Thursday, May 26, 2005

Some ways to boost your brain.

To make homeschooling or even afterschooling work you need to make time for it. I will add some material to make doing things easier as I come across them.

New Scientist has an interesting article on 11 ways to boost your brain.

I don't know if I would agree with the drugs or the technological implants but the good old fashioned eat well, get enough sleep, listen to good music and some exercise are things that I used all the time in college giving me an edge over the poor guys who stayed up all night cramming for exams the next morning.

Something I haven't really tried are some of the other memory enhancing tricks they talk about:
First, learn a trick from the "mnemonists" who routinely memorise strings of thousands of digits, entire epic poems, or hundreds of unrelated words. When Eleanor Maguire from University College London and her colleagues studied eight front runners in the annual World Memory Championships they did not find any evidence that these people have particularly high IQs or differently configured brains. But, while memorising, these people did show activity in three brain regions that become active during movements and navigation tasks but are not normally active during simple memory tests...

Actors use a related technique: they attach emotional meaning to what they say. We always remember highly emotional moments better than less emotionally loaded ones. Professional actors also seem to link words with movement, remembering action-accompanied lines significantly better than those delivered while static, even months after a show has closed...

Strategy is important in everyday life too, says Barry Gordon from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Simple things like always putting your car keys in the same place, writing things down to get them off your mind, or just deciding to pay attention, can make a big difference to how much information you retain. And if names are your downfall, try making some mental associations. Just remember to keep the derogatory ones to yourself...

I have been using index cards to write things down and get them off my mind. I am using the organization techniques from Getting Things Done. One of the major ones is to write everything down, and a great way to do that is to make a Hipster PDA which is made of index cards, and I use all the time, even my 2-year-old daughter loves to use it.


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