I’ve Got a Fever and the Only Prescription is IM-Home

Feeling trapped in your house can make anyone go a little stir crazy, but avoid the urge to switch on the television to pass the time. If the cold weather and lack of sun saps your energy and has you climbing up the walls, take a deep breath and think about all of the resources at your fingertips. Create learning opportunities for your children with simple household items and motivate them to stay active. Pretty soon you will realize that you have always had everything you needed right there in your cabin.

Time Travels with the Time Doc—Trip 1: Quieting the Busy Mind

 

I have been blogging about brain-clock research at my home base (Brain Clock Blog) for many years and more recently have been blogging at the IM-Home website and blog. A problem with sharing information via blogging is that we bloggers make desired connections via hyperlinks. We insert them so the reader will read prior posts for related or background information. Often readers don’t want to take the time to bounce back and forth between linked stories...

Learn more about the “Time Doc”

Many of you are already familiar with Dr Kevin McGrew. You’ve read his intriguing and elucidating blog posts and you know he is affectionately referred to as The Time Doc because of his incessant interest (et..em, obsession ?) with any and all things related to mental timing. You may also know that his unique curiosity has lead to a vast collection of literature contained at one of his many blogs, The Brain Clock Blog. Dr McGrew’s singular effort to bring together and collectively analyze the existing literature has contributed greatly to our understanding of the role of temporal processing in various human abilities and medical conditions and how interventions like the Interactive Metronome may be improving the resolution, synchronicity, and performance of our internal clock...

Individualized IM “on-demand focus” training

 

As summarized in prior posts, neurocognitive research suggests that the predominant gear of our minds transmission is neutral.  Our mental engine is working (idling) but to those observing us, our brain is not moving—we often do not appear cognitively engaged in any complex thinking or processing.

The typical person spends up to half their time engaged in the spontaneous chasing of miscellaneous thoughts down various rabbit holes of our minds.  Our thought promiscuous mind wanders here-and-there when daydreaming (“zoning out”) or becoming trapped in a cycle of negative unchecked thoughts (e.g., rumination over negative unhappy thoughts; mania; obsessions).  However, the unconstrained busy or wandering mind can also produce creative insights and thoughts.   An unquiet or busy mind can be good or bad depending on the demands facing the individual at any given time.  More importantly, the amount of optimal mind wandering may vary for different people.

RAPT: Attention and focus

 

I have been reading Winfred Gallagher’s 2009 book “RAPT:  Attention and the focused life.”  In many of my blog posts I maintain that Interactive Metronome (IM) training requires controlled attention—focus.  I have further suggested that “on demand focus” is a potentially powerful tool.  By this I mean one wants to train your brain to invoke focused attention when facing cognitively demanding tasks.  However, 100% laser beam focus is not attainable, nor would one want to constantly be super focused.   The mind wandering of the default brain networkneeds to be shut down to focus.  However, unfettered mind wandering can allow for creative thought (and also the flip side—ruminations of irrational or bad thoughts).

A Bit of Research: The important of timing in Speed Skating and the use of the Interactive Metronome

The important of timing in Speed Skating and the use of the Interactive Metronome

Researchers at Korea University College of Medicine (Park et al, 2012) recently conducted a neural imaging study of elite speed skaters to investigate whether training of complex motor skills resulted in structural changes to the cerebellum. The cerebellum responds to intense, repetitive training with increased brain mass in areas critical for skilled motor movement, in this case for control of balance, precisely coordinated movement, and visually guided movement. The authors compared the cerebellums of professional speed skaters to individuals who did not engage in regular exercise. They found that the specific skills required for speed skating that were trained repetitively resulted in structural changes to the brain that enhanced balance and coordination. They also found that the particular side of the cerebellum that was exercised repeatedly was affected (i.e., the right side due to maintaining balance on the right foot during turns). Of note, the cerebellum is also a central part of the brain’s internal timing network. The timing and synchronization of neural signals ultimately controls balance and coordination...

Timing influences Auditory Processing and Speech

Timing skills play a pivotal role in the development of speech production and perception, or the ability to speak and understand the speech and/or intent of others (Kello, 2003). Not only must a child rapidly decipher the timing characteristics of each individual sound, syllable, word, and phrase in the speech stream, but for successful communication to occur there must be precisely timed coordination between centers of the brain for language and cognitive processing or thinking skills and the muscles and structures of the mouth and throat (or voice box). On top of that, a child must process and understand other information associated with what is said, such as demeanor of the person (Is he happy? Angry? Sad? ) or humor (Was he serious? Or was he joking?) Many children on the Autism Spectrum either don’t understand what you said, or don’t understand the unspoken social aspects of speech. All of this depends upon timing in the brain!!! That’s a bit like patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time! However, in normal development the brain’s “internal clock” functions very precisely so that children learn to speak intelligibly and understand you when you speak to them, including your mood and intent. Interactive Metronome (IM) training impacts the very critical timing centers of the brain necessary for effective communication & social...

Alertness versus focus: Same or different?

Alertness versus focus: Same or different?

Often upon completing a brief description of the benefits of IM to an individual, which centers on the benefits of increased controlled attention or “on demand focus”, people often ask me why not just drink one of those highly advertised energy drinks. These drinks claim to increase alertness, attention, energy and focus. Drinking an energy drink is much easier when compared to committing to IM training for three weekly hour sessions over a period of 4-5 weeks

In general, the primary claim of these energy drinks is increased alertness. Thus, it is important to understand that alertness is not the same as controlled attention or focus. Given all the claims circulating in the “cognitive enhancement” market place (energy drinks, brain fitness technologies), it is important that the discourse be scientifically-based and grounded in a professional consensus of terms. So let me attempt to add some order to the increasing confusion of terms.

I first turn to the highly respected Annual Review of Psychologyfor an article published by Posner and Rosthbart (2007).Their comprehensive research review makes a distinction between three different attention networks—alerting, orienting, and executive attention. These three different attention networks are orchestrated by different areas of the brain (see figure below). They also differ in the primary neurotransmitters utilized by each system---alerting (acetylcholine), orienting (norepinephrine), and executive (dopamine). Although related and often...

You are a time machine

 

You are a time machine

Time and space are the two fundamental dimensions of our lives. All forms of human behavior require us to process and understand information we receive from our environment in either spatial or temporal patterns. Even though mental timing (temporal processing) research is in a stage of infancy (when compared to spatial processing) important insights regarding the human brain clock have emerged.
Below is a list (albeit incomplete) of some of the major conclusions regarding the human brain clock. The sources for these statements come from my review of the temporal processing and brain clock literature during the past five years. Most of this information has been disseminated at the Brain Clock blog or the Brain Clock Evolving Web of Knowledge (EWOK). The goal of this post is to provide a Readers Digest summary of the major conclusions. This material can serve as a set of "talking points" at your next social event where you can impress your friends and family as you explain why you use the high-tech IM "clapper" (with a cowbell tone no less) either as a provider or as client.
Our brains measure time constantly. It's hard to find any complex human behavior where mental timing is not involved. Timing is required to walk, talk, perform complex movements and coordinate...

A bit of Research: Timing in the brain is critical for good focus and self-control

 

Timing in the brain is critical for good focus and self-control. Studies like this one by Ben-Pazi et al (2005) show that the brain’s timing mechanism is not working properly in children with ADHD, and that it is even worse in younger children with ADHD and those who lack self-control and are impulsive. Interactive Metronome is the only tool available today to effectively improve timing in the brain. By directly addressing timing skills at the level necessary for the brain to function more efficiently, the Interactive Metronome produces results.

Ben-Pazi, H., Shalev, R.S., Gross-Tsur, V. and Bergman, H. (2006). Age and medication effects on rhythmic responses in ADHD: Possible oscillatory mechanisms? Neuropsychologia, 44, 412-416.

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