Dr-Mark-Ashton-SmithI was awarded a joint Ph.D. in cognitive psychology and neuroscience from the Carnegie Mellon and University of Pittsburgh Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC).  I have held Lecturer/Assistant Professor posts in the Experimental Psychology Department at the University of Cambridge and Bilkent University, Department of Psychology. I am the founder and director of IQ MindwareMindware Lab and HRP Lab.  I do independent research and theoretical work and R&D in the areas of cognitive interventions for brain health, resilience, performance and creativity. I currently divide time between Cornwall and Cambridge in the UK.

Recent Blog Posts

External and Internal Mindsets in Physical and Mental Training

An 8 mile mindful run on a grey and misty day. Enjoyed the focus of being in the moment. Re-focused on my breath when I found it getting harder and my mind wandering. Relaxed shoulders down. Noticed pelvis, spine, shoulder and head position. Enjoyed the cool air, the sea, blossom and spring flowers. Clocked up 29 miles running time since Sunday.Feeling strong.😎 ” – Annie Anderson


Last week two articles on a similar theme came through my Facebook feed which got me thinking about a deep principle in any kind of training, whether for the mind or the body.


Research Ethics For Computerized Cognitive Training Interventions

Stanford Center for Longevity and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, in Berlin, released “A Consensus on the Brain-Training Industry From the Scientific Community,” (2013) a statement objecting “to the claim that brain games offer consumers a scientifically grounded avenue to reduce or reverse cognitive decline.”

70 psychology, neuroscience, and gerontology professors in the area signed this letter.

The general conclusion was:

“Some of the initial results are promising and make further research highly desirable. However, at present, these findings do not provide a sound basis for the claims made by commercial companies selling brain games. ….The promise of a magic bullet detracts from the best evidence to date, which is that cognitive health in old age reflects the long-term effects of healthy, engaged lifestyles. ”


Structural Core of the Cerebral Cortex and Consciousness

The precuneus is part of a recently evolved neural network subserving self-awareness and conscious experience. In association with prefrontal cortices, this system underlies not just conscious awareness but awareness of agency – in action and in thought

Adaptation to Nutritional Ketosis Experiment


Experimenting with Keto-Adaptation on a Vegetarian Ketogenic Diet

In this blog post, I outline a strategy for my transition to becoming adapted to nutritional ketosis  adoptng a primarily vegetarian ketogenic diet with no more than 30% saturated fats to achieve this. Ketosis is a metabolic state where most of the body’s energy supply comes from ketone bodies in the blood, in contrast to a state of glycolysis where blood glucose provides most of the energy. It is characterised by serum concentrations of ketone bodies over 0.5 millimolar with low and stable levels of insulin and blood glucose – which can be achieved by eating a ketogenic diet  – low in carbohydrate, moderate in protein, high in fat (as shown in this pie chart).


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