Remember that Forgetting Actually Makes you Smarter
New research suggests bouts of forgetfulness could be caused by a safety mechanism in the brain designed to make sure we're not overloaded with information. In other words, it's a healthy part of the brain's operation.
According to the two researchers from the University of Toronto in Canada, memory isn't intended to help transmit the most accurate information, but rather the most useful information that can help us make smart decisions in the future. "It's important that the brain forgets irrelevant details and instead focuses on the stuff that's going to help make decisions in the real world," explains one of the researchers, Blake Richards.
The researchers found evidence of the deliberate weakening of the synaptic connections between neurons that help to encode memories, as well as signs that new neurons overwriting existing memories, to make them harder to access. So why is the brain spending time trying to make us forget? Richards and Frankland think there are two reasons.
One, forgetting helps us adjust to new situations by letting go of memories we don't need--so if your favorite coffee shop has moved to the other side of town, forgetting its old location helps you remember the new one.
Second, forgetting allows us to generalize past events to help us make decisions about new ones, a concept known in artificial intelligence as regularization. If you just remember the main gist of your previous visits to the coffee shop rather than every little detail, then it's less work for your brain to work out how to behave the next time you go in.
One experiment mentioned in the paper that Frankland was also a part of involved mice looking for a maze. When the location of the maze was moved, mice that were drugged to forget the old location found the new one more quickly.
"We always idealize the person who can smash a trivia game, but the point of memory is not being able to remember who won the Stanley Cup in 1972," says Richards. "The point of memory is to make you an intelligent person who can make decisions given the circumstances, and an important aspect of helping you do that is being able to forget some information."
QUANTUM HEALTH TIP: One side-effect of using our Cosmic Eye Meditation Elixir is improved short-term memory. Several people have reported that they no longer forget where their keys are, and that "senior moments" lessened considerably. We believe that the elixir allows more access to more of your brain, so there is less reason for it to use forgetting as a learning mechanism.
Humans Use a "Force Field" for Protection
Neuroscientists have known for decades that our brains contain representations of the area surrounding us, known as "peripersonal space". This allows us to grasp objects within our reach and helps to protect us.
Now, in never before attempted experiment, researchers have tricked humans into actually feeling our peripersonal space. To do so, they turned to the well-known rubber hand illusion. In the standard form of this illusion, the experimenter uses a paintbrush to stroke a volunteer's hand (which is hidden from view) and an adjacent, visible rubber hand. The stroking is done simultaneously at the same speed and place on both the real and rubber hand. Within minutes, most people report feeling the touch of the brushstrokes on the rubber hand as if it belonged to them. Researchers noticed that the illusion didn't work if the rubber hand was too far away from the real hand.
In the new study, which involved 101 adults, the researchers made one important change to the experiment. They never brushed the rubber hand directly. Instead, they moved the brush above the rubber hand, again at the same time as brushstrokes that touched the real hand. This meant the volunteer felt touch on their real hand but watched the brush move in mid-air, say, about 10 centimetres above the rubber hand.
Most volunteers reported feeling a "magnetic force" or "force field" between the paintbrush and the rubber hand below--as if the brush was encountering an invisible barrier. "We can elicit this bizarre sensation of there actually being something in mid-air between the brush and the rubber hand," says Guterstam. The volunteers also felt a sense of ownership of the rubber hand.
The team found that the illusion disappears when the brushstrokes are more than about 30-40 centimetres above the rubber hand. This distance seems to be the limit of the peripersonal space of any given body part.
"This is a wonderful study," says Graziano. "For decades, the neuroscience of the parietal and frontal lobes has filled in our knowledge of the special margin of safety, or buffer zone, around the body. Now we have a clever way to get at the phenomenon through an illusion that is easy to implement in the lab."
The fun part about this experiment is that you can do it at home. Try it out and let us know that you think about it in the comments below.
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Shift Your Emotions, Change the World
Researchers have examined how the heart and brain communicate with each other and how that affects our consciousness and the way in which we perceive our world. For example, when a person is feeling really positive emotions like gratitude, love, or appreciation, the heart beats out a certain message. Because the heart beats out the largest electromagnetic field produced in the body, it can yield significant data for researchers. According to HeartMath Director of Research Dr. Rolin McCratey:
Emotional information is actually coded and modulated into these fields. By learning to shift our emotions, we are changing the information coded into the magnetic fields that are radiated by the heart, and that can impact those around us. We are fundamentally and deeply connected with each other and the planet itself.
This is very important work, as it shows how the heart plays an important role far beyond what is commonly known. For instance, did you know that your heart emits electromagnetic fields that change according to your emotions, or that the human heart has a magnetic field that can be measured up to several feet away from the human body? Did you know that positive emotions create physiological benefits in your body, and that you can boost your immune system by conjuring up positive emotions?
Did you know that negative emotions can create nervous system chaos, and that positive emotions do the complete opposite? Did you know that the heart has a system of neurons that have both short term and long term memory, and that their signals sent to the brain can affect our emotional experiences? Did you know that in fetal development, the heart forms and starts beating before the brain is developed? Did you know that a mother's brainwaves can synchronize to her baby's heartbeats? Did you know that the heart sends more information to the brain than vice versa?
The bottom line is, feelings of love, gratitude, and compassion--any positive feelings whatsoever--have a larger impact than we could have ever imagined. These are all characteristics of consciousness, and as quantum physics is showing us, consciousness plays a definite role in the creation of our reality.
A fundamental conclusion of the new physics also acknowledges that the observer creates the reality. As observers, we are personally involved with the creation of our own reality. Physicists are being forced to admit that the universe is a "mental" construction. Pioneering physicist Sir James Jeans wrote: "The stream of knowledge is heading toward a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter, we ought rather hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter. Get over it, and accept the inarguable conclusion. The universe is immaterial-mental and spiritual." --(R. C. Henry, "The Mental Universe"; Nature 436:29, 2005, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University
QUANTUM HEALTH TIP: Imbalances in the bio-electric field of the heart and the brain can prevent what the HeartMath Institute calls "coherence"--where the heart and the brain are working in resonance. It's a balancing of energies that build on one another creating a synergy of homeostasis, high functioning and healing. Our Formula E-1 strives to do a similar thing by balancing the subtle energy meridians of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. It's effects are quite remarkable. Find out more, try it for yourself!
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Be The Magician
One of the most basic skills in magic is to entrain the audience into suspending their disbelief of their own senses. If the audience no longer disbelieves what they are seeing, what you do as a magician seems like real magic. The trick is to convert the skepticism of disbelief into the wonder of true believing.
And this is how we actually create our lives. We become true believers of our own magic. We don't like a certain situation, or we want to change what we are experiencing in our lives, so we reach out with a new vision of how we want our lives to be, and refuse to disbelieve when things are slow to change or barriers and apparent obstacles block our choice to change.
Last week I had an experience with the crowdfunding app, GoFundMe. I had made a choice that I was going to raise the money for my cause, no matter how long it took, or what I had to do to make that choice come true. I thoroughly suspended my own skepticism about fundraising and "other people's intentions"--all the reasons that prevented me from using the service in the past. And with that mindset, lo and behold, it only took 48 hours to achieve my GoFundMe goal. In retrospect, it did seem like magic. In fact, many of the partcipants in the fundraiser were surprised how fast everyone chipped in.
My guru/coach said something that got me going on this: "The energy of wonder--the amazement of creation--is one of the most attractive qualities you can show the Universe. The intelligence of the particles and waves swirling around you, are just waiting for you to want something amazing they can be a part of."
Most of us have had the experience of deciding to accomplish a project or get something done, then sitting down with pen and paper to write down all the plans necessary to bring the project to fruition. We list out all the steps that we can see from the perspective of not having the project completed. We then proceed to trudge through the steps, one by one, and then realize a lot of the steps have to be revised, or new steps added, and after a while it seems overwhelming.
Of course, the problem started when we wrote down the steps we thought we needed to do. That's a problem because it was done from the viewpoint of not having what it is you're shooting for. In fact, a very wise person told me once, "It's not your job to figure out how to get something done. That's the Universe's job."
All we need to do is put the vision out there and suspend our own disbelief about it happening. The fact is, as creators, once the vision is released it IS existing within the quantum energetic structure of the subtle energy fields permeating us all. And, these subtle energies are independent of space and time and instantaneously connected to all particles and waves in the entire Universe. They are, literally, the MAGIC of life.
We can just as easily spontaneously STOP everything by disbelieving. If you don't believe in your own creation, then the intelligences of the particles and waves in the subtle energy field of your life, won't believe them either, and nothing changes.
So, as the magicians of our own life, we must entrain our monkey minds to be true believers in what we are creating. And in doing so, wha-la! Magic.
To your quantum health,
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Janet Barrett is a subtle energies empath and consciousness educator utilizing the field of potential. With warmth, humor and support she will offer you new ways to understand your issues. By reframing what your stories are, you can transform and clear them. It is possible to change what is bothering you. You can enjoy new outcomes. And, they can happen in the blink of an eye.
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