Currently viewing the tag: "brain"

blurry figure

Sometimes the swirling images, the indescribable prisms of lights, morph into people. But often just one. Usually this person seems to be standing nearby, often in the corner of this very room, watching me. I’ve even gone as far as to open my eyes to catch whoever is in the room with me, but no one is there. I’ve made it all up. My dying mind has made it all up. Sometimes I call out to Numi, expecting to find my friend in the room with me, but he’s not there. I’m all alone with my scattered, incoherent thoughts. Dying is the ultimate hallucinogen. The final hallucinogen. –Silent Echo by J. R. Rain

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story from the point of view of a dying person.

Journaling Prompt: Write about the strangest dream you’ve ever had.

Art Prompt: Hallucination

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the science of dreams and hallucinations.

Photo Credit: Scott Griggs on Flickr

Nearly every inmate screened—96 percent—had a traumatic brain injury. That’s … far higher than the estimated 6 percent to 8.5 percent of the general population…
Traumatic brain injury has been proven to be a major risk factor for depression,post-traumatic stress disorder, aggressive behavior, substance abuse, and homelessness. But it’s also often associated with criminal behavior because it can, in some people, seem to alter all their behavior. Studies have shown that “the amount of verbal aggression, temper outbursts, and disinhibition” can increase after an injury, and that the aggression can become chronic if it isn’t addressed. According to a 2010 study in the journal Brain Injury, adult offenders with histories of traumatic brain injury also tend to enter the criminal justice system at a younger age than offenders without injuries, and to stay in it for longer. –Lauren Kirchner

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of a person who changes after suffering a traumatic brain injury.

Journaling Prompt: How does this research affect your opinion of prison inmates?

Art Prompt: Traumatic brain injuries in convicts

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Share this research with your audience and suggest some possible reforms for our treatment of convicts.

Photo Credit: Wally Gobetz on Flickr


….people who had worked in jobs with greater mental demands were more likely to have better memories before they retired and more likely to have slower declines in memory after retiring than people who had worked in jobs with fewer mental demands.
The differences at the time of retirement were not large, but they grew over time.
“These results suggest that working in an occupation that requires a variety of mental processes may be beneficial to employees,” said Jessica Faul, an ISR assistant research scientist.
“It’s likely that being exposed to new experiences or more mentally complex job duties may benefit not only newer workers but more seasoned employees as well,” she said. “Employers should strive to increase mental engagement at work and, if possible, outside of work as well, by emphasizing life-long learning activities.” –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: What does your character do for a living? How is his or her job affecting mental skills?

Journaling Prompt: Write about your job and how it is helping you stay sharp as you age. 

Art Prompt: Staying sharp

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Give your audience some strategies for keeping their brain sharp as they age.

Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver on Flickr

Music for Memories

The best songs cannot be forgotten. –Andre Norton and A. C. Crispin, Songsmith

Fiction Writing Prompt: Add to your character sketch. What is your protagonist’s favorite song? What memories does it evoke? What feelings does it create?

Journaling Prompt: Write about your favorite songs through your life. How do each of them reflect what was going on in your life at the time? How do you feel when you hear them today?

Art Prompt: Unforgettable Songs 

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Take your audience on a nostalgic trip into your favorite music from the past.

Photo Credit: epiclectic on Flickr


Dreams are always real, when we haven’t woken up from them yet… –Gregory J. Downs, Brother Thief

Fiction Writing Prompt: What dreams plague your protagonist?

Journaling Prompt: Write about a recurring dream you have had.

Art Prompt: Dream

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the science of dreaming.

Photo Credit: daybeezho on Flickr

wiki ad mental health stigma lets talk

… the mentally ill are exposed to considerable violations of their human rights all over the world. According to the largest healthcare institution, this stigma jeopardizes their treatment and pushes them towards isolation.
“The mentally ill are confronted with discrimination on a daily basis in education, employment and housing,” he adds. In some countries they are even abused in various ways and prevented from voting, getting married or having children.
The WHO proposes several means of avoiding this discrimination: increasing awareness; improving human rights in mental healthcare services; empowering users of mental healthcare services and their families; replacing psychiatric institutions with community healthcare; increasing investment and adopting policies, laws and services that promote human rights. –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story or scene from the point of view of someone with mental illness.

Journaling Prompt: Write about an experience you have had with mental illness.

Art Prompt: Mental illness

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Inform your audience about the stigma of mental illness.

Photo Credit: TraumaAndDissociation on Flickr


How long is your memory? Doesn’t matter. No matter what long-term knowledge you have access to, you’re likely to be fooled into thinking that something you noticed recently has just popped up – even if you’ve been seeing it your whole life. Often you see this during news programs in which anchors fret about Kids These Days, but Arnold Zwicky, a linguist, thinks it’s an example of recency illusion.
When some linguistic quirk catches a person’s attention it appears to them as if the language is flooded by this new use of words. Actually, it’s their focus, and not the language, that has changed. –Esther Ingliss-Arkell

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about a character who notices something that haunts him or her.

Journaling Prompt: What did you just notice recently that now you see or hear everywhere? Write about it.

Art Prompt: What are you noticing?

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write a humorous piece about this phenomenon and how it has manifested in your life.

Photo Credit: Squirmelia on Flickr


We humans have a fairly erratic sense of time. We tend to misjudge the duration of events, particularly when they are emotional in nature. Disturbingly negative experiences, for example, seem to last much longer than they actually do. And highly positive experiences seem to pass more quickly than negative ones.
Researchers say they have found a way to lessen these emotion-driven time distortions. Having a sense of control over events reduces the influence of emotions on time perception, the researchers report. This is true even for highly reactive emotional individuals and even if one’s sense of control is an illusion. –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a scene in which the emotional nature of the events skews your protagonist’s sense of time.

Journaling Prompt: Write about an event that was emotionally difficult for you. What did you notice about time?

Art Prompt: Fear and time.

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a story about a dreadful experience that you went through and include them in your time distortion.

Photo Credit: cheetah100 on Flickr

Dreaming Girls Head

One of the first sustained efforts to study dreams scientifically was spearheaded by the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, in the early twentieth century. After analyzing the dreams of hundreds of his patients, he came up with a theory that still resonates with a lot of researchers today: dreams are wish-fulfillments. Any dream, no matter how terrifying, can be looked at as a way of getting something that you want, either literally or symbolically. For example, say you have a terrifying and sad dream about your mother dying. Why would that be a wish-fulfillment? Maybe, Freud would say, you are having a conflict with your mother that would be easily resolved if she were out of the picture. So you don’t want your mother to die, but you do want to deal with that conflict. –Annalee Newitz and Joseph Bennington-Castro

Fiction Writing Prompt: What recurring dream does your character have? What wish do they want fulfilled and why?

Journaling Prompt: Write about a dream that you’ve had. What wish is behind it? What does it mean?

Art Prompt: Dreams as wish fulfillment

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about dreams and how they represent waking wishes.

Photo Credit: Elfleda on Flickr

remember a day before today

“Memories aren’t static… If you remember something in the context of a new environment and time, or if you are even in a different mood, your memories might integrate the new information.”…”When you think back to an event that happened to you long ago — say your first day at school — you actually may be recalling information you retrieved about that event at some later time, not the original event.” –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use a character’s internal monologue to show the changing of memories during recall.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a time when you were discussing memories with a family member or childhood friend. Were there discrepancies in the memories? How does it feel to think about your memories being inaccurate?

Art Prompt: Memory

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about the intricacies of memory and how our perceptions of our memories shape our lives.

Photo Credit: DerrickT on Flickr