Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Book review of Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined

Ungifted_KaufmanJust a cou­ple weeks ago I had a dis­cus­sion with sev­eral psy­chol­o­gists and neu­rol­o­gists who seemed to share the opin­ion that “brain fit­ness” is a mean­ing­less con­cept and pur­suit. On the one hand, they thought, intel­li­gence is a fixed trait and no inter­ven­tion has shown so far to reli­ably increase it. On the other hand, noth­ing has been shown to pre­vent the pathol­ogy of Alzheimer’s Dis­ease. Accord­ing to this mindset…why bother?

Well, what if such men­tal frame­work was wrong or, worse, mis­lead­ing? Read the rest of this entry »

Are we intelligent about developing human intelligence?

Ungifted_KaufmanWhen it comes to our under­stand­ing of human intel­li­gence, for too long, there has been a mis­match between the­ory and prac­tice. The­o­ret­i­cally, the two main threads run­ning through def­i­n­i­tions of intel­li­gence have been (a) adap­ta­tion to the envi­ron­ment, and (b) the cog­ni­tive, affec­tive, and voli­tional char­ac­ter­is­tics that enable that adap­ta­tion. Prac­ti­cally, IQ tests mea­sure an impor­tant but lim­ited slice of intel­lec­tual func­tion­ing in a very lim­ited test­ing envi­ron­ment. Why such a disconnect?

Intel­li­gence tests were born out of neces­sity. Read the rest of this entry »

Is the Internet making us dumber? (Nope, just different)

Is the Inter­net Really Mak­ing Us Dumber? (Der Spiegel):

In Ger­many, scores increase by about 3 IQ points each decade. In fact, the tests have to be adjusted every few years to keep up. The test cur­rently used for chil­dren is called the WISC-IV. A per­son claim­ing to have an IQ of 130 needs to spec­ify which test gen­er­ated that result: WISC-III? WISC-IV? The aston­ish­ing upward trend Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Spa Trend: Travel for Mental Fitness

Inter­est­ing trend mini-report pre­pared by Inter­Con­ti­nen­tal Hotels Group, quot­ing Sharp­Brains data. Trends that will influ­ence 2012 (IHG press release):

BRAIN SPA: The desire to learn more will influ­ence des­ti­na­tion deci­sions. Brain Spa looks at our grow­ing appetite to expand and keep our intel­lect in good health – in fact we are pre­pared to travel for it. Forbes has tipped the mar­ket for goods and ser­vices that claim to enhance IQ as the next tril­lion dol­lar indus­try and Brain Fit­ness soft­ware is already worth $265 mil­lion in the US. The mar­ket for goods and ser­vices respond­ing to the new demand for men­tal stim­u­la­tion is expected to grow between $1 bil­lion to $5 bil­lion by 2015.”

To Learn More:

Top 40 Brain Fitness & Training Questions/ Course Registration Ends this Sunday

Let us share below a list of 40 com­mon brain fit­ness, brain health, brain train­ing ques­tions that we will make sure to address dur­ing the upcom­ing online course, How to Be Your Own Brain Fit­ness Coach in 2012 (starts March 7th). The ques­tions are sequenced by their approx­i­mate order of appear­ance in the syl­labus. We look for­ward to an engag­ing, inter­ac­tive and valu­able expe­ri­ence! ***Please remem­ber that course reg­is­tra­tion ends on Sun­day, March 4th.***

Top 40 Brain Fit­ness & Train­ing Questions

  1. How can one define brain fitness
  2. What is link between stress, focus and memory
  3. Does “brain age” even exist
  4. How to enhance over­all men­tal pro­duc­tiv­ity, vs just IQ
  5. Is there some “ceil­ing” to my improve­ment or can I always try more things
  6. How brain func­tions evolve with age. What improves, what declines, what should I be pay­ing atten­tion to Read the rest of this entry »

Enhance Metacognition and Problem-Solving by Talking Out Loud to Yourself

The MC at the Uni­ver­sity of Michigan’s reunion din­ner encour­aged audi­ence mem­bers to reveal the most sig­nif­i­cant take-away from their under­grad­u­ate nurs­ing edu­ca­tion. The great­est ben­e­fit was quickly clear to me — problem-solving think­ing. Mem­ory pro­duced a mind video: a short, dark-haired, nurs­ing instruc­tor lec­tur­ing a small group of first year stu­dents in an empty patient room. “Don’t mem­o­rize the steps of ster­ile tech­nique. Use a problem-solving think­ing process.” She described the sequen­tial, cycli­cal process: define the prob­lem, gather infor­ma­tion, develop a solu­tion strat­egy, allo­cate resources, mon­i­tor progress, and eval­u­ate the solu­tion. Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Brain changes seen in cabbies who take ‘The Knowledge’

Brain changes seen in cab­bies who take ‘The Knowl­edge (BBC Health):

The struc­ture of a Lon­don taxi driver’s brain changes dur­ing the gru­el­ing process of learn­ing the quick­est way around the cap­i­tal, scans reveal. Dozens of trainee dri­vers had MRI scans before and after they acquired “The Knowl­edge”, mem­o­riz­ing hun­dreds of jour­neys and street names.

The Uni­ver­sity Col­lege Lon­don team, writ­ing in Cur­rent Biol­ogy, found brain parts linked to mem­ory grew big­ger. Read the rest of this entry »

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