Let’s talk about fidgeting

A new pilot done by researchers in New Zealand suggests a link between fidgeting and improved cognitive performance. While the study was initially designed to evaluate the brains of people with ADHD, scientists found fidgeting increased blood flow in the prefrontal cortex, the executive decision making region of the brain in participants living with and without the condition.

These results suggest fidgeting is a subconscious adaptation. It’s the brain’s way of prompting improved concentration and executive functioning. Executive functions are recognized as the cognitive skills you use to control and coordinate abilities like self-regulation and problem-solving.

To get to these findings, the research team used MRI to measure participant’s blood flow, biochemical signatures, and brain morphology. They also used fMRI technology to measure activity in the brain while both sets of study participants took a test designed to measure their ability to pay attention and make decisions. Overall, these findings match other research on fidgeting.

Next, the New Zealand team of researchers plans on continuing their work, gathering a larger study sample, and evaluating whether long-term fidgeting can improve “neuronal activity.” There’s a possibility, the team says, that fidgeting is, in a way, a “mild drug-free ADHD stimulant.”

Source: inverse.com

 

Netflix commits $100 million toward inclusion

Netflix is pledging to do more after a report finds that representation of people with disabilities and other groups is lacking in its original films and television shows. The report reviewed 126 films and 180 series released in 2018 and 2019 to measure representation by gender, race/ethnicity, LGBTQ+ and disability. It found that the LGBTQ+ community and people with disabilities “rarely” see themselves in content on the popular streaming service.

Characters with disabilities accounted for just 5.3% of leads and 4.7% of the main cast in film and series. When speaking characters were factored, only 2.1% had disabilities. This is far short of reflecting the 27.2% of the population who have disabilities, the report noted. When individuals with disabilities were shown, they were likely to be white males living with physical disabilities leaving room for the need to better depict the full range of how people experience disability. Notably, the report found that Netflix productions had strong representation behind the camera among certain groups like women.

Netflix will establish a fund to invest $100 million over five years in organizations that help bring underrepresented communities into the television and film industries and in programs to train and hire new talent at the company.

Source: Disability Scoop

Sexual misconduct is everywhere

Singer Billie Eilish has spoken about the pervasiveness of sexual misconduct, describing it as being “everywhere”. In an interview with Vogue, she said she doesn’t “know one girl or woman who hasn’t had a weird experience, or a really bad experience”. “And men, too – young boys are taken advantage of constantly,” she said.

Vogue interviewer Laura Snapes wrote that it also “happened to Eilish when she was younger”, but added “the details are hers.”

The Grammy award-winning, American singer-songwriter, was discussing her new single Your Power, which is about an abuser taking advantage of a minor. “It’s an open letter to people who take advantage – mostly men,” she said.  The singer also unveiled a new look in her photoshoot for the magazine, using it as an opportunity to hit back at those who discuss what she wears. Describing the look as “classic, old-timey pin-up”, the star’s signature black and green hair is now platinum blonde. She said the colour change made her feel “more like a woman, somehow”.

Eilish’s previous baggy style of dress has often been hailed as refreshing when compared with that of other famous women who wear tighter, more revealing clothing, but Eilish told the magazine her dress sense was more about the onlookers’ issues than her. “Don’t make me not a role model because you’re turned on by me.”

bbc.com

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