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Taking Short Breaks in Between May Help You Grasp New Skills Better

This suggested volunteers' performance improved primarily during the short rests, and not during typing, the team said.

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"Everyone thinks you need to 'practice, practice and practice' when learning something new," said co-author Leonardo G. Cohen from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in the US. Pixabay

If you are in a process of learning new skills, then taking short breaks in between may help you grasp it better, say researchers.

The study, published in the journal Current Biology, suggests our brains probably take short rest periods to strengthen memories.

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By looking at the brain waves, researchers also found activity patterns that suggested the brains of participants were consolidating, or solidifying, memories during the rest. Pixabay

“Everyone thinks you need to ‘practice, practice and practice’ when learning something new,” said co-author Leonardo G. Cohen from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in the US. “We found resting, early and often, may be just as critical to learning as practice,” Cohen said.

For the study, researchers recorded brain waves from a group of right-handed volunteers with a highly sensitive scanning technique called magnetoencephalography or MEG.

They were asked to type numbers as many times as possible with their left hands for 10 seconds, then take rest for 10 seconds and to repeat the cycle until they had typed the numbers 35 more times.

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For the study, researchers recorded brain waves from a group of right-handed volunteers with a highly sensitive scanning technique called magnetoencephalography or MEG. Pixabay

The findings showed the volunteers’ speed at which they correctly typed numbers improved dramatically during the first few trials and then levelled off around the 11th cycle. This suggested volunteers’ performance improved primarily during the short rests, and not during typing, the team said.

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By looking at the brain waves, researchers also found activity patterns that suggested the brains of participants were consolidating, or solidifying, memories during the rest.

Specifically, they found the changes in the size of brain waves, called beta rhythms, correlated with the improvements the volunteers made during rests. The team plans to explore, in detail, the role of these early resting periods in learning and memory. (IANS)

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Horror Movies Manipulate Brain to Enhance Excitement: Study

Know why people get goosebumps while watching horror movies

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Horror Movies
Finnish researchers mapped neural activity as study participants watched horror movies, and found that our brains are continuously anticipating and preparing us for action in response to threat. Pixabay

Do you know why some people like to watch horror movies like ‘The Conjuring’ despite the scare and frequent shouting episodes? If we ask researchers, this is because scary flicks manipulate brain expertly to enhance excitement.

Finnish researchers mapped neural activity as study participants watched horror movies, and found that our brains are continuously anticipating and preparing us for action in response to threat.

“Horror movies exploit this expertly to enhance our excitement,” said researcher Matthew Hudson from University of Turku, Finland.

People found horror that was psychological in nature and based on real events the scariest, and were far more scared by things that were unseen or implied rather than what they could actually see.

Horror Movies
People found horror movies that were psychological in nature to be very interesting. Pixabay

The researchers first established the 100 best and scariest horror movies of the past century and how they made people feel.

Firstly, 72 per cent of people report watching at last one horror movie every six months, and the reasons for doing so, besides the feelings of fear and anxiety, was primarily that of excitement.

“Watching horror movies was also an excuse to socialise, with many people preferring to watch horror movies with others than on their own,” the findings showed.

While all movies have our heroes face some kind of threat to their safety or happiness, horror movies up the ante by having some kind of superhuman or supernatural threat that cannot be reasoned with or fought easily.

The research team at the University of Turku, Finland, studied why we are drawn to such things as entertainment?

People found horror that was psychological in nature and based on real events the scariest, and were far more scared by things that were unseen or implied rather than what they could actually see.

The team discovered two key findings.

“The creeping foreboding dread that occurs when one feels that something isn’t quite right, and the instinctive response we have to the sudden appearance of a monster that make us jump out of our skin,” said principal investigator Professor Lauri Nummenmaa.

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During those times when anxiety is slowly increasing, regions of the brain involved in visual and auditory perception become more active, as the need to attend for cues of threat in the environment become more important.

“After a sudden shock, brain activity is more evident in regions involved in emotion processing, threat evaluation, and decision making, enabling a rapid response,” said the researchers. (IANS)