BRAIN TRAINING

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foreword by TONY BUZAN ,Inventor of MIND MAPS

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BRAIN TRAINING

  1. 1. BRAINmaximize mental agility,boost memory, TRAINING & awaken your inner genius Tips, puzzles,foreword by exercises,Tony Buzan and other strategies for supercharged mind power
  2. 2. BRAIN TRAININGthe complete visual program
  3. 3. BRAIN TRAININGthe complete visual program foreword by Tony Buzan written by James Harrison and Mike Hobbs
  4. 4. ContentsLONDON, NEW YORK, MUNICH, MELBOURNE, DELHIIllustrator & Designer Keith Hagan at Foreword 6www.greenwich-design.co.uk How to use this book 8Project Editor Suhel AhmedProject Art Editor Charlotte SeymourSenior Editor Helen Murray CHAPTER 1US Editors Shannon Beatty, Jill Hamilton and Brain potentialMargaret Parrish 12 Brain powerSenior Art Editor Liz Sephton Picture the brain 14Senior Production Editor Jennifer MurrayProduction Controller Alice Holloway What is intelligence? 16Creative Technical Support Sonia Charbonnier Looking to learn 18Managing Editor Penny Warren Where are you at? 20Managing Art Editors Glenda Fisher andMarianne MarkhamCategory Publisher Peggy VancePuzzles Consultant Phil Chambers CHAPTER 2The authors and publishers have made every effort to acknowledge Memorythe relevant puzzle and quiz providers and to ensure that the external All about memory 30websites are correct and active at the time of going to press. 32 How does memory work?Published in the United States by DK Publishing Memory testers 34375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014 36 The Journey Method10 11 12 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 38 Expanding visual memoryCopyright © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited 40Text copyright © 2010 James Harrison and Mike Hobbs Pegging More memory games 42All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyrightreserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, storedin or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form,or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, orotherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright CHAPTER 3owner and the above publisher of this book. Visual reasoning andPublished in Great Britain by Dorling Kindersley Limited. spatial awarenessA catalog record for this book is available from the Library Thinking in pictures 48of Congress. Seeing is learning 50ISBN: 978-0-7566-5730-7 Visual teasers 52DK books are available at special discounts when purchased in bulkfor sales promotions, premiums, fund-raising, or educational use. For Reading maps 56details, contact: DK Publishing Special Markets, 375 Hudson Street, Mental rotation puzzles 58New York, New York 10014 or SpecialSales@dk.com. Mind Maps 62Printed and bound in Singapore by Star StandardDiscover more at www.dk.com
  5. 5. CHAPTER 4Think creativelyDemystifying creativity 66Don your creative cap 68Creative treats 70 CHAPTER 7Creative conundrums 72 The mind-body connectionSurviving the creative process 74 Healthy body, sturdy mind 144Doodle art 76 The physical recharge 146Thinking outside the box 78 Stress factor 148Matchstick mayhem 80 Exercise the Eastern way 150Original answers 84 T’ai Chi 152More creative conundrums 86 Yoga 154Optical illusions 90 Sleep and the brain 156 Brain food 158CHAPTER 5Numerical reasoningNumerical aptitude 94 CHAPTER 8 Test your new brainpowerQuick-fire arithmetic test 96 Final workout 162Improving numeracy 98Visual math workout 100Sudoku 106 Solutions 172Samurai Sudoku 110Kakuro 112 Useful websites 186Logic flies out of the window 114 Further reading 187Gambler’s fallacy 116 Index 188Unraveling numerical riddles 118Riddles to try 120 Acknowledgments 192CHAPTER 6Verbal reasoningTalk your way to success 124Quick-fire vocabulary test 126Language and intelligence 128A workout with words 130Reading comprehension 136Words and pictures 138Build a story 140
  6. 6. 6 ForewordForewordIt is the dream of everyone to have a brain that works better.You are holding in your hands a book that will help you makethat dream come true!Brain Training is one of the first VISUAL guides to enhancingyour mental acumen. In this New Age of Intelligence, in whichthe human brain has to think intelligently about managingknowledge and processing the information it is bombardedwith, it’s vitally important that learning materials are brain-friendly. One of the reasons I was so enthusiastic about writingthe foreword for Brain Training is that this book has everythingyour brain needs: it is written in the brain’s own language—the“visual” language. It contains relevant images, plentiful color,excellent spatial design, clear associations, and lucid writing. It isa book about the brain that is friendly to the brain. In its physicalform, the book is entirely congruent with what the brain needs.In maximizing your brain it is also important for you to knowthat, for learning, the majority of people do not use their fullcognitive potential. This might sound like bad news, but isactually good news. It means that you have a lot of untappedbrainpower still left in the tank. All you need to do is learnhow to access it! Brain Training will allow you to do that,by introducing you to exciting and enjoyable games andexercises that will help you maximize your intelligence.In this groundbreaking book, you will learn about your brainand its remarkable structure and capacity. You will also beenlightened about the power of your visual and imaginativeprocesses. You will find out about your memory and itsextraordinary capacities, your innate visual and creativecapabilities, and your ability with numbers. The book will
  7. 7. Foreword 7offer “visual” approaches to increase your verbal reasoningand word power. There is also a chapter that addresses thevitally important relationship between your brain and your body,and in which you will learn that the ancient adage: “HealthyBody Healthy Mind, Healthy Mind Healthy Body” is true. Byworking through the puzzles in Brain Training, you will improveyour focus and concentration, your memory, and your learningand creative powers. These are abilities that will significantlyboost your confidence and joy in life.By investing in the Brain Training program, you have investedin your own intellectual capital, and that capital is the mostvaluable capital in the world.Tony Buzan,Inventor of Mind Maps®
  8. 8. 8 How to use this bookHow to use this bookStudies show that the sense of sight is the mostreceptive when it comes to learning. Therefore, Working through the bookthis program is visually led, and is filled with a The structure allows you to either work throughdiverse mix of popular cognitive exercises, which the book from cover to cover or to pick out aare divided into thematic chapters covering specific topic—for example, memory—and workmemory, visual reasoning and spatial awareness, on it alone. However you choose to approach thecreativity, numeracy, verbal reasoning, and the book, we encourage you to start with the firstmind-body connection. chapter (and the “Where are you at?” exercises) We open with a general introduction to the and finish with the final workout in Chapter 8, sobrain, and to the concept of intelligence and you can gauge how you have improved over time.visual learning. This is followed by a range of For the majority of exercises we have providedexercises—“Where are you at?”—to gauge your answer boxes for you to fill in. For the remainingcurrent mental agility. In the subsequent chapters exercises, we will instruct you to write yourwe concentrate on a specific brain function, such answer on a separate sheet of paper. Finally, inas memory or creativity. First, we explain how “The mind–body connection” chapter, we willit works and then we offer the most effective introduce you to the type of foods, exercise, andpuzzles to exercise that particular mental function. other physical pick-me-ups that raise brain power.Technique pages offer 36 Memory Technique: the journey method 37tips and strategies forimproving brain function The Journey Method 1 Front door: a bandaged dog sits on the front 2 A man sat on the park bench with 3 The pond in the park has a duck with The Journey Method or Method of Loci (to use doorstep stethoscope a bright its original name) is a technique for memorizing around his mohawk long lists of items. It has been practiced since the neck haircut. ancient Greek era, a time when long speeches had to be recited without recourse to notes because paper was such a luxury. The method is a type of mnemonic link system based on memorizing items along an imagined journey or series of locations (loci) that are familiar to you. You do this by associating the object with 4 A tree in the a point in the imagined location or journey. Since START YOUR park has been struck by lightning the human brain thinks more readily in pictures it MEMORY 14 Brain potential Introduction: picture the brain 15 TO DO LIST 1 Give dog medicine 2 Book doctor’s appointment Picture the brain These parts activate our emotions, appetites, the spinal cord. Specialized types of neurons, 3 Go to hair appointment 4 Pay electricity bill The brain looks a bit like a giant crinkled rubbery mushroom, instincts, pain and pleasure sensations, and other including sensory neurons and motor neurons, 5 Buy milk with the average adult brain weighing about 3 lbs 5 oz (1.5 kg). drives that are essential to survival. The amygdala allow us to feel and act respectively. All neurons 5 A teacher 6 Buy birthday card for Mom outside the school activates emotional responses, such as fear or respond to stimuli, and communicate the presence Cerebral cortex 7 Hang out washing is drawing a cow Frontal lobe Corpus callosum euphoria, while the hypothalamus is the control of stimuli to the central nervous system, and then on the blackboard 8 Mail letter Thalamus center for brain-to-body, body-to-brain messages, to the relevant part of the brain, which processes Parietal lobe causing, for example, blood pressure to rise when the information and sends responses to other parts we are agitated. The thalamus receives auditory of the body for action. Each neuron is connected to and visual sensory signals and relays them to approximately 10,000 others by frondlike tendrils. the outer layer of the brain, known as the The dendrites are the “receivers,” and axons, cerebral cortex, where the information is the “transmitters.” The neurons are not actually processed. The hippocampus is critical to learning joined together but touch each other. When and remembering spatial layouts. At the very back neurons communicate, the gaps at the touch points of the brain lies the cerebellum, which handles are filled with with neurotransmitters, chemicals that movement and balance and, along with the brain carry pulses or “electrical messages.” The myelin stem, is the part of the brain that evolved first, sheath acts as an insulator and increases the Mega memory inherited from our primeval ancestors. It keeps speed and efficiency of the pulses. Memory experts believe that by us alive by controlling our involuntary body applying the Journey Method a Hypothalamus 6 The woman functions, including breathing and digestion. Dendrites person with ordinary memorization at the flower capabilities, after establishing the Amygdala stall is wearing route stop-points of their own a birthday Hippocampus What are neurons? cake hat “Journey,” can use it to remember the sequence of a shuffled deck of cards Temporal lobe Neurons are the cells in the nervous system that Myelin sheath with less than an hour of practice. Occipital lobe transmit information by electrochemical signaling. Cerebellum They are the core components of the brain and Axon Your brain is divided into two hemispheres: the frontal lobes, left and the right. These are linked by a central which are considered the home of our personality. processing unit called the corpus callosum. The uppermost part of the frontal lobes is involved The sum of its parts Each half is split into four more compartments: in solving problems, activating spontaneous Each hemisphere deals with different types of mental activity. The responses, retrieving memories, applying left side deals with logic, numbers, language, lists, and analysis occipital lobe, which judgment, and controlling impulses. It also handles much of your visual sense. modulates our social and sexual behavior. This area is more developed in humans than in any —the so-called reasoning activities. The right side is more visual, and deals with imagination, color, spatial awareness, pattern, recognition, and making sense of the abstract. Fact file boxes reveal temporal lobes, which are involved in the organization of sound, other animals. Most people seem to have a dominant side. The crucial word here is “dominant." It’s a natural preference, and not an absolute. What this means is that when you’re learning something new, your fascinating facts about the memory, speech, and emotional responses. The limbic system parietal lobes, Inside the ridges and grooves of each hemisphere brain prefers to learn in a certain way. It is not so much that you are biologically right-brain- or left-brain-dominant, but that generally you’ve become comfortable with applying one side more than the workings of the brain as well which handle sensations, such as touch, body lie a set of structures forming what is known as the other. The truth is that in practice you are always using both sides of awareness, pain, pressure, and body temperature. They also help you with spatial orientation. limbic system. This system includes the amygdala, hypothalamus, thalamus, and hippocampus. the brain simply because most tasks demand it, so you shouldn’t get too hung up on this division. as the latest research findings
  9. 9. How to use this book 9Hints and strategies work with the material. There are also “fact file”We also include techniques throughout the book, boxes, which offer fascinating information aboutsuch as “The Journey Method” (see p.36) for the workings of the brain.improving memory or “The physical recharge” You can use all the tips and techniques you(see p.146) to increase mental alertness. These have learned to complete the mix of exercises inappear as discrete features between exercises, and the final workout (Chapter 8). You may then wantcome complete with an example of how and why to return to the start and retest yourself againstyou might use the technique. We encourage you the puzzles in the “Where are you at?” sectionto learn and apply these to the relevant exercises to assess overall improvement.in the chapter. We might prompt you to use aspecific technique to complete an exercise so thatyou become familiar with applying it, which is an Solutionsimportant part of improving your brainpower. Finally, you can find the solutions and/or explanationsAlso, try to learn the hints and tips we offer to the puzzles at the back of the book. Look forthroughout the book (denoted by the lightning the solutions arrow at the foot of the page, whichstrike icon), as these will enhance your ability to guides you to the specific page number. The colored band at the top of the page indicates puzzle pages Answer boxes to fill in as you work through the puzzles 52 Visual reasoning and spatial awareness Exercises: visual teasers 53 Top tip boxes are indicated Visual teasers 6. Reversed digits 7. Quick-speed counting by a lightning strike icon The following puzzles have been designed to exercise your Circle the numbers below that have A: Count the number of times the number skills of image and pattern recognition. There are others that been reversed. “6” appears below. will hone your concentration and test your logical aptitude. B: At the same time, count the number of “3”s: times both “3”s and “7”s appear in the sequence below (don’t just count all the 2. Guess the picture “3”s, and then the “7”s). “7”s: What would you see in the picture if you assembled the Feature: thinking outside the box 79 pieces together? 1234467889974674657865876576576 3576573625432657346578436578342 2732188582735827456724687343828 Top tips Challenge assumptions—don’t just fall back on accepted ways of 7672878682768723682376783768267 thinking but question everything that 2647648823178346432764876774653 has been done or is known. Find focal objects—pick an object Description: 7436574386581483627868653873456 at random (or a word from a dictionary) and see what thoughts the The nine dot puzzle 1. The standard solution: You object or word inspires. run the pen outside the nine dot boundary to join the dots. Harvest ideas—when you’ve come 8. Largest circle up with as many new ideas as you If the circles represented by arcs can, begin the process of harvesting A, B, and C were completed, which by selecting the best ones. 3. Triangle test 4. Spot the flipper 5. Cake for eight would have the greatest diameter? A Invent alternatives—allow yourself plenty of time to come up with new How many right-angled Take a look at the three shapes. Each one is How do you cut a cake into A B ideas, perhaps setting yourself a triangles can you create in exactly the same but one has been flipped over 8 equal-sized pieces with this figure by connecting so that you can see the other side. For each only 3 cuts? Mozart effect: does it work? minimum (say, 50) before you begin So does listening to certain types of classical music your analysis. any 3 dots? question work out which shape has been flipped. B C increase spatial reasoning and improve visual Provide provocation—deliberately B set up a wild counterpart to the A recognition? The “Mozart effect” was first mooted C in the field of childhood development in the early normally accepted idea, not as an end in itself, but as a possible pathway to 1990s. The term comes from a study that claimed that new ideas. since neurons firing in specific patterns can lead to an 1 2 3 2. If you had a thick pencil, Shape concepts—look closely at 1 2 3 increase in intelligence, music could be used to activate you could join the dots with clusters of ideas that have sprung up those patterns because the brain responds to specific just three lines. and see whether you can group any sound frequencies. The researchers conducting the study together into concepts. maintained that when children receive musical stimulus Suspend judgment—don’t rush to 1 2 3 their brains form connections between neurons in judge any new ideas, however strange 1 2 3 patterns that also help them with spatial reasoning. they may appear at first. D However, a number of followup studies have found no C such correlation. In fact, many cynics believe that the triangles Solutions on p.174 media has exaggerated and distorted the claims. Just go crazy! While thinking laterally, you are encouraged to consider trivial or ridiculous ideas. This is because you are 5. If you laid the paper on 4. Even with a thinner pencil, 3. Why stop at three lines? using the information not for its own the ground, you could draw You could still make do with Why not take a very thick value but for its knock-on effect. Each one long line, which circles the three lines by folding the paper pencil and do the job with idea is a stepping stone to another earth three times, joining one so that the dots were closer to just one line?Solutions arrows provide row of dots each time. each other. idea. You will probably head into many strange directions as you jump from one idea to another but at some stagepage references for answers you will reach an innovative solution.and explanations
  10. 10. Chapter 1Brain potential
  11. 11. 12 Brain potentialBrain powerYour brain is the most sophisticated objectin the known universe. Millions of messagesare speeding through your nervous systemat any given moment, enabling your brainto receive, process, and store information,and to send instructions all over the body. Your brain is capable of so much morethan you might give it credit for. Just take amoment to consider all the things made byhuman beings. From the earliest tool, such asa pickax, to the modern skyscraper, and fromthe largest dam to the smallest microchip—thehuman brain is where all of these objects werefirst conceived. Undoubtedly, the brain is themost powerful tool at mankind’s disposal. Your brain works around the clock. Itgenerates more electrical impulses each daythan all the mobile phones in the world. Youhave billions of tiny brain nerve cells interactingwith each other in permutations that havebeen estimated to equal 1 with 800 zerosbehind it. (To make that remotely graspable,the number of atoms in the world—one of thesmallest material things we can get a fix on—is estimated to be 1.33 with 48 zeros after it.)Did you know?Your brain runs on less power than your refrigerator light.That’s about 12 watts of power. During the course of a dayyour brain uses the amount of energy contained in a smallchocolate bar, around 230 calories. Even though these factsmight make the brain sound efficient, in relative terms, it isan energy hog. Your brain accounts for merely 2 percent of the body’s weight, but consumes 20 percent of the body’s total energy. Your brain requires a tenth of a calorie per minute merely to survive. Your brain consumes energy at ten times the rate of the rest of the body per gram of tissue. The majority of this energy goes into maintenance of the brain.
  12. 12. Introduction: brain power 13Strengths and weaknessesSo, if we have such a powerful brain, why arent can be proficient when it comes to reading maps,we all good at everything? Why are some of us another might be more creative, and a third, moreforgetful? Why do some of us have trouble logical. Of course, this is a crude analogy becausereading maps? Why do some of us lack a sense the different areas of the brain function togetherof rhythm? Surely with all that “electrical” activity for most tasks and a specific area dominates, butgoing on inside our heads, we shouldn’t be faced it does illustrate how the brain differs from personwith these difficulties? to person. In short, it’s a question of education Think of the brain as a busy fairground with and genetics. So, don’t be too hard on yourselfan assortment of rides and attractions, each if you think you’re bad at math or terrible atrepresenting a different area of the brain, and languages. The chances are that you excel inthink of the people as the tiny nerve cells or another area.“neurons” (see p.15). Now, the popularity of However, this doesn’t mean you cannotthe various attractions tends to differ from one develop a mental ability that you consider weakerfairground to another; a ride in one fairground than another. It’s wrong to think that just becausemay draw more people than the same ride in you’re not naturally gifted in something, suchanother. In brain terms, the “popular rides” are as math or map-reading, that there’s no point inthe parts of the brain with lots of “nerve cell” trying to improve it. Your brain is similar to anyactivity and, hence, tend to be more developed. muscle in your body in that exercise will raise itsThis development is aided significantly by the kind potency. You can always strive to improve andof education we receive as a child. One person expand your current mental aptitude.
  13. 13. 14 Brain potentialPicture the brainThe brain looks a bit like a giant crinkled rubbery mushroom,with the average adult brain weighing about 3 lbs 5 oz (1.5 kg).Cerebral cortex Frontal lobe Corpus callosum ThalamusParietal lobe Hypothalamus Amygdala Temporal lobe Hippocampus Occipital lobe CerebellumYour brain is divided into two hemispheres: the frontal lobes,left and the right. These are linked by a central which are considered the home of our personality.processing unit called the corpus callosum. The uppermost part of the frontal lobes is involvedEach half is split into four more compartments: in solving problems, activating spontaneous responses, retrieving memories, applying occipital lobe, which judgment, and controlling impulses. It alsohandles much of your visual sense. modulates our social and sexual behavior. This area is more developed in humans than in any temporal lobes, other animals.which are involved in the organization of sound,memory, speech, and emotional responses. The limbic system parietal lobes, Inside the ridges and grooves of each hemispherewhich handle sensations, such as touch, body lie a set of structures forming what is known as theawareness, pain, pressure, and body temperature. limbic system. This system includes the amygdala,They also help you with spatial orientation. hypothalamus, thalamus, and hippocampus.
  14. 14. Introduction: picture the brain 15These parts activate our emotions, appetites, the spinal cord. Specialized types of neurons,instincts, pain and pleasure sensations, and other including sensory neurons and motor neurons,drives that are essential to survival. The amygdala allow us to feel and act respectively. All neuronsactivates emotional responses, such as fear or respond to stimuli, and communicate the presenceeuphoria, while the hypothalamus is the control of stimuli to the central nervous system, and thencenter for brain-to-body, body-to-brain messages, to the relevant part of the brain, which processescausing, for example, blood pressure to rise when the information and sends responses to other partswe are agitated. The thalamus receives auditory of the body for action. Each neuron is connected toand visual sensory signals and relays them to approximately 10,000 others by frondlike tendrils.the outer layer of the brain, known as the The dendrites are the “receivers,” and axons,cerebral cortex, where the information is the “transmitters.” The neurons are not actuallyprocessed. The hippocampus is critical to learning joined together but touch each other. Whenand remembering spatial layouts. At the very back neurons communicate, the gaps at the touch pointsof the brain lies the cerebellum, which handles are filled with with neurotransmitters, chemicals thatmovement and balance and, along with the brain carry pulses or “electrical messages.” The myelinstem, is the part of the brain that evolved first, sheath acts as an insulator and increases theinherited from our primeval ancestors. It keeps speed and efficiency of the pulses.us alive by controlling our involuntary bodyfunctions, including breathing and digestion. DendritesWhat are neurons?Neurons are the cells in the nervous system that Myelin sheathtransmit information by electrochemical signaling.They are the core components of the brain and Axon The sum of its parts Each hemisphere deals with different types of mental activity. The left side deals with logic, numbers, language, lists, and analysis —the so-called reasoning activities. The right side is more visual, and deals with imagination, color, spatial awareness, pattern, recognition, and making sense of the abstract. Most people seem to have a dominant side. The crucial word here is “dominant." It’s a natural preference, and not an absolute. What this means is that when you’re learning something new, your brain prefers to learn in a certain way. It is not so much that you are biologically right-brain- or left-brain-dominant, but that generally you’ve become comfortable with applying one side more than the other. The truth is that in practice you are always using both sides of the brain simply because most tasks demand it, so you shouldn’t get too hung up on this division.
  15. 15. 16 Brain potentialWhat is intelligence?Now that we’ve introduced the brain, let’s talk about intelligence or, morespecifically, what makes you intelligent. Intelligence is a difficult term todefine. It can mean different things to different people. In fact, the scientificcommunity has been debating its meaning for a long time and there is stillcontroversy over its exact definition and the ways to measure it. The “IQ” test was once regarded as the best way to measure intelligence.However, there is now a general awareness ofits shortcomings, namely, that it only testsspecific branches of intelligence (seeopposite). The important thing to bearin mind is that being intelligent isnot only about excelling in a narrowacademic field, or having a broadgeneral knowledge, or even beinggood at spelling or math. All thosethings require a degree of intelligencebut do not define intelligence. Rather,intelligence reflects a broader and deeperaptitude for understanding multiple thingsin one’s surroundings, for catching on,making sense of things, or figuring outwhat to do in any given circumstance.It’s about possessing the ability toanalyze and evaluate, to imagine andinvent, and, in practical terms, beingable to apply and implementideas successfully.
  16. 16. Introduction: what is intelligence? 17Strands of intelligenceThere are innumerable strands of intelligence, such as thecapacities to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly,comprehend ideas, use language, and learn. People’sintelligence may also be characterized by their ability to adaptto a new environment, or their ability to form healthyrelationships, or their capacity for original and productivethought. Furthermore, one could point out more specific strandsof intelligence. For example, a person who excels in a specificsport is demonstrating a high level of kinesthetic intelligence,whereas a person who can manipulate melody and rhythmhas high musical intelligence. In that respect, both JohannSebastian Bach and David Beckham could be regardedas highly intelligent people in their respective fields.The IQ test Brain training and tient,IQ is the acronym for intelligence quo intelligence raland refers to a score given for seve According to research carried out by the University chstandardized intelligence tests. Fren of Michigan, a good brain-training program can the psychologist Alfred Binet developed improve working memory and boost general first of these in 1905. He constructed d, problem-solving ability, which can raise general the IQ test, as it would later be calle intelligence. In the study, after recording the to determine which chil dren might need s. The subjects’ mental agility in a variety of cognitive additional help in scholarly pursuit tests, the researchers gave the subjects a series of modern-day IQ test is primarily based on g, brain-training exercises. This mental workout was three intelligences: verbal reasonin given to four groups, who repeated the exercises al numerical reasoning, and visual-spati for 8, 12, 17, or 19 days. After the training the on your reasoning. The system scores you researchers retested the subjects’ intelligence. simple understanding of everyday words, Although the performance arithmetical concep ts, and the ability to of the untrained group recognize shapes and interpret improved marginally, the representational pictures. trained subjects showed a significant improvement, which increased with the amount of time spent training. This suggests that a good brain-training program is an effective way to boost intelligence.
  17. 17. 18 Brain potentialLooking to learnHow much do you learn from your sense of sight? Well,in general, most experts agree that about 75 percent ofyour learning is through your visual sense. Take babies,for instance. With their inquisitive eyes they pick upbehavior traits by observing the things that peopledo around them; they process and interpret facialexpressions and physical gestures. From a singleglance, babies can tell when their mothers are happyor angry with them. It’s not something that everchanges. Consider two people who go out on a firstdate. How much attention are they really paying tothe conversation and how much attention are theyspending on reading each other’s body language? The fact that you pick up a great deal of information fromsight isn’t surprising since about 40 percent of your brain isdedicated to seeing and processing visual material. On average,most people know the names of approximately 10,000 objectsand can recognize them by their shapes alone.
  18. 18. Introduction: looking to learn 19Visual senseYour visual sense is key to interacting with the The ability to glean information from moreworld around you. By the time most children are abstract types of visuals, such as tables,six years old, it is estimated that they’ve already graphs, webs, maps, and illustrations, is uniquecommitted to memory the names of a fifth of to the human race. By being able to interpretthe objects they will know in their lifetime. information from such sources, you are ableStudies have shown that visual stimulation helps to find meaning, reorganize and group similarbrain development the most, and aids more things, and compare and analyze disparatesophisticated types of learning both when information. In learning, your visual sense isyou’re growing up and during adulthood. undoubtedly the most useful and widely used.Taking instructionThe amazing thing about the visual part of your brain is that once it seessomething a certain way, it tries to develop a memory of it. For example,if you’re trying to learn a dance sequence from watching someone elseperform, your brain will collect the visual information, process it, and thentry to memorize it. You can then use the memory to practice and developproficiency. Let’s stimulate your visual sense to learn something new.Seeing is believingTry this. What do you see in the image below? Take a look at the Of course, it’s a maple leaf—the motif image on the right.of the Canadian flag. But look What do you see: theagain. Can you see the two face of a young womanmen who are clearly or a saxophonist playingriled, and head-butting his instrument? If youeach other? Look closely. study the picture for longTheir faces are formed by enough, eventually youthe outline of the top half of will be able to see boththe leaf. The men have very images, and your brain willpointed noses. develop a memory of both. From now on, every time you seethe Canadian flag, your mind’s eyewill flit between the picture of the A visual guide The puzzles and exercises throughout the book have amaple leaf and the two angry strong visual element. Following this principle, you willmen. You tend to learn find that the brain-training program provides you withmore when your a constant interplay between words and images. Thispreconceptions have synergy will help you exercise your cognitive muscles thebeen challenged. If you most. In fact, one study showed that those who usedsee something you think you visual presentation tools to convey information wererecognize but it turns out to be 43 percent more successful than those who did not.something else, that’s memorable.
  19. 19. 20 Brain potentialWhere are you at?Welcome to the Brain Training program. Before we introduce youto some of the tips and techniques for improving various mentalfaculties, let’s find out your current mental agility. The following exercises will introduce you to the type of brainworkout that will primarily stimulate your visual sense, but we’vealso included some nonvisual tests to provide a contrast. You’ll begiven a score for each exercise you complete. Add up the score atthe end to find out your current cognitive aptitude. 1. Home and away A: Try to memorize these 9 B: Now try to memorize these simple landmarks in order in 9 household objects in order in 1 minute. Then cover them 1 minute. Then cover them up up and see how many you and see how many you can can remember. remember. Window Radio Toothbrush Wastebasket Book Magazine Frame Plate Grand Canyon Cup Eiffel Tower Statue of Liberty Taj Mahal Acropolis Niagara Falls Egyptian Pyramids Great Wall of China Mount Rushmore 2. Number sequences Work out the next number in each of the following sequences. A: 3, 12, 48, 192 B: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8 C: 2, 5, 10, 17, 26 D: 5, 13, 29, 61, 125 Solutions on p.172
  20. 20. Exercises: where are you at? 213. Building fences 4. Goat, cabbage, and wolfWhich pile of sticks was used to create the fence? A farmer needs to ferry a goat, a cabbage, and a wolf across a river. Besides the farmer himself, the boat A allows him to carry only one of them at a time. Without supervision, the goat will gobble up the cabbage and the wolf will not hesitate to feast on the goat. How can he ferry all of them safely to the other side? B C5. Mental arithmeticComplete this set of mental arithmetic questions in thefastest time possible.A: F K:B: G: L:C: H: M:D: I: N:E: J: O:6. A perfect circle?Is the inner shape a perfect circle, or just a little warped?Look closely. perfect circle warped Novelty factor What makes good mental stimulation? The answer is challenge, novelty, and variety. Don’t do only numerical exercises because that will only stimulate your number- crunching skills, and if you concentrate only on crosswords, it will fire up only your aptitude for language. And if you only look at words and numbers, that won’t spark your visual and spatial awareness. Returning to the fairground not just the ones that you are good at or like the most.
  21. 21. 22 Brain potential7. Personal diaryWrite down two specific things you did ... A: Yesterday B: C: D:Note: you’re not allowed to write the same things.8. Dog and bone 9. Light switches Solutions on p.172
  22. 22. Exercises: where are you at? 23 10. Speed reading Read out loud the following passage as fast as you can and try to articulate every word. Examining how you react in a give n situation You are definitely not saying might be a useful way to understa that “this is nd thoughts and what will happen under the feelings you find difficult to put into se circumstances," words. It might but you are holding it up as give you an insight into your own a mirror to yourself, deeper motives, and noting the sorts of beliefs and enlighten you to personal anxi , expectations, eties and frailties feelings, judgments, and anx that you might have not been cons ieties that you may cious of before. well find yourself bringing to You can access these emotions by such a situation. creating or Putting something into this finding a story or parable that is clea framework makes rly fictional, but it easier to describe your con nevertheless has some parallels to cern to others, and a real situation may increase the range of me you are facing. Ideally, you would taphors and images read it to yourself you can naturally use when (or you could draw your own pictu talking to others. re, whichever Should some areas of the sto you prefer doing). ry summon strong If you choose to create your own, negative feelings, this may you don’t suggest a need for have to be a good drawer or writer finding positive ways to han (stick figure dle similar feelings in drawings or amateur narration wou the real situation for instanc ld suffice). It e, getting a colleague isn’t necessary for anyone else to to help you out in situations see or read your you may not handle work, although it is usually more prod too well. Similarly, if you find uctive if you yourself being can get someone else’s perspective judgmental or negative abo or reaction. ut someone in your Because the story or picture is not story, you may need to dev a description elop ways to see such of your actual situation, you are at people more compassionate liberty to be ly. creative—you can make things hap In time, you may become aw pen as you wish are of cultural them to; you can present things in assumptions and expectatio particular ways ns—what “ought” or just because they “feel right." You “ought not” to happen by you can note what r (but perhaps not has to happen for you to feel com other people’s) conventions. fortable.Benefits of reading aloudModern brain-scanning techniques such as fMRI (functional people don’t often do whenThere is intense activity in areas associated with articulation Children, in particular, should beand hearing the sound of the spoken response, which encouraged to read aloud becausestrengthens the connective structures of your brain cells for the brain is wired for learning through connections that are created by positiveconcentration. Reading aloud is also a good way to developyour oratory skills because it forces you to read each and and reading aloud.
  23. 23. 24 Brain potential11. Spot the differenceStudy the picture on the left for 30 seconds. Then coverit up and circle the 6 alterations made to the samepicture on the right. = 3 points12. Numerical jigsaw 13. Visual logic test Look at the set of pictures below. Which one doesn’tsymbols. Rearrange these strips in the quickest time belong in each group?rows. In each equation, operations are done horizontally. AWrite the correct answers in the grid provided. A A B B B C C C D D D = 3 points correct answer
  24. 24. Exercises: where are you at? 2514. Manhole covers 15. Moving by degreesWhy is it better to have round manhole covers than If the hour hand on a clock movessquare ones? Look at the picture and think about it. It’s 1⁄60th of a degree every minute,not a trick question. There is more than one answer. then how many degrees will the hour hand move in one hour?16. Motorcycle parts 17. Straight lines?Which of the four options has exactly the right parts Are the two horizontal lines straight or curved?to complete the motorcycle? straight curved A B Did you know? Generally, it’s accepted that brain function naturally starts unlike athletes being at their physical peak and then having to work harder to keep fit as they get older. The good news C D is that there’s no need to worry. The size and weight of your brain remains roughly the same until you reach 90, providing that you keep it active. In fact, there’s no reason to believe that you can’t keep your brain lively throughout your life by giving it new experiences, challenges, tests, and puzzles. These improve cell connections so that your brain’s overall function remains sound Solutions on p.172 regardless of your age.
  25. 25. 26 Brain Potential18. Abstract artWhat you see on the right is theRey-Osterrieth Complex FigureTest. Neurologists commonly useit to assess a patient’s memoryand attention span. Look at the figure and copy iton a separate sheet of paper. Thisshould help you memorize thedetails. Then cover up the originaland the copy, and begin drawingit from memory on a piece ofpaper. You have 1 minute to drawas much of it as you can. Howmuch of it can you recall?19. Magic square 20. Color mazesThe numbers in all rows, columns, Find a path from the bottom left to the topand both diagonals of the grid add right that passes through an equal number of squares of each (nonwhite) color. To thenumbers 1 to 9; a number cannot right is a solved example.be repeated. We’ve filled threesquares. Fill in the missing numbers: Note: the line passes through two yellow squares, two red squares, and two blue squares. 6 A: B: C: 5 8
  26. 26. Exercises: where are you at? 27 21. A perfectly boiled egg You want to boil an egg for 15 minutes. However, you have only a 7-minute and an 11-minute egg timer at your disposal. How can you ensure that you boil the egg for exactly 15 minutes using only these two timers? Write your answer down on a separate sheet of paper. 22. Spot the odd picture In the list below, can you identify the picture that doesn’t belong in each of the groups? 23. Odd word out A bear cat tiger dog fish A B stream pond lagoon lake C cotton wood stool metal B D lawn thicket forest jungle E Chepre Cyprus Corfu Zypern C correct answer D How did you do? It’s time to add up your points. Turn to pages 172 and 173 for the answers and figure out your score. There is a total of 100 points up for grabs. YOUR SCORE: /100 E How well have you done so far? Has your score impressed you? Did you perform well in some areas and moderately in others? That’s only natural, because it’s uncommon for a person to be equally good at numerical reasoning and verbal reasoning, for example. Bringing all your brain activities up to the correct answer level of their highest potential is what this book is for. Now continue to find out how to hone each mentalSolutions on p.173 faculty with tips, techniques, and more exercises.
  27. 27. Chapter 2Memory

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