I recently wrote an article about the connection between language and visual memories in which the authors of the study concluded that the strong version of embodied cognition was not supported. Another recent article about embodiment came to a very different conclusion, which I thought I’d discuss further.
One of the fundamental questions in cognitive science is how information is stored in the brain and in the mind. There are innumerable different models, each with its own strengths and weaknesses, but the one that I will be addressing here is known as embodiment.
Not everybody loves math. In fact, some people report tension, apprehension, and fear when faced with the need to perform mathematical tasks as a part of everyday life. Not surprisingly, these highly math anxious individuals (HMAs) perform more poorly on math related tasks than individuals with low math anxiety, tending to avoid math classes and math-related career paths. But, understanding more about the neural underpinnings of high math anxiety may help educators develop better strategies for counteracting these tendencies, ultimately opening the door to more diverse career opportunities for HMAs.
Previous research has shown that the act of chewing gum can significantly reduce reaction times during certain tests, including numerical working memory, sustained alertness, auditory oddball, and semantic memory tasks. There are various theories about why this is the case, ranging from the activation of specific areas of the brain to improved mood and decreased stress whilst chewing, and many have hypothesized that increased activation of blood flow to the pre-frontal cortex is the cause, as both alerting and executive functions are thought to be housed there.