How much do you know about your noggin? On July 14, Brain Games returns with an all-new season of myth-busting and truth-telling about why your brain works the way it does. This season explores the physiology of our everyday lives, explaining our relationship with food, our mindless addictions, our empathy towards others and the ways men and women’s brains operate, told through a mix of experiments, illusions and scientific demonstrations.
To prepare you for a summer of thinking differently, get to know your mind’s inner workings with 23 Brain Games facts:
- The area of your brain that asserts willpower, the frontal cortex, only developed in humans over the last two hundred thousand years.
- Charles Darwin believed that humans’ sympathy was an evolved trait strengthened through natural selection, with communities with larger numbers of sympathetic members flourishing with greater numbers of offspring.
- Research shows that men listen primarily with the temporal lobe in just the left half of their brain, while women listen with the temporal lobe in both sides of their brain.
- Your brain’s anterior cingulate region is activated not only when you feel pain, but also if you see someone else suffering, hard-wiring humans to feel concerned for others.
- About 10 to 15 percent of people may be genetically predisposed to more dangerous types of addiction like drug abuse or alcoholism.
- Your brain is the fattiest organ in your body, made from as much as 60% fat.
- When you see someone yawn, it’s a signal to your brain that you should yawn as well, resulting in a contagious trigger that your brain can’t suppress.
- All babies are born with the ability to learn any language on earth.
- Your vision plays into your understanding of spoken language, with the area of the brain called the superior temporal sulcus syncing speakers’ lips to the words you hear them speak.
- When someone shows compassion towards you, the chemical oxytocin is released in your brain, which stimulates feelings of empathy and cause you to be more likely to show kindness towards others.
- Of all the colors, red and yellow are widely considered the most appealing when it comes to food and most associated with activating hunger cues within your brain.
- The brain’s dopamine levels spike before humans perform a pleasurable activity, and the dopamine drop-off afterwards prompts people to want to repeat that activity over and over for continual stimulation.
- When women communicate, they’re inclined to use more words because they have more details to describe, while men’s tendency to remember fewer details means fewer words are required to get their point across.
- In an action called sound symbolism, our brains may instinctively link sensory information to specific sounds in language, with an object’s appearance, smell or taste determining the sound of the word that describes it.
- Comfort foods heavy in fats, sugars, and starchy foods trigger your brain’s reward center, or nucleus accumbens, to release the pleasure-causing neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.
- Looking where someone else is looking is called the deictic gaze, with humans, dogs and others animals using visual cues to draw attention to a particular object.
- A psychopath is the clinical term for a person who is devoid of compassion, with as much as 1% of our population falling under that category.
- In a study that tested subjects’ brainwaves as they listened to 50 different sounds, a baby’s giggle and a vibrating cellphone were the sounds that produced the greatest physiological responses.
- 40% of twins develop a unique code with one another long before learning their native language.
- Research has identified the brain’s “caretaking organ,” the vagus nerve, which is triggered to recognize suffering and unfairness to stimulate feelings of compassion.
- The brain has a special area designed to separate language from all the other sounds in the world, known as Wernicke’s area.
- Our degree of compassion towards others is influenced by our beliefs and appraisal of the person who is suffering. For example, people tend to be more empathetic towards those with plights they perceive as uncontrollable, like paralysis, blindness and cancer.
- According to a recent study, people are more likely to give in to cravings for electronic media than those for sleep or sex.
Want to stretch your brain’s limits even further? Don’t miss the season premiere of Brain Games on Monday, July 14 at 9P.