Cowboy Ethics

There was a time when a person's word was enough. You could sell the farm  on a handshake without worrying about whether the other side would follow through. But those were simpler times. These days, to get what was promised, you'd better have it in writing. After this unethical climate occasioned the financial meltdown in 2008, 40-year Wall Street veteran James Owen knew something had to change. Society had gotten too far away from the days when…

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Caffeine: Friend or Foe?

Can Caffeine Unlock Previously Unknown Cardiac Benefits?        Caffeine is the most widely consumed cognitive enhancer in the world, and many in the nootropics community know the cognitive benefits of adding caffeine into their Nootropic stack (Mental Mojo uses 150mg of caffeine per serving, about the same as a small coffee from Starbucks). Now new health benefits derived from caffeine are coming to light thanks to a study appearing in PLOS Biology, by Authors Judith Haendeler and Joachim…

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Dad Was Right: Sugar Rots Your Brain

Does Your Sugar Intake Approach the "Tipping Point?" There's a reason Mental Mojo is sweetened with natural stevia: sugar is linked to Alzheimer's. As a neurochemist-designed, patent-pending brain booster whose actives were originally developed to fight this pernicious disease, we saw the proverbial writing on the wall with sugar years ago, but it wasn't until February of 2017 that the Sugar-Alzheimer's link was made official in a clinical study conducted by the University of Bath. The study…

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Does Intermittent Fasting Make You Smarter?

There is no doubt that intermittent fasting--a practice by which one fasts and feeds at set intervals--has helped many practitioners drop fat, but is it also making these folks smarter? Mark Mattson, the chief scientist at the Laboratory of Neurosciences thinks it might. Mattson’s team studied forty mice. Both groups consumed the same number of calories over the course of the study, but one group took every other day off eating while the other group ate normally.…

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Brain Bacteria: the Mind-Gut Connection

Studies are coming out every day that link the effects of imbalances in gut bacteria to a host of mental health conditions including: depression, anxiety, autism, schizophrenia and Parkinson's disease. Although not yet entirely understood, scientists have discovered that signals go both from the brain to the gut AND from the gut to the brain.  Prompted by this realization,  they are beginning to triangulate the factors that bear on the bacterial balance and overall health of our…

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6 Easy Steps to Unlock Your Creative Genius

What we refer to as creativity is often referred to as "divergent thinking" by neuroscientists. Divergent thinking is a non-linear thought process that draws on many possible ideas to render an optimal solution (as opposed to convergent thinking, which follows a linear set of logical steps to arrive at one solution). If you want to solve an equation, then convergent thinking is the ticket, but if you want to paint the next Mona Lisa, ace an essay exam or even…

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Can Pupil Size Predict IQ?

Could IQ--a famous standard of intelligence that has long eluded quantification--be as easy to measure as pupil size? Could the reason why establish a link between norepinephrine and fluid intelligence (and therefore, Mental Mojo consumption--See last paragraph)? Georgia psychologists Jason Tsukahara and colleagues hypothesize affirmatively in a paper they published two months ago. First a little background. Pupils have long been known to vary in size due to changes in emotional state and cognitive effort (i.e., brain strain). As Tsukahara writes: Starting in…

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The 20 Most Common Cognitive Biases

In laymen's terms, a cognitive bias is a shortcut taken by your brain that leads to illogical conclusions. Cognitive biases arose in the brains of our ancestors, whose environment placed a premium on quick decisions at the cost of accuracy. Today, these biases can still benefit us in certain contexts (e.g. athletic competitions or life and death situations), but can really hurt us in arenas governed by rationality (e.g., one's career or investment decisions). Luckily, 20% of cognitive biases are responsible…

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These Psychological/Personality Factors Predict Success

Yale Professor Amy Chua made big waves in academia with her 2014 book The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America. Her theory that three traits--belief in superiority of one's group, feelings of insecurity, and impulse control--explain the greater success of cultural groups such as Mormons, Nigerians, Persians, East Asians and Jews was denounced widely (particularly among Asian americans) for perpetuating the "model minority" stereotype. In 2016, two researchers, Joshua Hart and…

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Why the Human Brain is Shrinking

Fact: our brains are 10% smaller than they were 10,000 to 20,000 years ago. Anthropologists and psychologists across the world have advanced various explanations sharing the common threads discussed below. One driver of brain shrinkage they seem to agree on is domesticity. As this theory's lead proponent, Bruce Hood of the University of Bristol, explains: "We have been self-domesticating through the invention of culture and practices that ensure that we can live together." These anthropological shifts obviated the need to hunt for…

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