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Neurobics is a set of simple exercises that help improve memory, provide additional energy and increase our brain’s ability to perform any tasks at any age. Neurobics was invented by a writer Manning Rubin and a neurobiologist Lawrence Katz.

It was previously thought that neurons do not regrow. However, in 1998, a group of American scientists established that it is not dying nerve cells that cause age related cognitive decline. It is the loss of dendrites, short-branched extensions of nerve cells, through which the impulses go from one neuron to another. If not stimulate dendrites periodically, they will atrophy and lose their ability to conduct nerve impulses. Dendrites like muscles lose their ability to function without physical exertion. Nevertheless, research has shown that neurons are able to grow dendrites to compensate for the loss of the old ones. The results of these studies formed the basis for a new theory of the brain and neurobics development.

The main point of neurobics is that these exercises are aimed at a widespread use of all five human senses. Moreover, they are used in an unusual way, which helps the brain to create many new associative links between different types of information. When cognitive sensations are combined in unusual combinations, the human brain begins to produce neurotrophin. Neurotrophin induces the survival, development, and function of neurons, and causes almost twofold increase in the number of dendrites.

It is necessary to change the routine and patterned actions on new, unfamiliar to you. In other words, perform your usual actions in an unusual way to involve several senses at once. Below is a few examples of exercises that will stimulate your brain:

•    Buttoning your shirt, brushing your teeth, typing on the keyboard, opening the door, use your non-dominant hand.
•    Try to move around your house or apartment with your eyes closed.
•    Do not be afraid to experiment with your looks and style. Thus, you may feel yourself in new ways and even start to think differently.
•    Find new routes for walking, go to exhibitions and museums, or spend a weekend or a holiday in a new place.
•    Change your home or office interior as often as possible, rearrange things, update your computer wallpaper several times a week, and try cooking new dishes.
•    Try to find non-trivial answers to even the most banal questions like "How are you?" or "What 's new?". Fill your speech with new phrases, discard any stereotypes, invent and tell your friends new jokes.

The best point of neurobics is that you can practice it at any age, anytime and anywhere. Our brain needs new impressions for productive work. Neurobics alters the usual style of our life, enriching it with new experiences.

When Neo dodged bullets in the famous movie The Matrix, time seemed to slow down around him. David Eagleman, Associate Professor of Neurology, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and two of his post-graduate students Chess Stetson and Matthew Fiesta from Baylor College of Medicine decided to find out whether people perceive themselves as in slow motion when they are in danger.

This study, however, has proven the opposite: in case of danger, people feel that they are moving too slowly in the fast world. This "wrong" sense of time is an illusion that occurs due to the brain overload with the incoming information.

In order to get scared, in the first part of the experiment volunteers were asked to jump backwards from 50 meters high on a specially designed double net, or a SCAD (Suspended Catch Air Device) without insurance. This method really made people feel that they were falling down much longer than it actually happened. Of course it did since their speed reached 113 kilometers per hour in 3 seconds! According to volunteers, they felt that they were flying at least a third longer than it looked like when they watched other people from the sidelines.

In the second part of the experiment, scientists tried to find out whether the human brain is able to speed up the perception of the reality in the moment of danger. To do this, researchers created a so-called "perceptual chronometer" and fixed it on the volunteers’ wrists. The display of this chronometer, somewhat similar to the watch, can be configured so that the numbers on it flash at a certain speed. At a definite point of time, the image and its negative combine and become indistinguishable. It was assumed that volunteers would be able to see what was displayed on the chronometer during the fall. However, such a result was not obtained.

Biologists concluded that slow-motion perception is affected by our memory. In case of danger, the amygdala (a set of neurons located in the temporal lobes of the brain) begins to actively accumulate all the impressions that arise in a life threatening situation and, as a result, our memories of it become deeper and stronger. The more details and impressions about a frightening event has been stored in our memory, the longer it may seem afterwards.

We experience nearly the same throughout our life. Remember, being small children, we perceived every day as a year because each day was full of new knowledge and experiences. Adults are more familiar with the world as a whole, they do not consider it so unusual, and so they receive much less new experience. That is why the older we get, the faster the days go by. Therefore, filling our lives with new experiences, we can slow the time down.

Social psychologists Bibb Latane and John Darley staged emergencies to find out how the presence of other people affects the probability of intervention. They conducted about fifty experiments involving nearly 6,000 people to compare the responses of single participants and groups of participants. These comparisons have shown that in 90% of cases bystanders were more likely to assist when they thought they were alone. This was called The Bystander Effect.

The need to pay attention. As one of the experiments, Latane and Darley asked the students at to complete a questionnaire in the room where they were staying alone or together with two strangers. Then the smoke started coming through the vent, while scientists were watching the students’ reaction through the mirrored wall. Students who were alone noticed the smoke immediately within five seconds. Then they got up from their seats, checked where the smoke was coming from, and then went to report about it. Those participants who were in groups noticed the smoke only after 20 seconds, and then they continued to work and actually did not take any actions. Only one of the 24 participants in 8 groups reported smoke within four minutes after it appeared.

The Bystander Effect. A situation similar to that described above can be dangerous for people sometimes. In order to find out how people would react when someone asks for help, researchers conducted the following experiment. Female researcher asked students to complete a questionnaire, and then went into the next room. Four minutes later a recording was played, and it could be heard as the researcher stood on a chair to take some papers from the shelf Then participants heard a sound of breaking chair, then she fell down and cried in pain. ‘Oh my God, my leg... I cannot move it, - she sobbed. – ‘Oh, my ankle. I cannot push this thing off me!"
Only after the two-minutes of sobbing, she managed to attract the attention of those who were at the door of her room. It is noteworthy that 70% of students working alone looked into researcher’s office and offered to help. At the same time, only 40% of participants in pairs offered their help. Those who did not probably decided that nothing serious had happened. ‘Just a simple sprain’ - considered one. ‘I didn’t want to put her in an awkward position’ - said another. This reveals The Bystander Effect: the more people know about what happened, the smaller is the chance that any of them will assist. For the victim, that means the number of witnesses may not be a salvation.

Why does this happen? As soon as you notice something unusual, you need to interpret this event immediately. However, even though you are worried, you do not want to put yourself in an awkward position. You look at the others and see them calm and indifferent. Considering that all seems well, you shrug your shoulders and go back to work. Then one of the present notices the same as you and, seeing your calm reaction, behaves similarly.
Once you know more about the Bystander Effect, it is probably less likely that you will be one of those who does nothing and lets bad things happen. All of us need to understand that our attention and willingness to act can help, or even save the life of another person.


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