Sunday, July 18, 2010

Power to the brain!

Brain is amazing. It is hard to imagine a more complex and powerful mechanism on the planet. The sheer amount of neuron connections is approaching zillions. Even the smartest people on this planet (read: "geniuses") use only a pitiful 10% of its full capacity. While it is difficult to train yourself to become the next Einstein or Curie, there are ways to improve your mental processes, including speed of reaction, memory and other functions.

First, you can have your exercise routine. Have you noticed that the more Sudoku you solve, the easier it gets? It is because your brain identifies certain patters and it is easier each time to "see" the bigger picture. What if you do the same trying to multiply, divide, subtract, add, raise to power, extract a square (cubic???) root, etc? You will get better and better at it, I promise!

Secondly, there is a plenitude of reading material on exercises for your brain - any search on the keywords such as "brain exercise", "mind training" and similar will return you dozens of hits at

Thirdly, you can try specialized programs targeted at enhancing your mental capacity and agility. I would only mention two:

  • Mind Gym: it is a series of books (now also supplemented with many exercises online), which gives you the basic theoretical explanation of specific mental processes (i.e. how your brain works) and suggest certain exercises that you can do. Most of them are highly experiential, so it is far from sitting at home with a pencil and a sheet of paper, but rather challenging: going out into the field and trying it off on your own skin.
  • the best "brain training" software I have seen so far. Fun computer games categorized into several broad groups (e.g. memory, attention, speed, spacial orientation, etc.) are automatically adjusted to your level, hence you will never be complacent: the challenge will be just right. Besides, after an assessment the program will recommend a training program for you, and you will be able to track your performance over a period of time. It is such a fun feeling to see yourself getting better!
Without sounding too commercial, I urge everybody to invest into personal development. Otherwise, who knows... the brain might just rust :)

Just for the weekend, here are some of famous optical illusions to muse over when there is nothing to do :)

(click on the pictures to enlarge them)

Do you see four people?

Do you see a face? Or a word "liar?                     

Do you see the word "LIFT"?

(women are able to spot the word "LIFT" easily; men find it difficult to see it)

How many horses in this picture? 
The Answer is 7. (if you see more than 5 you are smarter than I am)

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