Scientist Seeks Neural And Biological Basis For Creativity, Beauty And Love

One of the world’s leading neuroscientists is to search for the neural and biological basis for creativity, beauty and love after receiving over £1 million from the Wellcome Trust, the UK’s largest medical research charity. The research will bring together science, the arts and philosophy to answer fundamental questions about what it means to be human.

Professor Semir Zeki from University College London (UCL) has received a Wellcome Trust Strategic Award to establish a programme of research in the new field of “neuroaesthetics”. The research will build on his previous work into the neural mechanisms behind beauty and love.

Together with Professor Ray Dolan, Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at UCL, Professor Zeki will look at questions that have been debated for millennia by writers, artists and philosophers and yet have been little studied by neurobiologists: Can we measure beauty objectively” How are beauty and love related” What does it mean to be happy”

“All human societies place a high premium on art and the pursuit of beauty,” says Professor Zeki. “We all value and reward creativity. We all want to pursue happiness. But what do these entities mean in concrete, neurobiological terms” We hope to address these issues experimentally. The results will not only increase our knowledge about the workings of the human brain but will also give deep insights into human nature and how we view ourselves.”

Neuroesthetics aims to illuminate the brain’s workings through its cultural products in a similar way to how neuroscientists study the brain through malfunctions caused by disease. However, Professor Zeki believes its impact may be much wider.

“The new field of neuroaesthetics will teach biologists to use the products of the brain in art, music, literature and mathematics to better understand how the brain functions,” he says. “Success will encourage an interdisciplinary approach to other fields, such as the study of economics or jurisprudence in terms of brain activity. This will have a deep impact on social issues.”

Using Wellcome Trust funding, Professor Zeki hopes to attract students and researchers from the sciences, arts and humanities in truly interdisciplinary research. Their work will be overseen by an Advisory Board that will include author AS Byatt, physician, opera producer and broadcaster Sir Jonathan Miller and Dr. Deborah Swallow, Director of the Courtauld Institute of Art, London.

“Professor Zeki is a Renaissance Man for the twenty-first century,” says Professor Richard Morris, Head of Neurosciences and Mental Health at the Wellcome Trust. “His research sees no boundaries between science and the arts and humanities and will provide an exciting insight in issues that strike at the heart of what it is to be human.”

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When Meds Fail: A Case for Music Therapy: Tim Ringgold at TEDxYouth@BommerCanyon

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Is an Optimistic Mind Associated with a Healthy Heart?

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity.” — World Health Organization (1946) Many poets, philosophers, and thinkers throughout history have recognized the intimate link between physical and mental health. The ancient Roman poet Juvenal once declared “A healthy f-555 mind in a healthy body”. However, until relatively recently, most psychological research has focused on the link between psychological difficulties (e.g., anxiety, depression) and physical health. But things are changing. Over the past few decades, a growing number of studies demonstrate that merely alleviating anxiety and stress don’t necessarily lead to better life outcomes. Positive characteristics, such as optimism, vitality, meaning, and subjective life satisfaction are immensely important in their own right. The related fields of positive psychology and health psychology focus on rigorous scientific investigations of how people adapt to life’s inevitable challenges, and how that is related (or even leads to) a better quality of life. This process of resilience across life is the idea of thriving, successful aging, or flourishing.

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“Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth” ~ Pema Chodron


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Creative Play for Kids Art and Drama Therapy for Children – Coping with Trauma

For more visit:
American Art Therapy
Drama Therapy
Dance/Movement Therapy
Play Therapy

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3 Dietary Interventions that Can Help Children with ADHD

Are dietary inter­ven­tions effec­tive for treat­ing ADHD? For many par­ents and pro­fes­sion­als, try­ing to parse through the dif­fer­ent claims about the impact of diet on ADHD has been chal­leng­ing and confusing. At this point, sub­stan­tial research on how dietary inter­ven­tions impact ADHD has accu­mu­lated and sev­eral meta-analyses of this work have been pub­lished. Recently, a review of sev­eral meta-analyses of dietary inter­ven­tions for ADHD was pub­lished [Research review: The role of diet in the treat­ment of attention-deficit/hyper­ac­tiv­ity dis­or­der — an appraisal of the evi­dence on effi­cacy and rec­om­men­da­tions on the design of future stud­ies]. In this paper, the authors sum­ma­rize find­ings across 6 dif­fer­ent meta-analyses of the impact of diet on ADHD to pro­vide a high level sum­mary of the best avail­able evi­dence to date.

Types of dietary interventions j0430914

Three types of dietary inter­ven­tions were reviewed — Restricted Elim­i­na­tion Diets (RED), Arti­fi­cial food col­or­ing exclu­sion (AFCE), and sup­ple­men­ta­tion with free fatty acids (SFFA). Although other types of sup­ple­ments beyond free fatty acids have been inves­ti­gated, the authors felt there was not suf­fi­cient research on any sin­gle approach to include in their summary.

1. Restricted elim­i­na­tion diets (RED) — There are 2 dif­fer­ent approaches to imple­ment­ing this diet. In one approach, the child is placed on an extremely restricted diet, e.g., rice, turkey, a range of veg­eta­bles (let­tuce, car­rots, cau­li­flower, cab­bage, beets), pears and water; this is some­times referred to as the Few Food Diet. When a reduc­tion in ADHD behav­iors results — this would gen­er­ally occur within 2–3 weeks if the diet is going to have a pos­i­tive effect — new foods can be added back one at a time to see if they are well-tolerated or lead to an increase in prob­lem behav­iors. Alter­na­tively, par­tic­u­lar foods that are sus­pected to exac­er­bate a child’s symp­toms may be removed one at a time to see if the child’s behav­ior improves.

2. Arti­fi­cial food col­or­ing exclu­sion (AFCE)- As the title indi­cates, this involves efforts to remove all arti­fi­cial food col­or­ings from a child’s diet, e.g.,Yellow #6, Yel­low #5, Sodium Ben­zoate, Blue #2, etc., and observ­ing whether this is asso­ci­ated with a reduc­tion in ADHD behav­iors. Care­fully con­ducted tri­als have demon­strated that AFC’s – in amounts chil­dren could typ­i­cally con­sume – can increase ADHD symp­toms in many children.

3. Essen­tial fatty acid sup­ple­men­ta­tion — Cer­tain fatty acids, e.g., Omega 3 and Omega 6, pro­mote neural func­tion­ing. These fatty acids are called essen­tial because they are not syn­the­sized in the body and must be ingested. Chil­dren with ADHD may have lower lev­els of essen­tial fatty acids rel­a­tive to peers and sev­eral stud­ies have demon­strated a link between low lev­els of EFAs and the sever­ity of ADHD symp­toms. Stud­ies inves­ti­gat­ing the ben­e­fits of fatty acid sup­ple­men­ta­tion for youth with ADHD raise fatty acid lev­els by admin­is­ter­ing cap­sules con­tain­ing the fatty acids or some­times by intro­duc­ing diets rich in fish products. – See more at:

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Poetry Writing with Clients

Writing a poem for the first time can be intimidating, but there are many possible ways to get started. In this post I’ll talk about just one of them, which is a list poem.

Defining a Poem

The first step when introducing poetry to clients is to define poetry. Show what a poem looks like on a page. Explain that a poem is usually short, and that each line has a fixed length. It uses carefully-chosen language to express a feeling, and sometimes uses rhythm, rhyme, or repetition. MP900411797

Writing a List Poem

A list poem is a poem in which each line begins the same way. List poems are wonderful for beginning writers especially, because the start of each line is provided, creating a comfortable way in (at least I have this part that I can write, and know I’m spelling it correctly). A list poem can be simple and powerful. One client, who struggles with depression, wrote a poem in which each line begins, “I love” followed by one thing that makes her feel happy.

5 Tips for Writing a Successful List Poem:

Read poems together as a group, to get clients familiar with the sounds and rhythms of it. After reading a poem, ask if there is any line that clients like or find interesting. Ask why they like it, what makes it stand out. Keep your ear open for things clients say—does something sound like a list poem? “Every morning I…” “I want to read…” “If I had a million dollars I’d…” “I love the way…” The possibilities are endless.

When clients are ready to begin writing, here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Be specific

Help clients bring their poems to life by including specific details. In other words, show, don’t tell. “I wake up early,” becomes, “I wake up at 3:00 am every morning to go to work.” Instead of “I cook Chinese food” help the client write, “I cook catfish with spicy sauce.”

2. Five senses

Can you see this poem? Can you hear it? Smell it? Feel it? Taste it? Is this poem bringing a world to life? If not, think about describing with the five senses.

3. Order

Pay attention to the order of the list. Does it have a beginning? A middle? An end? Does it need an additional line to bring it to a close?

4. Word Choice

Think about word choice. Could another word be more effective? Sometimes beginning writers want to use the word “beautiful,” but write “nice” instead because it is easier to spell. Help the writer actualize the poem in her mind.

5. Edit

Don’t be afraid to edit. ‘Make it Messy’ is a good mantra for first drafts. They should have crossed out parts and additions. Are any items in the list extraneous? Are there unnecessary repetitions? Help students build the confidence to edit themselves.

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