains articles, resources, exercises, games and specially-designed protocols to improve the power of your brain and your mind in every significant aspect, including memory, cognition, IQ, plasticity, creativity and problem-solving ability.

Key Terms: brain, mind, cognitive enhancement, memory, brain gym exercises, IQ, plasticity, mind expansion, creativity, meditation, altered states, perception, self-hypnosis, self-growth, neuron, artificial intelligence, learning, somatic intellect, mathematics, language, dissonance, individualism, herd mentality, puns and word games, linguistics, genius, emotion, subconscious, unconscious, intuition, instinct, psychedelic, reality, learning curve, probability, collective consciousness

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Weird Tricks To Improve Memory

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Most people struggle with either short-term memory or long-term memory... or sometimes both. It seems that as we age, we both lose the ability to spontaneously memorize (maybe our minds "feel" overcrowded), and to recall that which we have memorized but "archived" somewhere which may appear to be inaccessible. Some simple , albeit weird braintenance tricks can absolutely enhance both your immediate and longer-term memory as well as your ability to access data filed away in your mind.

The key methods to memory enhancement are simple:

1) repetition and usage of new data;
2) focusing on pictures of pages instead of on their content (to build eidetic recall);
3) creating silly, offbeat stories involving the data in their order of appearance.

A wonderful TED session follows to provide you with some interesting insight into how some of these simple tricks can make you a memory master. Enjoy this presentation, and then see how many of these sequences you can remember after a one-minute review of each; as you improve, the time it takes to embed sequences of items in memory will decrease, and you become a faster and faster memorizer, with an ever-improving degree of accuracy!

Douglas E. Castle for The Braintenance Blog

http://youtu.be/9ebJlcZMx3c?list=UUsT0YIqwnpJCM-mx7-gSA4Q




1) Apple, Elephant, Snake, Building, Ball, Bicycle, Cards, Run, Alarm, Pickle.

2) 11, 48, 36, 99, 87, 15, 0, 8, 32, 90.

Respond To Douglas E Castle
http://bit.ly/CASTLEDIRECT

BRAIN TEASERS,
BRAIN BOOSTERS &
COGNITIVE ENHANCEMENT!





FUNDING BUTTON LINK

BRAINTENANCE: Train, Strain And Improve Your Brain. Expand Your Mind.

http://braintenance.blogspot.com

Braintenance contains articles, resources, exercises, games and specially-designed protocols to improve the power of your brain and your mind in every significant aspect, including memory, cognition, IQ, plasticity, creativity and problem-solving ability.

Key Terms: brain, mind, cognitive enhancement, memory, brain gym exercises, IQ, plasticity, mind expansion, creativity, meditation, altered states, perception, self-hypnosis, self-growth, neuron, artificial intelligence, learning, somatic intellect, mathematics, language, dissonance, individualism, herd mentality, puns and word games, linguistics, genius, emotion, subconscious, unconscious, intuition, instinct, psychedelic, reality, learning curve, probability, collective consciousness

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