The Science Behind MAP Training

The MAP Training brain fitness program was inspired by the discovery of new neurons in the adult brain -- a process known as neurogenesis. 20 years ago, Dr. Shors and her collaborator Dr. Gould discovered that mental training with learning can increase the survival of new neurons in the hippocampus -- which is a part of the brain used for learning. We went on to show that these new cells were actually used for learning. Around the same time, other neuroscientists discovered that physical training with aerobic exercise can increase the number of new neurons in the hippocampus. MAP Training is simply the combination of Mental And Physical Training --- i.e. MAP-- done together to enhance brain health.

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MAP Training combines mental training with meditation and physical training with aerobic exercise. People have been training their brains with meditation for thousands of years, and have been exercising for more years than that (often not by choice!). Thousands of studies indicate that one or the other is good for the brain and body. But until now, no one had put them together into one intervention.

We don't exactly know why MAP Training works so well. We do know that it does work. It decreases depression and ruminating thoughts, while increasing synchronized brain activity. It can reduce anxiety and oxygen consumption in the body. And it can help women recover from trauma memories associated with sexual violence.**

People from all around the world are MAP Training their brains —groups in Maine and Maryland and Wyoming and New York City and even Hungary—thanks to the media spreading the word. People with depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and every day stress have been telling us the good news—MAP Training makes them feel good about who they are. And we have scientific data to support what they are saying.


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Findings Published in Scientific Journals
  • NEW: Shors, T. J., Chang, H. Y. M., Millon, E. M. (2018). MAP Training My Brain™: Meditation plus aerobic exercise lessens trauma more than either activity alone. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 12:211. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2018.00211
    Link to article.
  • Shors, T. J., Olson, R. L., Bates, M. E., Selby, E. A., & Alderman, B. L. (2014). Mental and Physical (MAP) Training: a neurogenesis-inspired intervention that enhances health in humans. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 115: 3–9. doi:10.1016/j.nlm.2014.08.012
    Link to article. [PDF]
  • Alderman, B. L., Olson, R. L., Brush, C. J., & Shors, T. J. (2016). MAP training: combining meditation and aerobic exercise reduces depression and rumination while enhancing synchronized brain activity. Translational Psychiatry, 6(2), e726. doi: 10.1038/tp.2015.225.
    Link to article.
  • Curlik D., & Shors, T.J. (2013). Training your brain: Do mental and physical (MAP) training enhance cognition through the process of neurogenesis in the hippocampus? Neuropharmacology, 64, 506-514. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2012.07.027.
    Link to article. [PDF]