Brain Buddies

Mission Statement

To involve the community in active and engaging educational workshops about brain function and health. While we intend all workshops to be open to and interesting for people of all ages, some of our topics are particularly targeted to older adults.


A number of organizations offer brain education in youth populations, through school-based or extra-curricular initiatives. Few groups actively reach out to older adults, despite a growing interest and concern in brain health with age.

General Notes:

  • Presentations would last 30-45 minutes, followed by a brief question period and interactive activity.
  • Total session time approximately 60-90 minutes.
  • Suggestions about topics and feedback about sessions always welcome.

Module 1: Know Your Anatomy

  • Historical perspective: mind vs. brain (dual vs. unitary models)
  • Brain areas and pathways, associated functions
  • Major historical figures that helped researchers make these discoveries
  • Brain myths

Module 2: Cognitive Processes and Attention

  • What is a cognitive process / cognition?
  • How can we measure it?
  • What is attention? How does it relate to cognition?
  • Why is attention important?
  • Change blindness, inattention blindness

Module 3: Memory

  • What is memory?
    • Definition, types of memory, accepted models
  • Why is memory important?
  • What happens with memory over time?
    • Healthy processes of forgetting and confabulating
    • Age-related decline
  • Cognitive Reserve Theory

Module 4: Age-Related Diseases

  • Neurotransmitters: what are they and why are they important?
  • Dopamine – motivation, movement
    • Parkinson’s disease, addiction, learning / attention disabilities
  • Acetylcholine – arousal, learning
    • Learning and memory disorders, Alzheimer’s
  • Dementia and stroke
    • Classifying: fronto-temporal vs. vascular
  • Depression
  • Treatments and cognitive training

Module 5: Train Your Brain

  • What is cognitive training?
  • What are the different types of cognitive training?
    • Computerized, nature-based, mindfulness, music
  • Is cognitive training effective?

Module 6: Tricking Your Brain

  • What is the placebo effect?
  • What is the placebo response?
  • History and research on placebos
  • Are placebos helpful or harmful?
    • Placebo vs. nocebo
    • Placebo in research trials vs. clinical therapeutic context

Suggested Modules and/or Additions

  • Emotions and social interactions
  • Music and the brain
  • Environmental lifespan approach
  • Movement and sensation in aging