5 Ways to Increase Your Cognitive Potential:
1) Seek Novelty. Openness to new activities correlates with IQ, because those individuals are constantly seeking new information, new activities to engage in, new things to learn, and new experiences.
2) Challenge Yourself. Brain games like Sudoku don't work to increase cognitive potential if you keep playing them. You play them, learn how the game works, then move onto a new challenge.
3) Think Creatively. This doesn't mean "thinking with the right side of your brain." It means using both halves of your brain to make remote associations between ideas and switching back and forth between conventional and unconventional thinking (cognitive flexibility) to generate original ideas appropriate to the activity you are doing. Like thinking both inside and outside the box when trying to solve a problem.
4) Do Things the Hard Way. GPS as an example. You may use GPS because you have a poor sense of direction. Using GPS will make it worse because you aren't giving your brain a chance to learn and build its ability to navigate. Same thing with auto-correct/spell check. You can't spell anymore because you rely on software to fix your mistakes.
5) Network. Whether on social media or in person, this gives you exposure to different ideas and environments that you otherwise wouldn't be exposed to. It allows you opportunities to practice the previous 4 objectives. Knowing more people gives you the chance to tap into more collective knowledge and experience.
On the other hand, being able to have lots of sexual partners implies being able to convince lots of people you're worth having sex with (this is one of the two main goals which developed human intelligence in the first place, the other being killing people who were doing the first too effectively), and taking a lot of psychoactive drugs I think also implies a sort of mental fortitude (it's very difficult to habitually take strong psychedelics without having a solid grasp on reality and how to adjust your actions to account for the change in perspective, the people who can't do this but enjoy psychedelics anyway aren't who anyone is thinking of when they say intelligent people use psychedelics).
I listen to mostly metal, so you can trust what I say [https://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2007/mar/21/whym...]
Not sure if it's scientifically correct, though.
Playing a sport, on a team involves so many dynamics that just don't exist when thinking in a classical intellectual sense whilst writing code, for example.
Living in a country for an extended period wherein the prevailing language and culture is not your own ... this can be really quite mind altering.
I think that the above correlation, pulled from the article maybe doesn't quite capture it. They basically state basically that 'novelty keeps you interested and motivated', I suspect there might be more than that.
Though obviously it's hard to discern since we don't really have a true model for brain functions and cognition.
If you can use your social intelligence to get your bosses peers to respect him more, I can assure you he/she will approve of that.
A large corporate body is a political entity, the product is only 30% of it. Call on your EI Jedi Powers. Sadly, most of them are kind of from the dark, or maybe 'grey' side, but hey.
But yes, large corporations usually have some kind of leverage or de-facto monopoly, and any significant change can risk the goose that lays the golden egg. So, they can be systematically averse to change, for good reason.
Disruptors value change because from a position of little power in a static system, it's the only way to gain power. But at some point, disruption becomes more of a risk than an opportunity.
Large consumer and retail banks are probably the best example of this.
> Yes, you’re reading that chart correctly. The group that took a placebo and worked out only gained slightly more strength than the group that took testosterone and sat on the couch for 10 weeks. The group that took testosterone without exercise gained just as much, if not more, muscle mass than the people taking a placebo and actually working out.
Any suggestions on how to make this novel or creative? I think I can find ways to activate the other 3
Beyond that, practicing thinking in different ways really helps your brain develop. One thing that most people neglect is geometric/mechanical intelligence. Get some 3D puzzles, and once you get really good at them, start building simple machines. If you never got good at math, trying to pick up some advanced mathematics can be a good exercise as well.
 - http://nautil.us/issue/35/boundaries/the-paradox-of-the-elep...
"A gram of brain tissue takes 20 times more energy to grow and maintain than a gram of tissue from the kidney, heart, or liver"
(Obviously coordination and proprioception are valuable, but people who value them likely don't need convincing of the merits of exercise!)
In addition to physical exercise, the two other things the author neglects to mention (though it might not be as relevant for her population, comprised of children) are diet and stress relief.
Watch Kobe or LeBron on the court. There is an incredible awareness of the shifting context of the game and the available moves. In the greatest athletes it is faster and more fluid than in most athletes.
It's a constantly shifting analytical mode that leans heavily on training and instinct, but is full of novelty. Consider that opponents spend weeks watching tape in hopes of understanding how to anticipate what Kobe will do.
In terms of physical metrics (size, speed, etc.) professional athletes are pretty close to average. I think it is a combination of intellect and general desire to win that makes some people become great athletes.
Because of what I like to call Cartesian Blindness (viewing the world through the mind/body duality) we assume it's simply a matter of great athletes having superior muscle fibers, etc.
David Epstein's "The Sports Gene" covers this topic with some depth.
Many people are brilliant, talented, and have a strong desire to win but lack the physical aptitude to support that at elite levels of play.
The examples in the "Sports Gene" are mostly about the kind of genetics that allow some to run micro to milliseconds faster than others, oxygenate slightly better, and so on. These things might help in the olympics where such minor distinctions matter but are certainly not a key or deciding factor in many sports.
Totally, true, but the number of people who are good at professional football is a very tiny subset of the people who can run a 4.4 40.
I also don't think the stereotype is accurate. We tend to confuse interest in pursuits that are perceived as intellectual with actual intelligence.
You might be surprised to learn that there is a negative correlation between obesity and IQ.
The basic idea is that while you are learning to do challenging gymnastic (or other physical) skills, the brain is releasing growth hormones to learn the skill. But they aren't targeted. It's hard to grow the part of the brain that does a cartwheel on a balance beam without also growing the part of the brain that does calculus.
What kind of physical activity do you think can be done in this type of scenario?
I wouldn't start with group classes, though: talk with your physical therapist (are you doing PT to help the recovery?) about appropriate exercises, and maybe sign up for a few introductory private pilates classes. Be sure to inform the instructor about the limitations you have.
Field stripping and reassembling guns is a good practical entry to mechanics. Again, after you've done it a few times it doesn't really teach you anything new, but the blindfold trick would work well here too.
Lego robots are another good basic intro into mechanical intelligence. You can graduate from them to DIY robotics kits.
One of my clients has 2 projects in durandal that I've picked up. No-one uses it any more, the documentation sucks ass, there's sod all on SO, the original devs had only done data access pages, super easy, not the data editing pages, absolute nightmare, so you can't even copy what they did before.
It's a bloody nightmare to work in. Pages which would take me an hour or two in an older tech are taking me days in this half-baked SPA.
I'm not on the sidelines because I'm fretting mate, I'm on the sidelines because the messes left behind are a fucking nightmare for those afterwards and an absolute disgrace to the profession.
It feels like the framework switchers rip off their clients by giving them code in an untested tech, the code is almost instantly obsolete while claiming to be cutting edge, and then run away when the flaws in the new framework they've chosen becomes obvious and they can't handle it and the complexity is too much to deal with and they run off and start a new project in the latest koolaid tech, pretending it's not history repeating itself, ad nauseum.
Or perhaps, not everyone on the sideline is a Luddite and not everyone jumping from js framework to js framework each year has chronic ADHD that can't see a project through.
..or however long until the concept in question becomes irrelevant..
This is pretty much euphoric for me. The best thing is to overcome obstacles by finally realizing how to reason about something new.
And when you define intelligence this way, it turns out that the best way to increase your intelligence is to practice learning new things.
But what if you defined intelligence as depth of insight instead? It would seem that were one to define it that way, dropping new skills as soon as the novelty wears off would be counterproductive.
This article criticizes previous methods for lacking enduring effect, but does not claim enduring improvement for any of the promoted methods (including for the boy with PDD-NOS, and dual n-back) nor revisit the issue. On the contrary, it later claims that on-going training is required. This is not "lasting change".
This article is written enthusiastically rather than scientifically. It reminds me of "In Search of Excellence", that had sensible, intuitively appealing advice, but whose supporting data turned out to be fabricated.
Also, quoting Einstein is a red flag. He wasn't a polymath (unless you count several areas of theoretical physics as wide learning).
Still, it's interesting, and what more can you expect from popsci Scientific American?
> In order to [generate novel ideas], you need both right and left hemispheres working in conjunction with each other.
The simplistic idea of the hemispheres being different types of thinking, or that originality requires them "working together", is not supported.
In fact very interesting things happen when the two hemispheres are separated, but it isn't something to do with the topic of the article.
> Efficiency is not your friend when it comes to cognitive growth. In order to keep your brain making new connections and keeping them active, you need to keep moving on to another challenging activity
Of course efficiency is not your friend if your goal is apparent growth and increased activity in the brain. But that's not the goal. The goal is to be effective. An effective brain is using less resources because it needs less. A chess master can consider fewer moves than a novice, for example.
Unless we had evidence that any brain growth is good for general intelligence in some way. We don't. Taxi drivers have growth in areas responsible for mapping and spatial location, for example, but no evidence suggests that makes them better at anything else.
In any case, the advice provided is badly justified, but still valid. The 5 principles are just common sense - which is why the author can find people like Einstein suggesting them many decades ago.
While I think the evidence available today had muddied the water relative to what people thought after Jaeggi was first published, not all avenues have been covered (e.g. do people in knowledge I industries who are more motivated to increase iq try harder and as a result achieve better results). In my opinion, if you can spare the time, there's little to be lost from trying n back training. If it does work for you, the upside is tremendous. Anecdotally I tried it and came up with novel solutions to problems I hadn't previously cracked within a few months of training.
However, for some reasons unknown, I have excellent working memory, which allows me to perform feats. Multi-choice exams? Can prepare for anything in few hours. Learn Scala (and another 5-6 programming languages) in a few months? Easy! I don't use password managers, as I remember all my long passwords. And credit card numbers. And phone numbers. This multiplies my intelligence quite significantly.
If only I could be consistently productive...
What you describe is long-term memory (everything beyond a few seconds is considered long-term).
Edit: Too slow. Some more justification: Very broadly, one hypothesis is that working/short term memory is stored in the currently present activity patterns of neurons, which fade/decorelate after a few secodns. Anything longer is thought to be stored in the weights of the synapses between neurons (there are alternative theories but I like this one).
A.) Minimize visual stimuli in your work area. Get everything off your desk, and shove your face in a corner. (I've turned my desk to face away from the hallway.)
B.) Take notes as you work. I will write 15 minutes of code, take a note on what I'm doing, then get (purposefully) distracted for a minute or two. When I come back to my work, I can look at my note to see what I was doing and pick back up where I left off. It really minimizes the impact of distraction on my work. You can start out with lower chunks of "productive" time if you want. Practicing focus helps you to build up amount of time you can focus. Relevant talk on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlU-zDU6aQ0
> I am not super-intelligent, I have ADD, and generally consider myself to be lazy and distraction-prone.
I'd say that about myself
> However, for some reasons unknown, I have excellent working memory, which allows me to perform feats. Multi-choice exams? Can prepare for anything in few hours. Learn Scala (and another 5-6 programming languages) in a few months? Easy! I don't use password managers, as I remember all my long passwords. And credit card numbers. And phone numbers. This multiplies my intelligence quite significantly.
And I'd say I'm the opposite here. My memory is terrible. Sure, I can study short term for a subject, but it goes away pretty quickly. And I have to study. If I want to "just remember" something in day-to-day life, I have to write it down and reference it later, or I'll forget.
Therapeutic dose of Adderall is way smaller than "recreational" doses of amphetamine. It has to be carefully calibrated by therapist. Higher doses will lead to headaches and, paradoxically, tiredness and drowsiness — not stimulation.
False. You're right in that it won't help them very much -- specifically because taking overdoses of amphetamines tends to lead to things like insomnia, tachycardia/dehydration, and mania/psychosis.
1. Seek Novelty
2. Challenge Yourself
3. Think Creatively
4. Do Things The Hard Way
It's mostly about increasing the size of your filter bubble.
I sleep 7 hours, I'm at work/commuting 11 hours. That leaves me with 30 hours on weekdays to divide however I please (obviously there are other basic sunk costs like basic hygiene and eating). I've found that once I quantify the time I have in life, it's a lot easier to notice when it's available and be productive with it. I'm really not even one of those super motivated people. I just like to be conscientious of my free time.
That said, I do have a kid, and while he definitely represents a huge draw on my time and attention, I still manage to make and maintain technical connections outside of work.
Depending on circumstances, "we have kids of a similar age and both work in tech" is an easy instant connection.
Mastery may be too strong of a word here but the intention is definitely clear. It seems to me that certain activities are more suited to naturally force novelty on someone. Musicianship comes to mind, as when one finishes learning a piece, they can advance to a more challenging one, which would be considered 'novel'.
1. It is correlated with short term memory.
2. It is anti-correlated with experience. "Efficiency is not your friend."
3. Technology affecting cognition (think of a map or a calculator) acts as a crutch to reduce the required intelligence for an activity. Just like physical technology.
4. Intelligence is correlated with social skills.
It might also be important to play differently challenging games (#1), e.g. DotA2 + Europa Universalis 4 + CS:GO will give you a much wider spectrum of brain training than going through the japanese RPG catalog.
That said, constantly seeking novelty is not good for your grit score, which seems to be a better predictor for 'success' than intelligence.
I'd love to see more study in this - at age 15 (whilst heavily medicated) I had the social skills of a 9 year old, generally because of the lag of having to find processes that worked for me where neurotypical kids had a naturally good environment to learn these things. Since striking out and finding my own path I've grown leaps and bounds and many people I respect as having good social skills and emotional intelligence call me charismatic.
My hypothesis is that autistic kids /require/ a rational framework with which to work in dynamic situations, but while young do not have enough well-developed/healthy cognitive maps or experience to achieve a workable one until later. Couple that with low expectations and special treatment - necessary to stave off active pain but eventually turning into a crutch - had I stayed on medication/done what the doctors/teachers/parent said I have no doubt I would probably be on some sort of disability or at the very least not have the skillsets that have given me success today.
All that said, I'm certainly a firm believer of being able to grow cognitively at any age. There's just a hell of a lot of inertia that is very easy to get into - habits die very very hard and require a lot of effort to overcome. When you don't have the ability to do a hard reset and move away, get out of the space you're in it gets harder.
Yet so many here are taking the article as fact.
I just have to avoid using "Google" and "StackOverflow" to parallel the author's experience of travelling in Boston without GPS, but I don't think I'm ready for that yet.
This line gets to me because it paints a neuroscientist in an unqualified light. This kind of implicit trust breeds pseudoscience through inflated egos.
Brain training games don't boost IQ http://www.vox.com/2016/6/22/11993078/brain-training-games-d...
> I'm going to shatter some of that stuff you've previously heard about brain training games. Here goes: They don't work. Individual brain training games don't make you smarter—they make you more proficient at the brain training games.
Is there anyone else that doesn't get this reaction?
I usually just feel tired and then ennui sets in.
I've been repeatedly frustrated by efforts to learn new languages, and usually let my attempts fade off. Without a clear motivation for learning the language other than to learn it it's hard to maintain the effort. (This has changed recently with my attempt to relearn Spanish, I was almost fluent 18 years ago and now have a good reason to regain and maintain it.)
So what sort of novel activities have left you feeling tired?
We detached this comment from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12008350 and marked it off-topic.
Just like everyone else on the internet.
Source: When I was in high school, I got a look at my permanent record. I had a measured IQ of 150 in the 4th grade and 138 in the 6th.
Extending the plot out to infinity, I should be well into the negative numbers now.
You'd throw out the entire education system in order to do that, but would it mean that children would have higher IQ as adults?
tldr; if by modern standards we were cruel to children could we maintain high IQ levels?
I'm reminded of Dr Spock as a child in the 'education pits' in that new Star Trek movie ;-)
Now I'm surrounded by people stuck in their ways that ignore everything that challenges their view and I have to say that is even more frustrating.
Sigh... I need surround myself with more interesting people.