Neuropsychological Well-Being

What Is Neuropsychology

Neuropsychology, a branch of the field of Psychology, studies the relationship between the human brain and human behavior.  The human brain is the most complicated and yet astonishing organ in the human body because it regulates all human functions, including conscious actions such as drinking a glass of water, smiling, and walking. The goal of neuropsychology is to understand specific psychological processes and behaviors of human being from the perspective of the structures and functions of the brain.

Neuro refers to the brain and psychology refers to the scientific study of human emotion and cognition.  The brain controls all our automatic functions such as our heart rate and breathing, and also mediates all our conscious actions such as talking, walking, thinking, and writing.   The functions of the brain are relatively specialized, and different parts of the brain mediate different cognitive functions.  For examples, our memory is controlled by the medial temporal region, decision making by the frontal areas, and motor functions by the motor cortex.   Thus, specific cognitive disorders will be resulted from damage or malfunction of specific regions of the brain.

In addition, our brain mediates our emotions.   For instance, patients with depression may have reduced activity in frontal regions when examined with functional magnetic resonance imaging.  Thus, when individuals suffer from psychological problems such as depressive mood, their brain function will also be affected concurrently.  Empirical studies have shown that individuals with depression demonstrate memory problem and frontal lobe dysfunction such as inflexible thinking, apart from their depressive mood.

What Is Neuropsychological well-being

As a human being, our performance is mediated by our cognitive function and mental health.  One cannot perform well if memory is lost, such as in cases of dementia of Alzheimer’s type; even a genius will lose his/her working ability if he/she suffers from severe depression. Thus, maintaining neuropsychological wellness is a significant matter for every human being.

The development of the internet and mobile phones has significantly changed the lifestyle of most people nowadays.  We are in the generation that we can be contacted by others almost anytime, anywhere with a mobile phone; thus, our personal space has shrunk significantly and so as our time to be quiet and relaxed. As a result, more and more people suffer from psychological problems such as anxiety and depression.  The stressful lifestyle has also led to many physical problems such as high blood pressure, heart attack, and even cancer.

In addition, it has been predicted by some scientists that most of the human functions will be replaced by robots as the development of artificial intelligence (AI) is getting more advanced.  In some ways, the cognitive abilities of human are deteriorating, while the function of AI is advancing.   For instance, human being sometimes fails to do complicated calculations, recall old memories, find ways with a map, etc.   Thus, maintaining an optimal level of cognitive functioning is a significant matter to be studied, if we do not wish to be controlled by AI in the future.

The focus of our research center is to investigate methods that can potentially improve human cognitive functions, mental and physical health.  While there is no single miracle pill for improving human cognitive and emotional problems, our research center focuses on investigating the effectiveness of a Chinese traditional health concept, namely Chanwuyi, on improving cognitive function including attention, memory, decision-making, cognitive-flexibility, and psychological wellness.  For clinical application, Chanwuyi may be considered as a non-pharmacological intervention for patients with cognitive disorders such as memory loss or dementia, children with autism or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and adults with depression. While for educational application, Chanwuyi may be considered as a training program to improve the school performance of students and to improve the job performance of businessmen, professionals, and others.[More on Chanwuyi]