Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Think Positive, and You Will Get Smarter?

Wired Magazine with some advice for how to set your brain free:
Learning new things actually strengthens your brain — especially when you believe you can learn new things. It's a virtuous circle: When you think you're getting smarter, you study harder, making more nerve-cell connections, which in turn makes you ... smarter. This effect shows up consistently among experimental subjects, from seventh graders to college students to businesspeople.

According to studies carried out by Stanford University psychology professor Carol Dweck and others, volunteers with a so-called growth mindset about learning ("persist in the face of setbacks") have more brain plasticity. In other words, their noggins are more adaptable. They exhibit increases in cognitive performance compared with those who have a so-called fixed mindset ("get defensive or give up easily"). "Many people believe they have a fixed level of intelligence, and that's that," Dweck says. "The cure is to change the mindset." Certain that we're wrong? Enjoy stupidity!
The New York Times also has an article on Dweck's research:

“Society is obsessed with the idea of talent and genius and people who are ‘naturals’ with innate ability,” says Ms. Dweck, who is known for research that crosses the boundaries of personal, social and developmental psychology.

“People who believe in the power of talent tend not to fulfill their potential because they’re so concerned with looking smart and not making mistakes. But people who believe that talent can be developed are the ones who really push, stretch, confront their own mistakes and learn from them.”

In this case, nurture wins out over nature just about every time.

Here are 12 Hacks that will amp up your brainpower:
  1. Distract Yourself
  2. Caffeinate With Care
  3. Choose Impressive Information
  4. Think Positive
  5. Do the Right Drugs
  6. Juice Your IQ Score
  7. Know Your Brain
  8. Don't Panic
  9. Embrace Chaos
  10. Get Visual
  11. Exercise Wisely
  12. Slow Down

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