There is this elementary truth! You are only as smart as your ability to remember what you learnt and how you handle it!
Few might ask, “what about IQ ? Isn’t it supposed to say how smart I am?”
Well, your IQ is gauged essentially through your Spatial, Pattern recognition, Verbal and Analytical skills and all of these have its roots in your cortex, where everything you know is stored as memories. Apparently a memory boost can pretty much result in an IQ boost!
How great it would be if we understand and remember more of what we read and learn everyday?
How great would it be if we learn and retain new skills every day?
Easy said than done, right?
It’s not that difficult after all. Lets get to know 5 simple ways to become smart with a little scientific insight on each.
1. A good night’s sleep and a short afternoon nap!
All of us have 2 types of memories.
The long term memory [LTM] that are stored in our Cortex and
The Short term memory [STM] that are stored in our Hippocampus
This Hippocampus is like a RAM, and the Cortex is the Hard disk
The short-term memory focuses on work at hand and every time we sleep the essential memories are transferred to the Long term memory, if short-term memory fills up, your brain sometimes is able to refresh it from facts stored in long-term memory
Remember the movie 50 First dates? Where Drew Barrymore suffers from short term memory loss and forgets whatever that happens after a night’s sleep? That happens because of her faulty RAM that can’t transfer data to the hard disk instead it gets formatted every time she sleeps 😉
Recent research indicates that STM holds the key to increase overall intelligence. In a research led by Sussanne Jaeggi and Martin Buschkuehl of University of Michigan, USA, it was inferred that STM can in fact be the very foundation for intelligence than expected before. They concluded that, the more they worked on their (subject’s) STM , there was a significant increase in the fluid intelligence ( the ability to reason and solve problems Independently of the existing knowledge )
By sleeping we transfer all this intelligence into the cortex making them a Long Term Memory, a more concrete place to store and retrieve. Thus making sleep an very integral part of our intelligence.
In a 2010 study, psychology professor Mathew Walker and Co of University of California found that a mid-day nap may not just restore brainpower but also raise it. Students who took a 90 minute nap after a session that involved remembering 120 new faces, learnt ‘face –name pairs’ better than those who didn’t take a nap. It just didn’t end there. It was also inferred that there was clear deterioration in memory capacity among those who didn’t sleep.
So, a solid 7 hours sleep and a small mid-day nap top “How to be smart”
2. Drink Coffee!!
According to a recent study in Nature Neuroscience, a shot of caffeine can make you sharper. It was inferred that 2 cups of coffee can increase the electrical activity between neurons in the part of the hippocampus called CA2 . The stronger the connection the sharper you become!
3. Learn to dance
Nothing like a smart partner who can dance ;). Double your chances to get him/her say “yes” by being smart and at the same time being romantic in your moves 😀 . If nothing else , it would atleast help you become flexible ( I bet u need that 😉 )
Dancing or any kind of aerobic exercise stimulates production of BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor) that helps in the formation of new neurons and synapses that plays a vital role in learning. I would personally suggest something like salsa. A small sprout of the “cuddling hormone” should be an additional perk along with the increase in grey matter caused due to BDNF that helps in processing new information and linking bits and pieces of data!
4. Learn a new language
Cognitive scientists believe that when the brain is fluent in 2 languages, the brain circuits (cortical) that holds the languages become active and then the prefrontal cortex must step in to choose the right set of words .Like when you are fluent in Hindi and Tamil you got to choose between “Macha” and “Yaar” this predominantly contributes to the IQ building skills such as attention switching and problem solving.
5. Pay attention and delay gratification
\Years of experimentation has made neuro scientists believe that ATTENTION is the most essential part of learning. Action and strategy based games such as Age of Empires, Civilization; Space Fortress seems to improve memory and attention switching skills, resulting in enhanced multi-tasking abilities. Plus paying attention pays personally too. How else would you get to remember the name of the cute chic/ handsome hunk whom your friend introduced at a party? Or how else can you rebut unless you pay attention to what exactly is a client’s query ?
Patience plays a vital role in developing analytical and problem solving skills. In an experiment children who were able to resist a sweet placed in front of them were able to score better in a competitive exam than those who grabbed them .
The kid example doesn’t appeal? OK .. Those who resist kissing their partners when romance reaches its peak received longer and more passionate kisses from their partners (No Kidding! Trust me ! ) 😉
SO … Those were the 5 simple steps to become few shades smarter ! Are you already there?
Sources and citing : The net and RD (Sharon Begley : Newsweek)
Ram ~Knight 4ever