What Do You Mean by “Cognitive Capacity?”
We’ve been encountering the term “cognitive capacity” more and more often since we started to make the distinction between “cognitive ability” and “cognitive capacity” a few years ago. The reason this distinction is important is that every individual is born with the ability to develop their cognitive skills . Cognitive capacity is different; it refers to how well those cognitive skills have actually been developed.
Dr. Olenka Bilash , at the University of Alberta, defines cognitive capacity as “the total amount of information the brain is capable of retaining at any particular moment.” She gives the example of attention and points out that different activities take up different amounts of our brain’s attention capacity.
This is a useful definition because it explains how our cognitive capacity can be sufficient for the tasks we are confronted with at any given point in time or that the demands of our environment can overwhelm that capacity. The term used for the demands being placed on our cognitive capacity at any given point in time is “cognitive load.”
These terms are not as well understood as they need to be. For example, in a webinar hosted by Edweb named “ Lies the System Teaches School Leaders about Struggling Readers ”, the presenter asserted that one of the lies our education system perpetuates is that “Struggling readers have a lower cognitive capacity than typical readers do.” While this is a “lie” in her opinion, the statement is actually true, at least for the majority of struggling readers.
The presenter additionally provided additional “evidence” in showing images of the brains of struggling readers and non-struggling readers, claiming that they are no different than one another.
The brains of struggling readers are often, in fact, very different than the brains of adept readers, including the strength of the pathway that connects the parts of our brains used for decoding and for speech production, but also in the myriad other cognitive skills that are necessary for reading.
Students may struggle with different aspects of reading. Some students struggle with decoding, that is, correctly pronouncing and recognizing a word; this can involve sounding words out or recognizing sight words. Some students can decode words, and may even read out loud with reasonable fluency, but lack comprehension. Difficulty comprehending and retaining information that has been read is experienced by most struggling readers.
What is important to recognize is that d ecoding and comprehension are complex processes, involving multiple cognitive skills , including the cognitive skills called executive functions. And these skills must work together in an organized and integrated way. If any of those skills are weak or they are not well integrated, reading struggles are almost inevitable.
The cognitive skills that support decoding, such as attention, visual discrimination, visual sequential processing, immediate memory and working memory, must be automatic for successful reading. A student whose attention wanders off part way through sounding out a word often has to start the word over, stumbling in the process, and likely losing track of what they previously read. Sustained attention is important to stay focused on the whole word that is currently being read, while sequential processing helps keep the letters and words in the right order. Moreover, in order to ensure the proper order for letters, our brains need to be able to distinguish similar-looking letters from each other, using a cognitive skill referred to as visual discrimination. Without that, pattern recognition for common words can’t happen.
Comprehension likewise involves multiple cognitive skills, including working memory, visualization, and planning. Working memory refers to our ability to hold information in our minds while simultaneously manipulating it. Working memory is limited, more so for some individuals than others. Sufficient working memory capacity is needed to hold both the information we are reading as well as to retrieve previous knowledge to create meaning.
Visualization refers to our ability to create a mental picture of the information that is being read about. This does not have to be an image of an actual physical object or scene but may be a so-called “mind-map” of the relationships among things or characters. This takes full advantage of our visual processing system in order to create a stronger memory, both for short-term processing and ultimately for encoding in long-term memory.
Another cognitive skill that plays a role in comprehension is planning. As a reader becomes more proficient, they should come to understand that there is not a single way to read and understand a text. Based on our initial knowledge of what is in the text being read and our purpose for engaging with it, we might read for one specific piece of information (like what time play rehearsal starts) we might read another read another to gauge emotional tone, or we might read slowly, even painstakingly when trying to learn the details of new concept.
It should be evident that weaknesses in cognitive skills can be at the root of reading struggles. And if that is the case, why would someone giving a webinar on reading make the case that this is a lie? It turned out that the presenter of that EdWeb webinar used the term to refer to the subject matter of the reading material, not brain’s ability to marshal the cognitive resources needed to actually read. She gave the example of a 12-year-old who struggles with reading but how is interested in and can engage in thinking about content that is usually of interest to 12-year-olds. From that perspective, “dumbing down the content” is wrong. Her solution, essentially, was audio books. And audio books can be a very effective way for students who struggle with reading to access information at a higher level than they are able to decode and comprehend from written text. However, it does not mean that educators can simply ignore the cognitive skills that form the basis for reading.
Indeed, cognitive capacity, or how well developed our cognitive skills are, impacts all learning. Unfortunately, data on a student’s cognitive capacity and areas of strength and weakness are not commonly available to teachers. Cognitive capacity screening is available, with cognitive assessments such as Mindprin t, giving teachers, parents and students the information they need to directly address the root causes of reading and other learning struggles, with personalized learning strategies and cognitive training to build additional cognitive capacity.
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- noun mental ability synonyms: brain , brainpower , learning ability , mentality , wit see more see less type of: intelligence the ability to comprehend; to understand and profit from experience
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Fluid cognitive abilities (Gf) refers to reasoning or thinking, processing speeds, and one’s ability to solve problems in novel situations, independent of acquired knowledge.
From: Work Across the Lifespan , 2019
- Individual Differences
- Working Memory
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Executive Function
- Alzheimer's Disease
- Cognitive Impairment
- Cognitive Performance
- Processing Speed
- Theory of Mind
Neurodevelopmental and Executive Function and Dysfunction
Robert M. Kliegman MD , in Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics , 2020
A useful definition of intellectual function is the capacity to think in the abstract, reason, problem-solve, and comprehend. The concept of intelligence has had many definitions and theoretical models, including Spearman's unitary concept of “the g-factor,” the “verbal and nonverbal” theories (e.g., Binet, Thorndike), the 2-factor theory from Catell (crystallized vs fluid intelligence), Luria's simultaneous and successive processing model, and more recent models that view intelligence as a global construct composed of more-specific cognitive functions (e.g., auditory and visual-perceptual processing, spatial abilities, processing speed, working memory).
The expression of intellect is mediated by many factors, including language development, sensorimotor abilities, genetics, heredity, environment, and neurodevelopmental function. When an individual's measured intelligence is >2 standard deviations below the mean (a standard score of <70 on most IQ tests) and accompanied by significant weaknesses in adaptive skills, the diagnosis of intellectual disability may be warranted (see Chapter 53 ).
Functionally, some common characteristics distinguish children with deficient intellectual functioning from those with average or above-average abilities. Typically, those at the lowest end of the spectrum (e.g., profound or severe intellectual deficiencies) are incapable of independent function and require a highly structured environment with constant aid and supervision. At the other end of the spectrum are those with unusually well-developed intellect (“gifted”). Although this level of intellectual functioning offers many opportunities, it can also be associated with functional challenges related to socialization and learning and communication style. Individuals whose intellect falls in the below-average range (sometimes referred to as the “borderline” or “slow learner” range) tend to experience greater difficulty processing and managing information that is abstract, making connections between concepts and ideas, and generalizing information (e.g., may be able to comprehend a concept in one setting but are unable to carry it over and apply it in different situation). In general, these individuals tend to do better when information is presented in more concrete and explicit terms, and when working with rote information (e.g., memorizing specific material). Stronger intellect has been associated with better-developed concept formation, critical thinking, problem solving, understanding and formulation of rules, brainstorming and creativity, and metacognition (ability to “think about thinking”).
Biosocial theories: Behavioral genetics and sociobiology
Barbara M. Newman , Philip R. Newman , in Theories of Adolescent Development , 2020
Cognitive ability is one of the most extensively studied topics within the field of behavioral genetics ( McGue & Bouchard, 1998 ). Cognitive ability, sometimes referred to as general intelligence (g), is essential for human adaptation and survival. It includes the capacity to “reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly, and learn from experience” ( Plomin, 1999 ). Beyond memorization or imitation, intelligence supports the ability to comprehend situations, figure out what is needed, and plan a course of action. Cognitive ability is closely associated with educational attainment, occupation, and health outcomes ( Plomin & Von Stumm, 2018 ). The question of how genetics and environment contribute to cognitive ability in adolescence becomes a central issue as we consider the life choices and pathways that become available to young people during this sensitive period of life.
Early studies of cognitive ability with MZTs and DZTs as well as adoption studies report a heritability of about 0.50 ( McGue & Bouchard, 1998 ). Heritability estimates increase with age, with studies reporting estimates over 0.80 for MZTs in adolescence and adulthood ( Finkel, Pedersen, McGue, & McClearn, 1995 ; McGue, Bouchard, Iacono, & Lykken, 1993 ). One implication is that the genetic contribution to cognitive ability may change as children mature. For example, genetic factors that support sensorimotor investigation and categorization in infancy may play a different role as they support spatial learning and problem-solving in middle childhood and adolescence ( Plomin, 1999 ). Another implication is that genetic capacities play an increasing role in the choices young people make, the people they choose to interact with, the pursuit of educational and occupational goals, and the kinds of activities they find stimulating. The idea of genetic-environment correlation suggests that the person’s cognitive abilities shape the nature of their social, leisure, health, and occupational environments. The concept of genetic × environment interaction suggests that depending on one’s sensitivity to environmental conditions, specific features of the environment may accentuate or suppress one’s genetic potential.
Despite the relatively high heritability of cognitive ability and its stability over the life span, it is substantially < 1.0. In other words, environments play an important role in the emergence and flourishing of cognitive abilities, both the shared and nonshared environments of the prenatal period, infancy, and childhood, and the correlated and evoked environments that become increasingly nonshared in adolescence and adulthood. As implied by the concept of the norm of reaction , there is evidence that genetic contributions to cognitive ability are maximized in high resource environments, and suppressed in low resource environments. When resources are plentiful, adolescents have more opportunities to allow their genetic potential to guide their choices and for environmental resources to stimulate, evoke, or enhance their genetic capacities. When environments are impoverished, there is less opportunity for cognitive stimulation, fewer choices, fewer opportunities to express individual talents, and more constraints on behavior just to survive ( Tucker-Drob, Briley, & Harden, 2013 ).
Alzheimer Disease and Other Dementias
Joseph Jankovic MD , in Bradley and Daroff's Neurology in Clinical Practice , 2022
Education/leisure activities/early-life cognitive abilities
In 1990, a study performed in Shanghai demonstrated an association between a lower educational attainment and dementia risk ( Zhang et al., 1990 ). Subsequently, several other studies have demonstrated an association between low educational attainment and increased dementia risk ( Qiu et al., 2001 ; Stern et al., 1994 ).
In addition to education, participation in certain leisure activities, including reading, dancing, playing board games, and playing musical instruments, is associated with a decreased dementia risk ( Verghese et al., 2003 ).
These studies and others have led to the development of the cognitive reserve hypothesis. Which attempts to explain why those with certain life experiences, including higher educational attainment and increased leisure activity participation, are more resistant to neurodegenerative changes ( Stern, 2012 ).
Early-life cognitive abilities also may play an important role in dementia risk. In the nun study, autobiographical essays from nuns at a mean age of 22 were evaluated for idea density and grammatical complexity. Those with low idea density and grammatical complexity had lower cognitive scores later in life, and, in a small sample of nuns who came to autopsy, those with low early-life linguistic ability had AD pathology while those with linguistic talent did not have AD pathology ( Snowdon et al., 1996 ). Similarly in 1932, participants in the 1921 Scottish birth cohort took a test of intelligence at age 11. Lower mental ability at age 11 was associated with an increased risk of dementia ( Whalley et al., 2000 ).
W.O. Eaton , in Encyclopedia of Infant and Early Childhood Development , 2008
Predicting Cognitive Ability
Cognitive abilities build upon motor accomplishments, so individual differences in infant motor milestone attainment might plausibly predict later cognitive abilities. Indeed, Joseph Campos and colleagues have argued that self-produced locomotion in the form of crawling has positive consequences for various cognitive skills. For example, self-produced locomotion can enhance perspective-taking skills. These ideas have historical parallels. Bayley and Shirley both considered whether the age of first walking was predictive of preschool mental ability, and both reported that it was; later walking was associated with lower ability scores. However, the strength of the relationship, though statistically significant, was not large, and critics subsequently argued that the relation was due primarily to the influence of a small number of cases where development was greatly delayed. There is little doubt that extreme delays in infant motor development are predictive of poorer later outcomes; the more contentious issue is whether variation in the normal range of motor development predicts later outcomes.
More recently medical researchers considered the potency of individual milestone attainment for predicting later developmental deviations or delays. Like Bayley and Shirley they found a small-to-moderate negative correlation between age of attainment and scores on later intelligence tests. However, the size the relation was too small for clinical diagnostic use (i.e., for predicting individual outcomes).
Another relevant literature has to do with the predictive value of infant development tests for predicting later cognitive abilities. As noted earlier, physical milestones are an important part of infant development tests, so the predictive success of infant development tests bears on whether or not milestone variability has any predictive utility. Generally, scores on infant tests were predictive, but the relationships were too small to allow for predicting later individual outcomes. These findings, together with those discussed above, consistently suggest that individual differences in milestone attainment have some relation to later individual differences cognitive ability . Although there is a relationship, it is too small to allow for individual prediction.
Cerebral Cortex, Intellectual Functions of the Brain, Learning, and Memory
John E. Hall PhD , in Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology , 2021
The Corpus Callosum and Anterior Commissure Transfer Thoughts, Memories, Training, and Other Information Between the Two Cerebral Hemispheres
Fibers in the corpus callosum provide abundant bidirectional neural connections between most of the cortical areas of the two cerebral hemispheres, except for the anterior portions of the temporal lobes; these temporal areas, including especially the amygdala, are interconnected by fibers that pass through the anterior commissure.
One of the functions of the corpus callosum and the anterior commissure is to make information stored in the cortex of one hemisphere available to corresponding cortical areas of the opposite hemisphere. The following important examples illustrate such cooperation between the two hemispheres.
Cutting the corpus callosum blocks transfer of information from Wernicke’s area of the dominant hemisphere to the motor cortex on the opposite side of the brain. Therefore, the intellectual functions of Wernicke’s area, located in the left hemisphere, lose control over the right motor cortex that initiates voluntary motor functions of the left hand and arm, even though the usual subconscious movements of the left hand and arm are normal.
Cutting the corpus callosum prevents transfer of somatic and visual information from the right hemisphere into Wernicke’s area in the left dominant hemisphere. Therefore, somatic and visual information from the left side of the body frequently fails to reach this general interpretative area of the brain and thus cannot be used for decision making.
Finally, people whose corpus callosum is completely sectioned have two separate conscious portions of the brain. For example, in a teenage boy with a sectioned corpus callosum, only the left half of his brain could understand both the written word and the spoken word because the left side was the dominant hemisphere. Conversely, the right side of the brain could understand the written word but not the spoken word. Furthermore, the right cortex could elicit a motor action response to the written word without the left cortex ever knowing why the response was performed. The effect was quite different when an emotional response was evoked in the right side of the brain: in this case, a subconscious emotional response occurred in the left side of the brain as well. This response undoubtedly occurred because the areas of the two sides of the brain for emotions, the anterior temporal cortices and adjacent areas, were still communicating with each other through the anterior commissure that was not sectioned. For example, when the command “kiss” was written for the right half of his brain to see, the boy immediately and with full emotion said, “No way!” This response required function of Wernicke’s area and the motor areas for speech in the left hemisphere because these left-sided areas were necessary to speak the words “No way!” When asked why he said this, however, the boy could not explain it.
M. Mayfield , in Encyclopedia of Creativity (Second Edition) , 2011
Individual core characteristics and innovation
An individual's cognitive ability provides the foundation for his or her innovative capabilities. Such cognitive abilities include intelligence, perseverance, creative thinking ability, and even pattern recognition. Cognitive ability refers to the functioning usually considered to be a person's mental faculties. In general, the higher an individual's cognitive abilities, the more able that person is to develop innovations and implement innovations from other sources. Leonardo da Vinci and Michaelangelo are perhaps the exemplars of strong cognitive abilities being linked to great innovations.
People with certain personality types have also been found to be more innovative. Those with a more creative personality tend to be more innovative as well. Characteristics that predispose one to innovation include openness to new ideas, perseverance, self-confidence, tolerance of ambiguity, independence, and originality. There are also personality traits that reduce a person's propensity for innovation. These include authoritarianism and being rules oriented. Personality, like cognitive ability, is thought to be a relatively stable aspect of a person, and thus not very amenable to alteration. While there are ways to improve both aspects, intervention techniques are usually aimed at other individual level characteristics.
Preference for larger delayed rewards over smaller immediate rewards in development: Prudent temporal discounting
Maggie E. Toplak , in Cognitive Sophistication and the Development of Judgment and Decision-Making , 2022
Cognitive ability associations, particularly intelligence and executive function task performance, have been examined as correlates of temporal discounting preferences in adult samples. Shamosh and Gray (2008) conducted a meta-analysis of the relationship between temporal discounting and intelligence. They found that participants with higher intelligence tended to display lower delay discounting or less sensitivity to delay periods. Their reported effect size, based on a random effects model with a weighted mean, was r = − 0.23, p < .001, which would be considered in the small range. Shamosh et al. (2008) also reported a significant positive correlation between temporal discounting choices and working memory performance in a sample of university students. We also found a significant positive correlation between both intelligence and executive function task performance with the interest rate score on our temporal discounting task in undergraduate students ( Basile & Toplak, 2015 ). In our CART adult battery, we did not find a significant correlation between our Rational Temporal Discounting subtest and cognitive ability measures ( Stanovich et al., 2016 ). Overall, studies that have reported significant correlations display relatively small effect sizes, suggesting that there is considerable opportunity for dissociation between these measures.
In terms of cognitive ability correlations with temporal discounting in developmental samples, Steinberg et al. (2009) demonstrated that indifference points were positively related to intelligence in their sample of participants 10–30 years of age. Similarly, correlations with executive function tasks have also been examined, however these correlations have been somewhat mixed in developmental samples. Steinberg et al. (2009) reported a marginally significant association between temporal discounting and executive function task performance on the Tower of London and Stroop tasks after controlling for intelligence. Other developmental studies have reported no significant associations with measures of inhibition and working memory ( Prencipe et al., 2011 ). Delay of gratification paradigms also seem to display a parallel trend. It has been found that delay ability in preschoolers significantly predicted SAT scores in adolescents ( Mischel et al., 1988 ). Toplak et al. (2016) reported that the preference for a larger delayed reward across all of the indices examined were positively correlated with age, intelligence, and executive function task performance, including the interest rate rational thinking score.
C.S. Bergeman , A.D. Ong , in Encyclopedia of Gerontology (Second Edition) , 2007
Cognitive abilities are among the most heritable dimensions of behavior, with genetic factors consistently accounting for about 50% of the variability in studies of childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. Studies of later life have indicated higher levels of heritability for general cognitive abilities (see Table 1 ) than are typically observed in younger populations. For example, assessments from the SATSA indicated that 80% of the variability for twins 60 years of age (average age) was due to genetic differences. It was originally speculated that the higher heritability estimates could be related to specific characteristics of the Swedish sample, but these results have been replicated in studies using middle-age and older subjects in United States and Norwegian samples.
Table 1 . Estimates of heritability, shared environment, and non-shared environment for a variety of cognitive abilities across studies focusing on later life a
Research on specific cognitive abilities (e.g., verbal, perceptual speed, spatial orientation, memory) also implicates substantial genetic involvement, albeit less than what is reported for general abilities. Across multiple studies, the heritabilities range from 0.0 to 0.86, with the lowest estimates for measures of memory and the highest estimates for verbal ability and perceptual speed. A perusal of Table 1 , however, indicates that there is much variability in these results. It has been hypothesized that the genetic influences on the cognitive domain are more general than specific. An interesting analysis from the SATSA looked at the relationship between the factor loading of the specific scale on the principal component and estimates of heritability, and found that the factor loadings were correlated with the heritability of the tests. The authors speculated that the more a trait taps into general cognitive ability , the more heritable it is.
Interestingly, much of the remaining variance in cognitive functioning is due to non-shared environment, although there are notable exceptions here as well. For example, findings from verbal ability tests consistently illustrate the importance of environmental factors in contributing to familial similarity, with estimates for shared environment ranging from 0.14 to 0.30. The Seattle Longitudinal Study explicitly assessed the extent to which aspects of the early and current family environment (measured with the Family Environment Scale) contributed to familial similarity (between siblings and between parents and offspring) for cognitive abilities. Results indicated that early family environment, both shared and uniquely experienced, impacted familial similarity in adult cognitive functioning, especially in siblings.
Another area of later life that has received much attention is cognitive decline, and multiple studies have measured different aspects of cognitive status (e.g., the Mini-Mental Status Exam [MMSE]). One sample in which cognitive decline has been extensively studied is the NHLBI, which showed heritability estimates of 0.22 for the Iowa Screening Battery, 0.38 for the MMSE, and 0.76 for Digit Symbol. A subsample of 44 of the male twin pairs was followed over a 5-year period to assess changes in cognitive function, based on the digit symbol measure. Although the sample was small, the results indicated that digit symbol substitution was heritable (0.80 and 0.88 at times 1 and 2, respectively). The prevalence of decline (defined as one or more SD changes) was similar in both MZ (35%) and DZ (39%) twins, but the concordance rates for decline were not. For identical twins, the concordance rate was 45%, whereas in fraternal twins the rate was 8%; thus, at least a portion of the rate of change in cognition (indexed by a measure of perceptual speed) is influenced by hereditary factors.
The MTSADA researchers looked at the relationship between memory and cognitive functioning, lifestyle, and personality factors. They were interested in the general observation that there are large individual differences in memory ability among older individuals. In addition, older individuals who are high in verbal ability maintain a high level of intellectual activity, have larger working memory capacity, maintain a high level of general or physical activity, and manifest little test anxiety. The researchers specifically focused on the etiology of the relationship between measures of memory capacity and measures of social class (occupation, education, and vocabulary), processing speed (reaction time, digit symbol), intellectual activity, and physical activity. The results indicated that genetic influences on memory are largely mediated by processing speed and social class, whereas environmental influences on memory are mediated to some extent by physical activity. Thus, the authors suggested that interventions for a decline in memory functioning might best be targeted at lifestyle variables such as physical activity.
Cannabis Users and Premorbid Intellectual Quotient
L. Ferraro , ... D. La Barbera , in Handbook of Cannabis and Related Pathologies , 2017
Cognitive abilities of subjects who smoked cannabis are reliable only if assessed after a prolonged time of abstinence. Eventual long-term impairment observed after this period could reflect the consequence of a complex premorbid gene—early environmental predisposition. This predisposition can influence the contact with the substance, and a particular pattern of cannabis use, moderated by other environmental factors. This could be true even for clinical samples since, according to the neurodevelopmental theory of schizophrenia ( Murray & Lewis, 1987 ), the neurocognitive impairment in psychosis remains stable after the onset of the illness ( Bora & Murray, 2014 ). Moreover, cannabis use could be a trigger for a neurodevelopmental predisposition.
So, is cannabis safe? The answer is no. Since we do not know which special premorbid cocktail was prepared for us, cannabis could act like a “Russian roulette” placed against the brain: the more you play, the higher is the risk you are taking but, sometimes, a single game could be enough.
Choice and Aging
Pi-Ju Liu , ... Yaniv Hanoch , in Aging and Decision Making , 2015
Dual-Process Models and Implications for Decision Making in Older Adults
Cognitive ability is one of the possible contributors to choice set-size performance as well as preference, and dual-process models have been postulated to characterize the role of cognitive ability in decision making. When making decisions, theorists proposed that information processing involves two types of procedures (e.g., Epstein, 1994; Kahneman, 2003 ): System 1, which refers to an affective/experiential system; and System 2, which refers to a more deliberative/analytical system. System 1 can be thought of as automatic, effortless, rigid, heuristic-based, affective, and implicit. It is the kind of decision that can be made almost unconsciously, such as stereotyping. In contrast, System 2 is described as effortful, conscious, analytical, slow, flexible, and more resource intensive. It requires attention and concentration, such as computing and comparing probabilities ( Kahneman, 2011; Stanovich & West, 2000 ). The two systems can work simultaneously, and affective information can also influence deliberative thinking. However, System 2 can become depleted and less efficient with effort. Given the nature of health-related decision making, it is reasonable to assume that such decisions would involve both deliberate and affective components.
A number of researchers have capitalized on dual-process models to better understand life-span changes in decision-making abilities ( Peters, Hess, Västfjäll, & Auman, 2007; Peters & Bruine de Bruin, 2012 ; see also Hess, in this volume). Overall, there is a general consensus by those studying aging and decision making that older adults will perform worse on tasks that are more heavily dependent on System 2 processes relative to those dependent on System 1, based on the findings that aging is associated with normative decline in specific cognitive abilities typically associated with System 2 ( Peters & Bruine de Bruin, 2012 ). For example, changes in working memory and processing speed would more directly impact System 2 type deliberative processes than System 1 type processes ( Evans, 2003 ).
Indeed, there are now ample data to argue that age effects on choice performance and strategies are most likely associated with System 2 type processes (e.g., Hanoch, Wood, & Rice, 2007 ), especially when the decision-making tasks are cognitively demanding or lack supportive environments for decisions ( Finucane, Mertz, Slovic, & Schmidt, 2005; Yoon, Cole, & Lee, 2009 ). Declines in cognitive abilities make it more difficult for older adults to navigate a complex decision-making environment that requires concentration. For example, older adults are slower in terms of processing speed, which is associated with decreased performance on other cognitive tasks ( Salthouse, 1996 ). Also, although it remains to be investigated in more depth, the tendency for older adults to seek less information in decision-making tasks might be related to decreased working memory capacity (for a review, see Mather, 2006 ). These findings from the cognitive aging literature imply that aging is associated with declines in fluid abilities, such as speed of processing, working memory, and executive functioning ( Schaie & Willis, 2002 ), precisely the abilities that characterize System 2 processing and functioning. Whether older adults are cognizant of these changes and thus are more likely to actively prefer less demanding choice environments is an open empirical question. Regardless of preference, however, their performance in different choice environments may very well decline if these environments tax System 2 types of processes.
There is support for dual-process theories in the area of medical decision-making and aging. Because older adults tend to use more health-related services, more work was done in the health domain versus other areas of decision-making abilities. Hibbard, Slovic, Peters, Finucane, and Tusler (2001) have long been interested in older adults’ abilities to understand health-related (e.g., insurance) information. In one study, they evaluated older and younger adults’ comprehension of health and financial information about health insurance. Their results indicated that older adults are more likely to make mistakes compared to younger adults. Finucane et al. (2005) , in a related investigation, focused on the association between age and decision quality by varying the complexity of tasks in a number of related domains: health, financial, and dietary. Their data showed that as the task became more complex, the number of errors increased as well, with older adults experiencing even greater difficulties than their younger participants. As such, one would predict that as the number of choices increases, older adults would be less likely to make optimal decisions compared with younger counterparts.
More evidence supports the relationship between cognitive resources and decision making in aging. Based on a series of studies, Johnson (1990, 1993) had amassed sufficient evidence to show that, when deciding about cars or apartments, older adults tend to evaluate less information, reexamine information more often, need longer time to review information, and use more simplified search strategies. Mata and colleagues ( Mata, von Helversen, & Rieskamp, 2010; Mata, Schooler, & Rieskamp, 2007 ) have provided similar results, using somewhat different tasks. In their investigations, they were interested in the relationship between aging and the ability to utilize adaptive decision strategies in a number of different environmental structures. In line with Johnson’s earlier work, Mata and colleagues found that older adults frequently use less information and require more time to evaluate it in their decision making. Furthermore, older adults often utilized simpler decision strategies due to, according to the authors, declines in cognitive abilities. A meta-analysis by Mata and Nunes (2010) provides further indication that older adults tend to use more heuristic-based decision strategies, as they often search and use less information in their decision-making process. However, other studies ( Hess, Queen, & Ennis, 2013; Queen, Hess, Ennis, Dowd, & Grühn, 2013 ) found smaller differences in search strategies and highlight the importance of individual difference factors like education and search environment in strategy selection across the life span. Taken together, these findings appear to indicate that older adults are more likely than younger adults to adopt simpler strategies in their searches.
8 Ways To Increase Thinking Capacity of Your Brain
By Patrick Banks
• Posted 3 years ago • GROWTH
Perhaps the most complicated and greatest asset a human being can have is the processing power between your ears. This in mind, investing in this supercomputer is the greatest gift you can give yourself.
Amazingly, scientists think that the average humans only use 10% of their brain! Very few of us take time or allocate resources to train our brains. Neuroscientists believe that we are stuck with the same brain we were born with!
The good news is that you don’t need to be a billionaire to improve memory or your thinking capacity. Think of your brain as a muscle that needs to be exercised. All you need to do is dedicate some few minutes every day to do some exercises.
Here are 8 easy ways you can increase your brain power and improve your thinking capacity
1. exercise regularly.
Your brain and body are interdependent on each other. If you do not exercise your body, it will prevent the blood in your body to stimulate properly which will gradually start the blood vessels to be blocked with traces of plaque. Nutrients flow through our body when we eat, so if the vessels are blocked, less and less nutrients will reach our brain, which will then have a direct impact on our memory retention and focus. Thus, everyday exercise is necessary, even if it is just a brisk walk, you just need to get everything moving.
Just as you take time to do some physical exercises, you should allocate time to do some mind exercises. Mind exercises improve mind fitness just the same way physical exercises improves physical fitness. Neurologists have proven that regular exercises of the brain enhances brain functioning and improves neurogenesis. Physical exercises have also been linked to the formation of new brain cells and thus you should stay physically active too.
Whenever we exercise physically, our muscles are growing and strengthening. You go to the gym, you become big. You start jogging – your body feels better. No matter what sport you may practice, you’re doing your body a huge favour. Well. The same way your body benefits from physical exercise, your brain is being stimulated by a number of mental factors.
When you think, solve problems, meditate, digest information, and when you do a couple hundred more mental actions that you’re barely aware of, your brain power is increasing . And like with everything in life, improvement comes once an action has been taken.
You see, even though you are using your brain almost all the time you’re awake, you are not your brain . Your brain is not your mind. Grasped that? And since the “real you” lies beneath many layers and brain fortifications, the only way to improve your mental capacities would be to start training . Consciously.
Well, in today’s post, we’re going to illustrate the benefits of brain exercising while delivering the 15 simplest exercises that’ll skyrocket your brain power over time. Are you ready to take your life to the next level?
What Are the Benefits of Regular Brain Exercising?
Why would you exercise your brain if it would not be useful or productive in some way or another? Brain exercising is building your brain’s muscles. Nevertheless, what are these “muscles” bringing you? How are they going to benefit your life? Why even bother putting the effort? Well, a number of resources that confirm brain exercising as being an excellent activity that improves many important aspects of your lifestyle:
- Your memory (both short and term) will improve over time
- Decreased levels of stress
- Your concentration and focus tremendously improve
- You’ll feel more positive and you’ll send positive energy vibes
- Enhanced creativity
- Enhanced productivity
- Enhanced motivation
- Your mental flexibility improves
- You’ll think faster and react faster
- Improved self-confidence
- Sharpened hearing and vision
- + Much more others, which people haven’t yet discovered.
For those who sit in their comfort zone and rarely exercise their brain power, these benefits might be just fantasies. However, if they would start exercising their brain regularly, they’d see way more than just words.
Without further ado, let’s see how we can exercise our brain power using these simple yet extremely effective brain exercising techniques:
Brain Exercise 1: Use the Other (Non-Dominant) Hand More Frequently
If you’re right-handed, using your left hand for most of the activities you do throughout the day is an excellent exercise that will put your brain into action. Your dominant hand makes it all easy. You can eat, write, and work with it. However, when you try to do all these activities with your non-dominant hand, you’ll run into trouble. Do exactly that and you’ll give your brain the “proper workout” every day.
Brain Exercise 2: Keep Your Eyes Closed While Doing Stuff
Our brain is used to take the same neural pathways every time we do our usual chores. For example, whenever we wash our teeth, take a shower, walk on the street, we’re not giving our brain any challenges. Well, in order to create new pathways for your brain, keep your eyes closed while performing normal things. It might feel weird at first, but you’ll soon start to recognize the benefits.
Brain Exercise 3: Stop Using a Calculator and Start Using Your Brain
Digital calculators seem to be our best friends whenever we need to deal with numbers. Adding up or multiplying numbers will always require brain effort . Therefore, why don’t you stop using your “personal assistants” and start using your own assistant? Your brain is your best friend. Don’t leave him out of work, or else he’ll become less productive!
Active Exercising – The Best Brain Booster
Do you want to be healthy both physically and mentally? Most people do. Fortunately, an amazingly simple solution exists: step out of your comfort zone and begin exercising regularly. There are many studies , which confirm the benefits of exercising over a person’s brain and mental capacities. As Nike says…”Just do it!”
Exercising your brain even at a young age is definitely going to bring positive effects over your life. Besides your mental health, which will be stronger than ever, your overall happiness states will be more intense and more frequent.
You’ll become an excellent problem solver and you’ll be able to keep an objective perspective on life consistently. Create a habit out of your brain exercising activities; get used to it and you’ll see it as “play” for the rest of your life.
2. Train your memory
If you don’t use your brain, it will stagnate. If you want your dog to be a better fetcher, you must train or get it trained to fetch. Likewise, if you need you brain to be better; you must train your mind to retain memory. Discipline yourself to memorize phone numbers and other essential numbers (passport, credit card, insurance, driving license). The more you add to your brain, the more you expand its capacity!
How To Improve Your Memory?
Memory loss is something that puts the patient in a helpless position, where he knows that he is losing important fragments of his precious memories day after day and there is absolutely nothing that he can do to stop that horrific process. However, patients are not 100% helpless as there are several exercises and techniques that can help the patients in stimulating their brain activity in order to retain the power in the brain and keep it for losing rapidly. The more the brain is stimulated and used, the less chances of rapid memory loss at an early stage.
- Crosswords, Rubic’s cube, puzzles, etc.
Brain teasers are known as brain teasers for a reason. These academic exercises help you focus on something with full force. It strains your brain in a positive way, which allows it to exercise and function at a better rate. Those people who regularly attempt puzzles and crosswords will notice that their day would go more productive compared to if they let their brain sit idle.
Considering crosswords, mentally sifting through words that would fit into the boxes enables the brain to remember more and boost your memory. Randomly spelling out words also helps.
Listening to your favorite tunes helps your brain relax, but at the same time, it excites your nerves which enables your ears to listen and concentrate on the song that is playing, even if it is the background. Play your favorite music while doing tedious activities such as washing dishes or hanging laundry, to have a good time and allow your brain to process the lyrics simultaneously with sound waves that the music produces, which keeps it from being idle. Maybe even dance a little?
- Visualize & Photograph
Your eyes help your brain to see things and put them into perspective. Running through picture magazines or newspapers, and interpreting them is a great way to let your brain jog through different sceneries. You can also try photographing things that you want to remember which will most likely prompt your brain into remembering exactly what you had photographed, hence, improving your memory.
3. Question facts and think positive
Don’t take everything at face value. Develop a habit of questioning everyday things. Ask yourself the “what if questions”. What if we didn’t invent the wheel? What if the continents moved? By being curious, you train your mind to be innovative and develop ideas. They say curiosity killed the cat, but they don’t tell you that the same curiosity created electricity.
Neuroscientists, have linked anxiety and stress to the killing of brain neurons and also hamper new neurons being created. Psychologist have found out that positive thinking, especially in the future, boosts the production of new cells and dramatically controls stress and reduces anxiety.
Free your mind from anything which is not right here and right now. Staying mindful and in a present REALITY is the healthiest thing you can do to your brain. I don’t mean the virtual reality or social media reality but the REAL reality.
As a result, you stop expecting too much from other people, which gives you the chance to truly enjoy their company and spend some quality time together. It also leads to finding contentment and peace. Happiness, after all, can’t be found anywhere else, but in the present. So without trying to make things perfect, to change anything about the current situation, or to wish for something that sounds better, you can enjoy what is by truly accepting it.
4. Keep Stress from Stressing You Out
When it comes to memory and focus, stress is an enemy. Chronic stress has adverse effects on the hippocampus, which is a part of our brain responsible for creating new memories and recalling old ones. If stress continues to damage brain cells , memory loss, or even worse is inevitable. So to fight of stress, you should be able to understand the difference between unrealistic and realistic expectations, you should know when to say no to something.
Allow yourself to take breaks between work and it is absolutely not necessary to multitask all the time as it strains your brain. Also, do not forget to have yourself a nice laugh from time to time!
Clammy hands, trembling fingers, shallow breaths… Sounds familiar? That’s how your body reacts to stress. All these are dead giveaways that you are waging an internal war with your emotions and logic. But whether such overwhelming feeling of anxiety is due to a particularly difficult financial situation or an imminent danger, the body’s reaction to stress remains the same. You see, stress does not only spike up your blood pressure and make your heart beat erratically. Stress also triggers something that can prove just as damaging as a possible heart attack—the release of the hormone cortisol.
To give you just a brief overview of the hormone cortisol, you need to understand that it is the reason doctors refer to stress as the number ‘one’ killer. For one thing, it is the release of the hormone cortisol that leads to a suddenly high blood pressure for a stressed-out individual. Another thing is that the release of cortisol can lead to serious medical conditions such as depression.
You might be thinking now that the hormone cortisol is a bad idea for our body to release altogether. However, that is not entirely the case. The release of cortisol hormones in our system also triggers the adrenaline rush that characterizes our body’s reaction to panic. Such reaction keeps our body alert—either to fight or to take flight from the perceived danger. Without the adrenaline rush, you could not possibly carry out an instantaneous physical action in response to the danger you have perceived.
Cortisol, then, proves useful in cases where you have to fight the source of tension physically. However, we rarely do find ourselves in such tight spots, do we? Too much cortisol hormones in our bodies is therefore not a good thing for us whose stressors rarely require physical action. It is thus vital that we learn how to control our body’s response to stressors and find a way to relax immediately and keep the cortisol hormones at a minimum.
There are plenty of stress management methods that experts recommend. For this article, however, let us consider just five methods that scientific data supports for successfully dealing with stress.
- Go Out for a Brisk Walk
The classic response to a potentially explosive situation—a couple arguing over finances, for example—is walking out before things could get out of control. Walking out when you are experiencing extreme emotions is the wisest course to take if you want to prevent yourself from doing and saying things you are bound to regret. Scientists, however, urge you to do more than just walk out from a stressful situation. They urge you to keep walking, at least for ten more minutes. Why? Walking does not only give you the time to think about the situation but also allows your body to boost your endorphin level. A rise in the level of your endorphins consecutively lowers your cortisol levels, helping you calm down.
Walking also provides your body with a fresh supply of oxygen, which in turn helps your brain function optimally and thus helps you think straight. So, the next time you feel stressed, go out for a short walk, and you will find that it could make all the difference to your objectivity in such a stressful situation.
- Regulate Your Breathing Pattern
Taking deep breaths is a common relaxation technique that I am pretty sure you are familiar with. However, do you fully understand how taking deep breaths could help you relax? If you do yoga, you are aware that your breath or pranayama plays a vital role in sustaining your body. Scientists will also tell you that deep breaths allow for a fresh supply of oxygen to enter your brain, helping it to function properly and come up with solutions.
Try to observe your normal breathing pattern . You will notice that deep breathing characterizes a feeling of serenity. So, when you take deep breaths during a stressful situation, you force your body to believe that it is calm. Once you take deep breaths, your parasympathetic reaction kicks in, allowing you to relax your frayed nerves. On the other hand, shallow breathing characterizes panic, which works to stimulate your sympathetic nervous system into action. Allowing panic to set in can prove disastrous, as your personal experience most likely proves. As you know, panicked people barely think; they just act—often, unwisely. So rein in your stress levels by taking the time to control your breathing.
Make breathing exercises a routine. Such exercises are beneficial even if you are not feeling particularly tense, as these help you lower your blood pressure and help repair the stress-related damage.
- Use your Imagination
I am sure you would agree that our minds have the tendency to become paranoid about things that do not present any danger yet. It is thus with good reason that a saying goes this way:
“The feeling of fear is often worse than the fear itself”
Indeed, our imagination can carry us far away from reality—something that can be negative if we let it. Often, the things we fear would happen do not happen at all, and we find that we have just worried too much. Needless to say, visualizing negative things can only produce harmful results.
However, you can also use your power to imagine as a way to counter your stress. For instance, if you feel that your stress levels are escalating to panic, close your eyes and conjure a vision of a peaceful scene. You may want to imagine yourself lying on the beach, listening to the melody of the waves and feeling the summer breeze on your face. You could imagine any scenario, as long as that scenario can help you feel peaceful. Allow your imagination to carry you away from your stressful reality until you find yourself breathing normally. Such guided imagery can help your body relax and, therefore, minimize your stress levels.
- Fill your Stomach
Have you ever felt the urge to eat something when you feel stressed? Scientists attribute such urge to the link between your gut and your brain, with your gut playing an important role in your body’s stress response. Filling your gut with food to address stress is, therefore, not necessarily a bad thing. Of course, you need to watch what you eat. After all, you would not want to load your system with unhealthy calories, would you? Munch on a healthy snack—nuts, fruits, eggs, and while doing so, focus your senses on the taste and texture of what you are eating. Make sure that you enjoy your food as far away from your source of stress as possible. That way, you have made eating your form of meditation.
You may also find that a cup of tea—green tea, in particular, can calm your jittery nerves. How so? Green tea is a natural source of L-theanine an important substance that, in your body, can help induce calm without a sedative effect. So if you are feeling restless and overly anxious, take the time to munch on a healthy snack—maybe some whole-grain biscuits—and pour yourself a cup of tea. You will find that doing so can help you get a grip on yourself.
- Go for a Digital Detox
Often, what causes us stress is the technology that surrounds us. For instance, an e-mail from your boss reminds you of an urgent task that freaks you out because your hands are still so full with other obligations. Your mobile phone then rings an alarm and notifies you about impending deadlines. Such notifications do pile up on you one stress after another, don’t you agree?
Are you aware that prolonged usage of computers can lead to depression as well as an increase in stress levels? How can that be? Regardless of what activity you are doing online—mindlessly surfing the Internet, checking your work e-mails, doing research—staying in front of the screen for a long time stresses your body physically. Studies show that those who use the computer for a long, uninterrupted period, as well as those who use it late at night, have problems with sleep. You do know that without enough sleep, your body cannot fully recuperate from the whole day strain.
So, here is a piece of advice. If you need to use the computer the entire day, make sure that you allow for some breaks in between. Also, make it your habit to log off your personal computer, apps, softgoza and other gadgets at least an hour before your bedtime to improve your quality of sleep. You may also want to go for a digital detox, that is, keep yourself gadget-free for a time. Many individuals have found that going gadget-free for a certain period of their week has helped them lower their stress levels.
An introspection is a terrific activity that leads to many positive results. Besides the fact that you’ll be calming your mind and you’ll be solving your problems, your brain’s power will also improve. The more time you take to be with yourself and just think the more you’re triggering your brain’s potential.
Meditation is another extremely useful activity that lets your mind be free. As I’ve already mentioned, there’s a difference between mind and brain. When you meditate, you’re basically slowing your brain down, allowing your mind to rise to the surface. In those powerful states, your brain is regenerating and gaining fresh powers!
5. Nourish your brain with a healthy diet
The food you eat is, without doubt, a big contribution to proper brain functioning. The human brain consumes over 20% of all the oxygen and nutrients that we consume! Feed your brain with good stuff like fresh fruit and vegetables and plenty of Omega 3 oils.
How to Use Mediterranean Diet to Boost Your Brain Health
There is mounting evidence suggesting that Mediterranean diet, which is rich in lean protein, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables, can be effective in improving cognitive function. Mediterranean diet is not a new recipe, but new research has found out that it comes with a host of health benefits for the brain. In reference to several studies published in the journal Epidemiology, researchers demonstrated a strong connection between Mediterranean-style diet and better cognitive function, lowered decline in brain, and reduced risks of Alzheimer’s disease.
According to Iliana Lourida, the lead study author, this is yet another study to systematically analyze all existing evidence between Mediterranean diet and improved brain function .
How to Apply Mediterranean Diet?
If you are following a Mediterranean diet, you should:
1. Limit the intake of foods high in sugar.
2. Limit the intake of red meat.
3. Consume more fish, fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs, poultry, nuts, whole grain, and healthy fats, such as olive oil.
This diet downplays processed foods. Although the diet recommends olive oil as a source of health fat, you shouldn’t use it in cooking because it is highly susceptible to oxidative damage when heated. Olive oil should therefore be added to salads and other cold dishes. In its unrefined and unheated form, olive oil contains vitamins A and E, magnesium, squalene, chlorophyll, and other cardio-protective nutrients.
Role of Nutrition In Boosting Cognitive Function
Previous studies have shown that people who rely on Mediterranean diet are at a lowered risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Until recently, it was discovered that people who eat this way have the ability to make healthier lifestyle choices that help to decrease Alzheimer’s. To shed more light on the connection between the diet and cognition, about 450 seniors with risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure, overweight and high cholesterol, were randomly picked to follow one of three diets
- A Mediterranean diet supplemented with one liter of extra virgin oil every week.
- A Mediterranean diet supplemented with 30 grams of nuts on a daily basis
- A low-fat diet
According to report by Reuters, tests performed on the brain function before and after the study led to the realization that seniors who were eating low-fat foods significantly decreased their memory and cognitive function.
The group that followed a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts showed significant improvements in memory. Surprisingly, the participants who relied on a Mediterranean diet supplemented with virgin olive oil had remarkable better cognitive function.
Importance of Healthy Fats
These findings add extra evidence on the importance of eating foods containing healthy fats to boost brain function. A normal human brain has about 60% of fat. Some of the best sources of fats include fatty fish like sardines, anchovies, wild-caught Alaska salmon, and krill oil supplementation.
These sources are also rich in omega-3 and omega 6 fatty acids which are renowned in promoting cognitive function. Recent studies indicate omega-3 supplementation improves attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as well as cognitive control in children. Other studies suggest that combination of omega-3s with vitamin D helps to improve cognitive functions and psychiatric conditions like ADHD, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
Omega 3 fatty acids fight inflammation that inhibits production of serotonin, the hormone that controls your mood.
Top Health Benefits Of Omega-3 You Should Know
Mediterranean Diet Pitfalls
According to neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter, author of the Grain Brain, gluten sensitivity plays a major role in most chronic illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s. In addition, non-vegetable carbohydrates contain toxic compounds that can impair the function of your brain. Perlmutter says that although the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends staying away from fats when making dietary choices, most devastating chronic illnesses like Alzheimer’s, diabetes and cardiovascular disease can be worsened by substituting fats for corn-based carbohydrates.
Protecting Your Brain With Healthier Lifestyle Choices
Other than Mediterranean diet, there are several lifestyle strategies through which you can optimize the function of your brain. They include:
- Regular exercises: Engage in physical activities, particularly high-intensity interval training to improve your mood and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Intermittent fasting: This reduces calorie intake and is easier to comply with. Get calories from non-vegetable carbohydrates.
- Eat healthy fats: Perlmutter says that a low-carb diet rich in fats can be helpful in preventing Alzheimer’s
- Omega-3 fats supplementation: Fish oil and Krill oil contain omega-3 fatty acids and astaxanthin, a carotenoid compound which is very critical for your brain in reducing free-radical-mediated damage.
- Vitamin D supplementation: Deficiencies in vitamin D, particularly in older adults has been linked with poorer brain function.
- Sleep adequately: Sleep plays important role for optimal health of your body and brain. It is only during sleep that your brain gets a chance to detoxify. Poor sleepers are at an increased risk of developing neurological problems, such as Alzheimer’s and depression.
- Drop unhealthy habits: Excessive alcohol use, drug abuse, and smoking are some of the habits you should drop if you want to remain in sound health. Though quitting can be challenging, the health benefits are long lasting and medical professionals are very willing to assist.
Mediterranean diet is one of the best plans to keep your weight in control while improving your brain function. It is easier to stick with because you can get all the essential minerals and nutrients from various food sources. On top of this, Mediterranean diet comes with other health benefits for preventing chronic illnesses like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, and certain types of cancer. To boost the effectiveness of Mediterranean diet, make simple lifestyle changes that are healthy to improve the quality of your life.
6. Read! Read! Read!
Reading not only relieves tension and stress to the brain-cells but it also gives you another perspective on things. Books are the best way to grow your brain and expand your thinking, but social media and magazines are a good source of humor and everything that can’t fit into a book. Reading is the best way to train your brain and expand your thinking. Read books which are not only fun but also expand your knowledge. Check out our selection of top must read science books .
If you forget things, which is why you are probably reading this in the first place, you should simply write them down! Sticky notes, memo pads or your personal diary, just jot down whatever is going on in your mind. Writing things down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories. This allows those areas to be automatically exercised.
Simply start a journal or write emails or text messages to yourself. Easy! Just like this, reading what you have written, or any other reading material helps your brain to take in more information, expanding the memorization capacity that you currently have. All in all, both of these things improve your memory.
Read Books with a Loud Voice
When you read and use your internal voice, you’re using your imagination to comprehend the information. When you listen to a loud voice (yours or a friend’s), you’re using the same imagination, only that the process is different. When we hear something, a part of our brain regions will light up. When we read or speak words, different regions are set into action.
7. Get enough sleep
Sleeps is the reset button for the brain. When you sleep, your body regenerates brain cells and does all the maintenance work on both your body and your brain. A daily dose of 4-6 hours of sleep every night has proven the best way to improve thinking and create new ideas and innovations.
Mindfulness meditation before falling asleep can be really helpful. Close your eyes and ignore everything around you. Imagine you’re at a peaceful place. Breathe deeply and empty your mind. Focus on your breathing for a while until you relax your body and mind.
Know you’ve done your best for the day, and that tomorrow comes with many new opportunities. Be positive about what’s to come. If these are the last thoughts in your head before you fall asleep, then you’ll be in peace and won’t have nightmares.
Once you’ve slept enough and sound, be sure that tomorrow morning you’ll not only kickstart the day, but be super productive, present for the whole day and in a pretty good mood and able to focus effortlessly.
7. Eliminate Errors in Thinking
It is important to know the psychological side of thinking. Your brain prowess aside, we all make thinking errors. There are five different errors that psychologists have identified; Partialism, Adversary Thinking, Time Scale Error, Initial Judgment and arrogance and Conceit.
Partialism – Errors that occur when the individual observes the problem through ones perspective only. That is, an individual examines only one factor of the problem and most often than not, we arrive at a premature solution.
Adversary Thinking – This is the “you are the one who is wrong and thus I should be right.” type of thinking. Politicians are the masters in this type of thinking and they use it to their advantage.
Time Scale Error – This is a kind of partialism in thinking where the individual sees the problem from a limited time-frame. It can be likened to short-sightedness.
Initial Judgment- Here, the individual becomes very subjective. Instead of considering the issue or problem objectively, the individual approaches it with prejudice or bias.
Arrogance and Conceit- may also be referred to as the “Village Venus Effect” because like country people, who think that the hottest girl in their village is the hottest girl in the world, the thinker believes that there is no better solution other than that he has already found. This blocks creativity.
If you want a shortcut in your efforts in boosting the thinking capacity of your brain…
8. Try Nootropics – the silicon valley secret to enhance brain functioning
Nootropics also known as ‘cognitive enhancers’ are the types of drugs which help in improving cognitive function of the user. This nootropic substance is a typical class of supplements which helps in enhancing memory and brain power. This cognitive supplement has the ability to improve mental abilities, concentration power, motivation, memory power, etc. Many experts are conducting research on this supplement and recommend that it is not wise to consume this cognitive substance until all studies and research are compiled. But with day to day stresses and hectic schedules of your life and with no adverse side effects, nootropic might be the solution which improves both mental and physical power.
Function of Nootropics
Many people who are interested in Nootropics, are also little concerned about the fact that what type of particular brain function nootropic triggers. This cognitive enhancer helps in boosting brain power, concentration level and memory power. • Regular uses of nootropics help in stimulating neurotransmitters in the brain and also energised enzymes and hormones. • Nootropics improve the oxygen supplies, which also results in the efficient use of oxygen supplies. • It also helps in stimulating the nerve growth.
Benefits of Nootropics
If you are looking for more mental energy to lead your daily life, nootropics might be the best solution. Often heavy vehicle drivers use this substance which helps them to stay awake. These days, many corporate business people are also using this cognitive supplement to improve the sharpness of their brain functions. It helps you to concentrate better on your work. The most common nootropics which used widely is racetams. Many racetams user reported that after consuming racetams, they feel highly energised, both mentally and physically. The ability to concentrate sharply on reading, writing and even in thinking also improved. Most of the racetams effects are very efficient and also lasts for a longer period.
Characteristic Properties of Racetams
• There are different types of racetams are used, which include noopept, oxiracetam, piracetam, pramiracetam, etc. • All these racetams have many benefits. Mainly noopept helps in enhancing all brain functions. • Though oxiracetam is very popular among the user, it does take longer time (2 to 3 weeks) to enhance memory power to be noticed. • The first nootropic which was produced is piracetam, and it is also most common and available nootropic. Piracetam required daily dosage to improve brain functions. • Pramiracetam is a typical soluble substance which mostly helps in improving concentration power and motivation. The sharpness in memory power also improved with pramiracetam.
Enhance memory power
These cognitive enhancers improve memory power by increasing cognitive factors like synaptic plasticity, which increases through • Increasing acetylcholine levels • Increasing glutamate level • Increasing supply of oxygen to the brain
This improved synaptic plasticity helps in boosting memory power and users start experiencing better retention and recall memory.
Nootropics improve concentration power
Nootropics can assist in improving your focus and concentration by enhancing brain functionality. There are some types of nootropics, which counter the feeling of fatigue by increasing the blood circulation and oxygenation in the brain. Some nootropics also give mood lifting effects and a sense of well -being. These cognitive enhancers also help in reducing mental stress, as a result of which users start feeling energetic both mentally and physically. Types of Nootropics which can assist in enhancing concentration power are DMAE, Noopept, Sulbutiamine, Centrophenoxine, Galantamine, and Bacopa, etc.
Nootropics for Intelligence enhancement
Before using nootropics, you need to understand that this cognitive supplement gives a different result for different intelligence, say basically there are two types of intelligence, one is crystallised, and other is fluid intelligence.
• Crystallized Intelligence Crystallised intelligence referred as the ability to use the already acquired knowledge and experience. You achieve his type of intelligence from your experience throughout the life which directly correlated to your long term memory. Therefore, you need to watch out for those nootropics which help in boosting long-term memory power to improve your crystallised intelligence.
• Fluid Intelligence Fluid intelligence is the ability to read, write or make reasoning of something cognitively. You need this intelligence in order to access your crystalized intelligence to manoeuvre your surroundings. This fluid intelligence is correlated to your working memory capacity. So you need to select those nootropics which can enhance your synaptic plasticity or short term memory to improve your fluid intelligence.
What is the best nootropic dosage?
Nootropics supplement significantly varies in their strength and the dosage entirely depends on the half-life of the particular cognitive substance. Long half-life nootropics-It is recommended to have two larger dosages per day to get the full benefit. Short half-life nootropics- It is recommended to have 3 or 4 times of small dosages per day to get the best result.
Potential side effects of nootropics
Some people are also little worried about the potential side effects of nootropics. However, many research and studies have been confirmed that nootropics do not cause any deadly side effects. Actually, it is reported that this cognitive supplement is the safest among others. The neuroprotective properties of nootropics help in slow down the signs of ageing of the brain, and it also helps in developing antioxidant effects in the brain. Though nootropics do not develop any tolerance or long term addiction and withdrawal symptoms, however, it is good idea to watch out for possible side effects which it may cause before you start using this substance. Though these side effects are very rare, but normally occur when you are taking this for the first time and adjusting with this supplement or consuming at a higher amount than suggested dosage. Some of the possible side effects include: • Headaches • Insomnia • Anxiety • Fatigue
Every nootropics supplement has a different mode of action and also comes with different side effects. These side effects include nervousness, restlessness, depression and mood swings, etc. But these side effects are experienced by a very small percent of total users.
Patrick is a Berlin-based dating advisor, motivational speaker, a huge fitness and vegan diet enthusiast and the main editor at Wingman Magazine, specialised in men's health . His ultimate goal is to share with men around the world his passion for self-development and to help them to become the greatest version of themselves. He believes a healthy body and successful social interactions are two main keys to happiness.
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thinking capacity meaning, thinking capacity definition | English Cobuild dictionary ... thinking. 1 n-uncount The general ideas or opinions of a person or group
Dr. Olenka Bilash, at the University of Alberta, defines cognitive capacity as “the total amount of information the brain is capable of retaining at any
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When we do any work we are continuously involved in the thinking of its outcomes or effects, which consumes most of our energy. We could not be able to
Acronym, Definition. ETC, Electronic Toll Collection. ETC, Et Cetera (Latin: And So Forth). ETC, Estimated Time of Completion. ETC, Educational Technology.
Critical thinking is making reasoned judgements that are logical and well thought-out. Discover more about the definition, meaning, and core