Increase your intelligence !

This is what some electronic games promise.

A very recent article in Scientific American (by Andrea Kuszewski) says it doesn’t work and recommands in the contrary to just do some efforts.

As an epigraph a quote from Einstein (Albert) :   “”One should not pursue goals that are easily achieved. One must develop an instinct for what one can just barely achieve through one’s greatest efforts.”

The article from Scientific American refers to a study published in 2008 :  “Improving Fluid Intelligence with Training on Working Memoryby S.M. Jaeggi, M. Buschkuehl, J. Jonides, W.J. Perrig

Conclusions of the study :

1. Fluid intelligence is trainable.

2. The training and subsequent gains are dose-dependent—meaning, the more you train, the more you gain.

3. Anyone can increase their cognitive ability, no matter what your starting point is.

4. The effect can be gained by training on tasks that don’t resemble the test questions.

Andrea Kuszewski,  suggests some day to day practical application of these conclusions. It consists in working on 5 axis :

1. Seek novelty : Novelty […] triggers dopamine […] which not only kicks motivation into high gear, but it stimulates neurogenesis—the creation of new neurons—and prepares your brain for learning. All you need to do is feed the hunger.”

Practically : “Always look to new activities to engage your mind—expand your cognitive horizons. Learn an instrument. Take an art class. Go to a museum. Read about a new area of science. Be a knowledge junkie.”

2. Challenge yourself : “When I speak of “brain training games”, I’m referring to the memorization and fluency-type games, intended to increase your speed of processing, etc, such as Sudoku, […]  Individual brain training games don’t make you smarter—they make you more proficient at the brain training games.

Studies report : “after training for several weeks on the game Tetris, the subjects experienced an increase in cortical thickness, as well as an increase in cortical activitydecline in both cortical thickness, as well as the amount of glucose used during that task. However, […] their skill did not decrease […] In order to keep your brain making new connections and keeping them active, you need to keep moving on to another challenging activity as soon as you reach the point of mastery in the one you are engaging in.”

3. Think creatively : Creative thinking is the kingdom of divergent thinking ! But it is also the result of BOTH right and left hemispheres put at work.

4. Do things the hard way : As an example Kuszewski suggests to forget using GPS when you drive, even if you may get lost and loose time… in the beginning : “I began to actually get a sense of where things in Boston were, using logic and memory, not GPS. […] Lay off the GPS once in a while, and do your spatial and problem-solving skills a favor. Keep it handy, but try navigating naked first. Your brain will thank you.

5. Networking : Simply said : collective intelligence creates smarter ideas.

Regardless of any possible intellectual inhibition (which may alas occur during childhood and remain in adulthood) the first 4 working axes are quite common for gifted ones : always on the edge (more or less consciously as so many information permanently flow in), who need to make their brain run, who can’t help thinking their own way (i.e. generally speaking never as “others” do), who know so well how “to think complex instead of thinking simply”.

However networking is a key working axis for introverted and often paranos ones who more easily flirt with social withdrawal than with social events… and who are so much used to getting out from meetings whether upset/ exhausted by how slow “others” are, or exhausted / upset from not being understood.

Anyhow… generally speaking… Excepted for improving learning / cognitive skills in children, Why Increase your intelligence ?…  What for ? … Because of an old fanstasm which drives to think that the cleverer the happier ?

I want to remain positive. Some study conclusions (see my post 100th anniversary of Women ‘s Day) show that old age + good level of intellectual abilities makes seniors feel more comfortable.

As a conclusion : body and brain = same fitness training. But not to such an extent that one is obsessed with.

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