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(48,070 posts)
Sat Mar 30, 2024, 12:19 PM Mar 2024

Working With Your Hands Is Good for Your Brain

The human hand is a marvel of nature. No other creature on Earth, not even our closest primate relatives, has hands structured quite like ours, capable of such precise grasping and manipulation.

But we’re doing less intricate hands-on work than we used to. A lot of modern life involves simple movements, such as tapping screens and pushing buttons, and some experts believe our shift away from more complex hand activities could have consequences for how we think and feel.

“When you look at the brain’s real estate — how it’s divided up, and where its resources are invested — a huge portion of it is devoted to movement, and especially to voluntary movement of the hands,” said Kelly Lambert, a professor of behavioral neuroscience at the University of Richmond in Virginia.

Dr. Lambert, who studies effort-based rewards, said that she is interested in “the connection between the effort we put into something and the reward we get from it” and that she believes working with our hands might be uniquely gratifying.

Continued at New York Times - Gift Link
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(11,174 posts)
1. Learn to play a musical instrument.
Sat Mar 30, 2024, 12:26 PM
Mar 2024

Not having an fMRI on hand, I venture to say that it builds connections in the brain.

And if you're diligent with practice, offers both challenge and reward.

Keeps you young, too. 🎶🎶🎶


(21,897 posts)
3. I substitute taught a class yesterday and the teacher is teaching them cursive
Sat Mar 30, 2024, 12:35 PM
Mar 2024

The class was more calmer and focused than the other classes of that same grade who use computers all the time!
Cursive slows kids down and helps with concentration.

When I taught a K-2 special Ed class I started the day with them tracing letters and made up a worksheet with their names they copied. We did only 15 minutes and then went into academics the kids were so more focused.


(36,533 posts)
8. That's fascinating!
Sun Apr 14, 2024, 02:33 AM
Apr 2024

There is other research that shows that taking notes in a class by hand results in higher retention and understanding than does taking notes on a computer.

You prol’ly knew that, being a teacher, but maybe others do not.


(4,090 posts)
5. Yup, Occupational Therapists have known this since their beginning.
Sat Mar 30, 2024, 01:27 PM
Mar 2024

They really came into their own working with WWI soldiers who had been physically or mentally wounded. Work with your hands to heal. Even something as simple as getting dressed can make a huge difference to someones physical and psychological well being. Add in something creative and expansive and so much good can evolve. The hand-brain connection is so important for our physical and mental well being.


(37,791 posts)
7. I read an interesting article about exercising your brain
Sat Mar 30, 2024, 09:15 PM
Mar 2024

Write yourself a letter using your non dominant hand, similarly do crossword puzzles. And brush your teeth with your non dominant hand. It’s supposed to exercise parts of your brain which aren’t used very often. I tried it. It’s kind of aggravating but I guess most exercise is. I’d recommend it every now and then. I’m keeping a running diary of a couple little things that happen every day using my non dominant (right) hand. I take no more than two minutes.


(36,533 posts)
9. Hmmm
Sun Apr 14, 2024, 02:38 AM
Apr 2024

I’m into that sort of thing so I will try this.

“The Mozart Effect” does something similar. I listen every day.

Mozart is unique. Bach and Beethoven don’t do the same.


(37,791 posts)
10. What is the Mozart effect?
Sun Apr 14, 2024, 09:00 PM
Apr 2024

We have a city wide garage sale in our town in the summer. Last year I got a 4 CD Mozart box Set for a dollar. I enjoy the music but would love to know units therapeutic value. Chatting on DU is better than google.


(36,533 posts)
11. it does something to the circuitry of the brain
Mon Apr 15, 2024, 01:43 AM
Apr 2024

and what it does is that it enables one particular aspect of intelligence, spatial reasoning, to function at a higher level. It does so by a significant amount, too! Eight or nine points on an IQ test, which is way more than other methods of increasing intelligence have been able to do.

Spatial intelligence, as you probably already know, is the ability to visualize things in 3D and be able to rotate that 3D object in your mind to "see" it from another angle It also covers the ability to visualize a description of a room, for example, as you read a novel.

The big thing that it does as far as I was initially concerned was that it enhances the ability to follow geographic directions. When you're in NJ, that's an essential.

Another activity that spatial intelligence is important to is flying a drone. I remember when my brother first got his drone he talked about the difficulty he had adjusting his mind to how to get it to go in a certain direction.

Yet another instance is a friend who analyze racetracks and horses so he could place more winning bets on horses. It amazed me how he could break down a track spatially and calculate how a certain kind of horse would traverse that part of the track. He did this back in the days before computers, so you had to know he loved doing math. He was so good at it that he made millions. He couldn't even get a bookie.

I think it is just a temporary effect, though. If you read the book, however, there is chapter after chapter of research studies. Many researchers have studied this.

There is even a "Mozart Effect" Symphony Orchestra! They curate their CDs to various aspects of what you might want to work with, like creativity. I think there might be some for children, too. They have a web site.

I listen to it as part of my overall attempt to keep my brain flexible. I have been listening to music for an hour each morning for quite some time, ever since I read some of the studies on how listening to music has a remarkable effect on patients with dementia. I don't have dementia, not even close, but hey, why wait? There are 30 years worth of studies in this area that show an effect, so it's kind of like taking aspirin. Effective and safe.

When I listen I don't do anything else. I don't think of anything else. Just lean back and listen and focus totally on the music.

Check your CDs to see if you have "12 Variations on 'Ah vous dirai-je, Maman', K.265." You will be dazzled. He goes from on variation to the next. It's like a listening roller coaster ride!

After I finish The Mozart Effect, I'm going to read a biography of Mozart.


(232 posts)
13. Had to google. This is what I came up with, although I'm listening and posting
Tue Apr 16, 2024, 11:55 PM
Apr 2024

Variations on a known tune are interesting, thanks.

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