3 Feel In Control

Stimulate the tactile pathways involved in the routines of steering, shifting, and signaling by prodding your brain with new materials. (It's important that the new textures be on the controls, because that gives the new sensory input importance—you need to drive accurately and skillfully, so you pay attention to anything involved in that process.) Improvise by attaching (with double-stick tape or Velcro) different textures (various grades of sandpaper, for example) to the steering wheel or gear shift. Or buy a few inexpensive steering wheel covers with unusual textures—raised grips, terry cloth, textured vinyl—and use a different one each week.

•Consider swapping cars with a friend who has a very different kind of car (a stick-shift, van, or sport utility vehicle, for example).

•If you're usually the driver, switch and ride in the backseat. Your perspective on the drive will be totally different.

^ Different textures produce patterns of activity in the somatosensory cortex ofyour brain (that's why you can tell them apart). But after repeated exposure to the same texture, your brain barelypays attention. Whenyou change these textures, drivingfeels different—and/our brain can no longer use familiar assumptions for controlling the car. In addition, using different textures during an activity like driving can activate other association networks in a new context. You might end up describing the morning commute as "rough, "not because the traffic was bad, but because that was the tactile stimulus you experienced during the drive.

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