“If you want to stay sharp in your golden years, it’s best to get the hard yards in early — a new study has found that people with mentally demanding jobs fare better in the years after retirement.…Mental acuity and memory retention was found to be higher in retirees who had spent their careers in mentally stimulating roles, such as [Read more…] about Want to train your brain? Work as a physician, air traffic controller, financial analyst (or similar)
The words, The Agile Mind captured my attention immediately. The title conveyed energy, innovation, change, bouncing on a trampoline in my head. I knew that investigating the book would be an adventure.
As soon as the book The Agile Mind by Wilma Koutstaal was in my hands, I explored the 24-page index, looking for my favorite topic, problem-solving thinking. On page 29 I accessed a brand new take on the intuitive versus rational problem solving challenge. A central aspect of mental agility [Read more…] about Promoting Mental Agility through Cognitive Control and Mental Representation
One day, one of my kids was staring at a simple circuit diagram. It showed a battery connected to a resistor and a light bulb. He was doing a homework problem. The particular question that had him stumped asked what would happen to the current in the circuit if the resistor was replaced with another that had more resistance. He hadn’t been in class that day and had never studied electricity, and so he stared at the diagram for a few minutes without comprehension.
My son had reached what psychologists call an impasse, which is really just a fancy way of saying that he was stuck. [Read more…] about Is There a Formula for Smart Thinking?
A rare aha moment in 2011 set me chasing new problem-solving research. The study Rational Versus Intuitive Problem-Solving: How Thinking ‘Off the Beaten Path’ Can Stimulate Creativity published in Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts stung me out of a spot of intellectual arrogance. From my perspective, John Dewey’s 19th century step-wise [Read more…] about Why Agile Minds Deploy Both Rational and Intuitive Problem-Solving
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 more…] about Enhance Metacognition and Problem-Solving by Talking Out Loud to Yourself
A fascinating New York Time article on solving puzzles: Why you do it, how you do it, and what’s going on in your brain while you do it.
The appeal of puzzles goes far deeper than the dopamine-reward rush of finding a solution. The very idea of doing a crossword or a Sudoku puzzle typically shifts the brain into an open, playful state.
There are different ways to solve a puzzle: an analytical way of trial and errors and an “insight” or creative way. [Read more…] about Your brain on puzzles: Insights come with a wider focus of attention.