The brain is one of the most fascinating, complex, and deeply personal wonders of the world. Each of us carries one around each day, but very few of us get to see ours in action. But what if we could? We might discover truths not written in any textbook, yet.

Brain imaging equipment can cost millions of dollars and precise observational methods can require extensive training. This adds up to neuroscience researchers keeping all the brain-peeking fun to themselves, basically hanging out in labs discussing biological jewels that few others get to see. In fact, we enjoy hanging out there…

The hell-hole I called my room

This is not a story about cleaning house, but it started out that way.

It was 2011, and my room was a cold mess. Describing it as a hot mess would have imbued it with more fun than the pathetic dumping ground was having.

Boxes. Shoes. Books. Papers. Piles and piles and piles. Repeat.

For years, I had been promising myself I would change my habits: put things away instead of dumping them on the floor and then dashing out the door, finally devoting a weekend to cleaning up. It fell off my to-do list over and over.

I’d been…

Guinea pig learning how to do proper self-experiments

Ever tried turning yourself into a human guinea pig?

Oddly enough, I have.

In attempts to improve my attention and memory, I have zapped my brain, altered my brainwaves, and even mailed my poop to a faraway lab. At other points, I tracked my time usage every five minutes using alarms and spreadsheets. I wrote down everything I ate. I went into a room full of strangers and laughed hysterically for an hour.

While this may sound bizarre, plenty of people are doing it. Some call themselves biohackers, others Quantified Selfers, others self-experimenters.

What if you were a human guinea…

If you had 15 minutes to improve your brain each morning, what would you do?

I’ve been in pursuit of this question for somewhere between half a decade and my entire lifetime. This mild obsession has taken me through neuroscience research at MIT and Harvard, tech startups, and ultimately, it turned me into a human guinea pig.

On a recent carpool back from Stanford, Adrian*, a 22 year-old scientist asked me how he might optimize his mental performance. He seemed genuinely curious, so I decided to answer in detail. …

Elizabeth Ricker

Author of “Smarter Tomorrow: How 15 Minutes of Neurohacking a Day Can Help You Work Better, Think Faster, and Get More Done” (Little, Brown Spark/Hachette).

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