Improve Mind Power
It appears we can now improve mind power in a number of different ways.
One research paper published late in 2008 describes how using the dual n back task increases IQ and fluid intelligence, and the IMPACT study says that 40 hours of training using the Posit Science Brain Fitness Tool helps seniors recover about ten years of memory capacity.
Not only do these two tools train the particular skills being tested but they generalize to other areas of our lives.
"The IMPACT study is the largest study ever of a brain fitness program that is available to the public and was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society in April, 2009.
"Zimman also reported on newly released follow-up study data that tracked participants for three months after the training. He said that training benefits lasted 90-days out, with some lessening of gains over time – suggesting that ongoing training would be even more beneficial."
"The changes we saw in the experimental group were remarkable - and significantly larger than the gains in the control group," said Elizabeth Zelinski, PhD, the lead investigator from USC. "From a researcher's point of view, this was very impressive because people got better at the tasks trained, those improvements generalized to standardized measures of memory and people noticed improvements in their lives. What this means is that cognitive decline is no longer an inevitable part of aging. Doing properly designed cognitive activities can enhance our abilities as we age."
Properly Designed Cognitive Activities
What does it mean to when the researcher says "properly designed cognitive activities"?
It means that the challenge must be doable. If I want to improve my mind power by trying to build a particle accelerator in my basement, I will fail.
Besides my basement being too small, I do not know and will never know all the complexities of that kind of physics.
But I can read a book about building a tool like a particle accelerator, and move through it page by page, learning a bit with each page.
Practice with computerized brain fitness programs for improved mind power needs to provide challenge and feedback that allows me to succeed about 80% of the time. The program needs to grow with me, so the challenge needs to incrementally increase with my successes, until my brain reaches its upper limit of neuroplasticity and neurogenesis, and then I do a maintenance program for sustained improved mind power. Improved mind power hinges on other factors, including nutrition, sleep, stress management, and most importantly physical exercise.
For an excellent, no-nonsense, practical view of the factors impacting improving mind power, purchase Simon Evans, Ph.D. and Paul Burghardt's e-book,
Brainfit for Life.
Please note they thoroughly discuss the role of omega 3 fatty acids, and offer some thoughts on diet and supplementation. Here is a link to a wonderful omega 3 supplement.
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