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Can You Make Yourself Smarter? Yes. Real question is, How?

A new arti­cle in The New York Times, Can You Make Your­self Smarter, pro­vides a great overview of work­ing mem­o­ry and cog­ni­tive train­ing:

- “We see atten­tion and work­ing mem­o­ry as the car­dio­vas­cu­lar func­tion of the brain,” Jaeg­gi says.“If you train your atten­tion and work­ing mem­o­ry, you increase your basic cog­ni­tive skills that help you for many dif­fer­ent com­plex tasks.”

- “Those two things, work­ing mem­o­ry and cog­ni­tive con­trol, I think, are at the heart of intel­lec­tu­al func­tion­ing,” Jonides told me when I met with him, Jaeg­gi and Buschkuehl in their base­ment office. “They are part of what dif­fer­en­ti­ates us from oth­er species. They allow us to selec­tive­ly process infor­ma­tion from the envi­ron­ment, and to use that infor­ma­tion to do all kinds of prob­lem-solv­ing and rea­son­ing.”

- “Harold Hawkins, a cog­ni­tive psy­chol­o­gist at the Office of Naval Research who over­sees most of the U.S. military’s stud­ies in the area, expressed a com­mon view. For him, the ques­tion now is not whether cog­ni­tive train­ing works but how strong­ly and how best to achieve it. ”

- “If future stud­ies con­firm the ben­e­fits of work­ing-mem­o­ry train­ing on flu­id intel­li­gence, the impli­ca­tions could be enor­mous. Might chil­dren with A.D.H.D. receive work­ing-mem­o­ry train­ing rather than stim­u­lant drugs like Rital­in? Might stu­dents in high school and col­lege do N-back train­ing rather than cram­ming for their finals? Could a jour­nal­ist like me write bet­ter arti­cles?”

Com­ment: The arti­cle fails to dis­cuss oth­er brain train­ing method­olo­gies such as med­i­ta­tion, cog­ni­tive therapy/ refram­ing and biofeed­back (the impli­ca­tion being that there is a grow­ing num­ber of tools to “make our­selves smarter” and we there­fore need to learn how to nav­i­gate and use them), and gives too much cred­it to the flawed “BBC brain train­ing” study, but it over­all pro­vides an excel­lent read.

Arti­cleCan You Make Your­self Smarter

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Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Education & Lifelong Learning, Health & Wellness

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking health and performance applications of brain science.

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