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#029: Dan Hurley and the New Science of Building Brain Power

January 31, 2014

In Episode #29, Jesse interviews author Dan Hurley on the subject of cognitive training. Dan Hurley is a science writer and journalist who regularly contributes to The New York Times Science Times. He also writes for numerous medical newspapers, including Neurology Today (the newspaper of the American Academy of Neurology), Gastroenterology and Endoscopy News, Pharmacy Practice News, General Surgery News, and others. He has been senior writer at the Medical Tribune and contributing editor to Psychology Today, where his article on the violent mentally ill won the American Society of Journalists and Authors’ award for investigative journalism in 1995.  He is a former Vice President of the American Society of Journalists and Authors.

Most recently, his new book Smarter follows his personal investigation into brain-training and the growing number of means now available to people to literally improve their intelligence.  Dan is also the author of Diabetes Rising: How a Rare Disease Became a Modern Pandemic and What we can do About It, Natural Causes: Death, Lies, and Politics in America’s Vitamin and Herbal Supplement Industry, and The 60-Second Novelist: What 22,613 People Taught Me About Life.

This Week In Neuroscience: The Conscientious Ghost in the Neurological Machine

Scientists at Oxford University have found the area of the brain that keeps track of and monitors the efficacy of old options – the ones we didn’t make, but considered. In essence, they’ve located the physical structure that allows you to self-torment over bad past decisions – which is what people might consider “the conscience.”  Weird, right? Perhaps not surprisingly, only humans possess these golf-ball-sized areas which sit approximately behind each eyebrow.

Read the original article here.

What You’ll Learn

  • The types of intelligence: fluid and crystallized
  • The relationship between your thoughts and emotions
  • How measurable, lasting cognitive improvements can be gained with short, focused mental training

Key Terms Mentioned


  1. ben says:

    A bit disappointed in the lack of examples on what a mental training regimen looks like.

    Luminosity, BrainHQ, is mentioned in his recent article,

    But haven’t been able to find his 2013 ‘Smart Brains’ PBS special where hopefully he has more specifics.

    1. ben says:

      Or Neuroracer as mentioned in the Episode 41

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