City Life Is Hard On The Brain
Scientists are beginning to discover that city life is hard on the brain, where the need for continuous process set fleeting, but convincing incentives may weaken the mental processes like memory and attention, and leave us mentally exhausted.
Dr. Sara Lazar, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Laboratory Investigation Neuroscientific Meditation in Boston, whose work is funded by the National Institute of Health and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, says that "on a busy city street, this is likely to be more adaptive to have a short attention span .
Some people might say, stimuli that bombard us every day in the life of the city only distracting, but Lazar said that they may contain important information, so we should pay attention to them, even if they spent a lot of natural computing power cord.
"If you're too fixated on something, you can skip the car coming around the corner and did not jump out of the way," Lazarus said in a recent statement from the Harvard Medical School.
Lazar calls the brain drain power from going continuously to stimuli, such as those that surround the city dwellers' attention fatigue, neurological condition that occurs when our voluntary attention, part of the brain that we use to focus on specific stimuli while ignoring distractions , wears down.
Symptoms of fatigue directed attention, in particular feelings of increased distraction, impatience and forgetfulness. More severe form can lead to shortsightedness and increase stress levels.
But there are ways to overcome it and updating of the brain, and it can be as simple as a walk in the park.
Researchers from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor published a study in 2008 that compared the effect of interaction with nature by interacting with the urban environment.
Dr. Mark Berman, a researcher in cognitive neuroscience, and colleagues found that even after spending several minutes on a busy city street may affect the brain the ability to focus and manage self-control, while walking in nature or just looking at pictures of nature can improve directed attention capacity.
They invited a group of volunteers to walk in the park and go some other busy streets of the city. Group who went to a parked scored higher in psychological tests of attention and memory than the group who walked the streets of the city.
They suggested that this test is that spending time in nature protection refreshes the brain of the city dweller. The theory behind it, called attention to the renewal theory (ART) is the fact that nature presents us with "intriguing" stimuli that engage our senses in a bottom-up "fashion, allowing top-down, attention is required to pay attention to cars and other dangers of opportunity to relax and rejuvenate.
ART was first offered in 1989 in his book Experience of Nature: a psychological perspective, environmental psychologists Rachel and Stephen Kaplan (one of the co-researchers in the study Berman), who argued that spending time in the environment of the brain can account for the scheme update .
Studies of patients in the hospital, and people living in apartment complexes are also described the benefits of living in the light of the natural vegetation. For example patients who could see trees from their beds to recover faster than those who could not, and women living in an apartment high-growth can easily pay more attention to daily tasks when they were of a grassy area.
Lazarus and her team of neuroscientists at Massachusetts General use neuroimaging to see what happens in the brain when people practice activities such as meditation and yoga, which have a similar calming effect, like being with nature.
In one research project, they estimated cortical thickness in 20 volunteers with extensive experience in "Insight", meditation, which involves focusing attention on inner experience, and in another group of controls.
They found that brain areas associated with attention, sensory processing and interoception "were thicker in meditation practitioners, including the prefrontal cortex and right anterior isolation. They found that the difference was more pronounced in older participants, suggesting that meditation may reduce the thinning of the cortex of the brain that occur with age.
Lazar said the city life can also affect the brain and in other ways, such as through the influence of stress on memory. When we are stressed, our bodies are in a state of flight or fight, which raises levels of cortisol, which in turn affects the function of the hippocampus, part of the brain important for memory.
She said the transition to a quiet place can help reduce stress, which lowers levels of cortisol and calls for "neuroplasticity, the brain capacity to form new neural connections.
For the first time in human history, people living in urban areas exceeds the number of people living in rural areas. Nations figures show that United for 6.7 billion people worldwide, more than half are urban dwellers.
Living in the city has many attractions, with plenty of jobs, social and cultural activities, and probably a higher standard of living, there are gaps and how these studies show, the load on the brain is one of them.
However, before we assume that the answer to pack our bags and retreat to the less challenging conditions, we may have to take up or increase our yoga or meditation practice, and go for more walks in the park.