23 February 2009


Not sure if this is from today or last week, but Scientific American posted a list of a few things individuals can do to boost their brainpower, even later in life. Tabloid magazines publish this kind of stuff all the time, but SciAm being SciAm, this list is far more interesting. Among the things that aren't exercise or meditation (both kinda boring) are:

* Drink coffee and eat blueberries. That's fantastic news, because I just ate a blueberry muffin with my morning coffee. Actually what they say is eat your fruits & veggies (duh) and cut back oh saturated fat (also duh). Stimulants can also boost brainpower, though cocaine and amphetamines are not the preferred choice (also also duh). SciAm would also like you to, "[t]ry to limit yourself to fewer than 100 cups a day. That much coffee contains about 10 grams of caffeine, enough to cause fatal complications.

* Play video games. No joke, this is #4 on the list. I don't really play, but most of my friends do, so that should make them feel smarter (despite all evidence to the contrary). Playing video games has been shown to "improve mental dexterity, while boosting hand-eye coordination, depth perception and pattern recognition."

* Listening to music. I would add playing music to this list as well as qualifying what counts as "music". Listening to top-40 radio is not going to make you smarter though it has been shown to make people's personalities far more banal. Also, that Mozart-in-the-womb theory has been discredited, although listening to his Requiem should be mandatory for all humans. As far as music making people smarter, I recommend jazz, math rock, tech-y metal, modernist composition, and Beethoven.

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