BEAU DISCUSSES THE EFFECTS OF TRAVEL ON THE BRAIN FOR VOX NEWS
Lab of Misfits’ Dr Beau Lotto appeared on Vox News to explain how exploring new places can expand the mind by providing access to an enriched environment, which increases synaptic connections and even new brain cells.
The Vox News article explores how scientists once believed that the adult brain was unchangeable, and only declined with age. However in the 1960s, neuroscientist Dr Marian Diamond proved that this belief was false and that if the brain inhabited an enriched environment, it could grow.
Dr Beau Lotto, who was mentored by Dr Marian Diamond, explains that one of the ways that humans can access an enriched environment is through travel, which exposes one’s brain to new foods, smells, tastes, and sensations. Dr Lotto elaborates on the significance of those connections: “What’s really important is to have a brain that has the ability to make connections, as well as to lose them. In other words, it’s not about just adapting, it’s about being adaptable.”
Dr Lotto further explains how travel can also give the brain access to awe. “Awe is one of the most powerful perceptions we have. [Awe] gives you courage and curiosity to step forward to ‘not knowing’. By being the mediator of awe, one has the potential to travel with openness, which will give one the courage to engage in the new, thus enabling one to be more changeable and adaptable.”
According to Vox News, science has shown that the benefits of travel, such as experiencing awe and enriched environments, can last for longer than the trip itself. Studies have shown that the benefits to the mind are present 5 weeks later, when a past trip continues to counteract cortisol and other stress hormones. Booking a trip and anticipating it can also induce contentment and make you happier.
To read the full account, Your Brain on Travel, click here.
Written by: Hannah Marshallsay.
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