References for the Rough Guide to Brain Training (Moore & Stafford, 2010)

'research has shown that mental practice can improve skills in many of the same ways as real physical practice' : Contextual Interference Effect in imaginary practice, see Stafford & Webb (2004) Mind Hacks

Neisser's Learning Limerick: Baddeley, A. D. (1999). Essentials of human memory. Taylor & Francis.

The number of neurons in the human brain: Williams, R. W., & Herrup, K. (1988). The control of neuron number. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 11, 423-453. doi: 10.1146/

'...would fill your house'. Assume course sand , cubic packing, therefore volume is a cube of area 4.64 meters. Assume some things (internal walls, furniture, etc) in house

Number of connections: Tang, Y., Nyengaard, J. R., De Groot, D. M., & Gundersen, H. J. (2001). Total regional and global number of synapses in the human brain neocortex. Synapse (New York, N.Y.), 41(3), 258-273. doi: 10.1002/syn.1083.

150,000 km of connections (mylenated tissue) Marner L, Nyengaard JR, Tang Y, Pakkenberg B. (2003). Marked loss of myelinated nerve fibers in the human brain with age. J Comp Neurol. 462(2):144-52. via Mean radius of earth = 6371km

You're a dim bulb:
1 See via citing Elia, M. (1992) "Organ and tissue contribution to metabolic rate." In: Energy Metabolism: Tissue Determinants and Cellular Corollaries. Edited by Kinney and Tucker. Raven Press, Ltd. New York. pp.61-77.
2 See also

Memory for pi

Memory for cards

Brain weights

Loss of brain cells Pakkenberg et al., 1997; 2003 via

Sullen silences in coffee houses

Oxygen and sugar: See 'Overclock your Brain' by Vaughan Bell in 'Mind Performance Hacks' (O'Reilly)

Beliefs about intellience:
2 Mangels, J. A., Butterfield, B., Lamb, J., Good, C., & Dweck, C. S. (2006). Why do beliefs about intelligence influence learning success? A social cognitive neuroscience model. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience, 1(2), 75–86. doi: 10.1093/scan/nsl013.

Later school start times

How to remember:
1. Vaughan Bell in Mind Performance Hacks "Avoid Tip of Tongue".
2. Also Seed Magazine


Sleep: Tang, N. K. Y., & Harvey, A. G. (2004). Correcting distorted perception of sleep in insomnia: a novel behavioural experiment? Behaviour research and therapy, 42(1), 27-39.

First electrical stimulation

Einstein's brain: from the table on p2152 calculate z scores and you will see that Einstein's brain, although maybe significantly different from the comparison sample is not so extreme that a small percentage (ie millions out of the world population) don't share them

Case studies of people with radically diminshed brain tissue volume:
1 Feuillet et al. (2007) The Lancet, vol 370, p 262 & Half a Brain is Enough
2 The Story of Nico (2001). Antonio M. Battro (Series: Cambridge Studies in Cognitive and Perceptual Development, No. 5). CUP

Benefits of mixed practice:

1 "Indeed there is evidence that the sequence of learning examples affects retention properties of the acquired skill. In a task where participants were asked to learn three different punch styles, people who trained with a random schedule—practice trials on all three styles were conducted intermittently—retained their performance better after 10 min and after 10 days, when compared with people who trained one style at a time (Shea and Morgan 1979Go). Similar results emphasizing the benefits of concurrent and intermixed training of several subskills as a whole were found in basketball shooting (Memmert 2006Go), pistol shooting (Keller et al. 2006Go), surgery training (Brydges et al. 2007Go), and three-dimensional spatial orienting (Shebilske et al. 2006Go). For example, in the basketball study, it was found that people had better acquisition when shooting positions were blocked but better retention of the skills when shooting positions were randomized." from Shea JB, Morgan RL. Contextual interference effects on the acquisition, retention and transfer of a motor skill. J Exp Psychol (Hum Learn) 3: 179–187, 1979.
2 Memmert D. Long-term effects of type of practice on the learning and transfer of a complex motor skill. Percept Mot Skills 103: 912–916, 2006.
3 Keller GJ, Li Y, Weiss LW, Relyea GE. Contextual interference effect on acquisition and retention of pistol-shooting skills. Percept Mot Skills 103: 241–252, 2006.
4.Brydges R, Carnahan H, Backstein D, Dubrowski A. Application of motor learning principles to complex surgical tasks: searching for the optimal practice schedule. J Mot Behav 39: 40–48, 2007.
5. Shebilske WL, Tubre T, Tubre AH, Oman CM, Richards JT. Three-dimensional spatial skill training in a simulated space station: random vs. blocked designs. Aviat Space Environ Med 77: 404–409, 2006.
6 See also chaptor on the Contextual Interference Effect in Mind Hacks

Artistotle and the brain:

Ancient medical text:

Creativity and unconscious thought:

Cognitive enhancers (this essay was cut from the book)
1 Discover magazine:
2 Wired magazine:
3 High performers may be harmed
4 New Yorkers:
5. Newhouse, P. A., Potter, A., & Singh, A. (2004). Effects of nicotinic stimulation on cognitive performance. Current Opinion in Pharmacology, 4(1), 36-46.

Brain Nutrition
1 Freeman, M. P., Hibbeln, J. R., Wisner, K. L., Davis, J. M., Mischoulon, D., Peet, M., et al. (2006). Omega-3 fatty acids: evidence basis for treatment and future research in psychiatry. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 67(12), 1954-1967.
2 Gesch, C. B., Hammond, S. M., Hampson, S. E., Eves, A., & Crowder, M. J. (2002). Influence of supplementary vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids on the antisocial behaviour of young adult prisoners Randomised, placebo-controlled trial. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 181(1), 22-28.

concurrent food and exercise
1 van Praag, H. (2009). Exercise and the brain: something to chew on. Trends in neurosciences, 32(5), 283-290.
2 remember Ben Goldacre "antioxidant vitamin pills prevent you experiencing the benefits of healthy exercise. hahahahahaaa."
3 Wilson, M. G., & Morley, J. E. (0). Impaired cognitive function and mental performance in mild dehydration. Eur J Clin Nutr, 57(S2), S24-S29.
4 Drinking water:
5 Nutrient effects on nervous system

Music and the brain
1 Mozart effect is bunk:
2 Predicting Cognitive and Behavioral Effects of Gangsta Rap (1995):
3 Dramatic play increases executive function

Dialectacal bootstrapping

also Bunk: Mozart effect in rats:
1 Aoun et al (2005). Long-term enhancement of maze learning in mice via a generalized Mozart effect. Neurological Research, 27(8), 791-796
2 .....Doubts about study
3 Nantais, K. M., & Schellenberg, E. G. (1999). The Mozart effect: An artifact of preference. Psychological Science, 10(4), 370-373. Replicates effect, but shows the same effect for listening to a story, and an interaction with what pupils prefer to do.

Music and mood Short term benefits of music listening are mediated by mood and arousal --- non-music specific effects

Music and synchronisation during development
1 music training in children improves memory performance
2 "music training in children results in long-term enhancement of visual–spatial, verbal, and mathematical performance"
3 Schellenberg, E. G. (2004). Music lessons enhance IQ. Psychological Science, 15(8), 511-514. But only a small amount more than a drama lessons control
4 "Music lessons in childhood ... are associated with small but general and long-lasting intellectual benefits that cannot be attributed to obvious confounding variables such as family income and parents’ education." Music lessons seem to have long term music specific benefits, because of requirement to "including focused attention and concentration, memorization, reading music, fine-motor skills, expressing emotions, and so on."
5 Six year old who did 15 months weekly keyboard lessons had enlarged motor and auditory areas compared to a group which didn't (shown with MRI)
6 Hyde KL, Lerch J, Norton A, Forgeard M, Winner E, Evans AC, Schlaug G. Musical training shapes structural brain development. J Neurosci 2009;29:3019-3025.

differences in adult musicians brains
1 asymmetry in string players vs keyboardists: ??
2 assit in rehabilitation of stroke victims, due to right hemisphere specialisation
4 "potential to engage/unmask language-capable regions in the unaffected right hemisphere"
5 music and evolution (of language): precursor to language, for social cohesion, for sexual selection

Future brains:
1 Bach-y Rita P, Collins CC, Saunders F, White B, Scadden L.(1969). “Vision substitution by tactile image projection.”. Nature, 221:963–964.
2 HUman chimp genome
3 or for detail: The Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium (2005). Initial sequence of the chimpanzee genome and comparison with the human genome. Nature, 437(7055), 69-87. doi: 10.1038/nature04072.

glial cell numbers: Azevedo, F. A. C., Carvalho, L. R. B., Grinberg, L. T., Farfel, J. M., Ferretti, R. E. L., Leite, R. E. P., et al. (2009). Equal numbers of neuronal and nonneuronal cells make the human brain an isometrically scaled-up primate brain. The Journal of Comparative Neurology, 513(5), 532-541. doi: 10.1002/cne.21974.

Note on references: As you'll see, my sources here were varied. Papers given where I looked at them directly. Webites either discuss papers and/or original research or are by sources I trust the scientific judgement of (eg Vaughan Bell on, Christian Jarrett in the Research Digest and Eric Chudler at Washington). I probably left a few things out - the book was written in a rush. If you can't find the references supporting a claim in the book, please get in touch and I'll dig it out