Simple ways to make yourself smarter

make yourself smarterThe BBC will have 100 contestants following the advice in a 50-page Get Smarter Guide for a week, and airing the results in a programme called “Get Smarter in a Week”. The exercises include moving around your home blindfolded, showering with your eyes closed, using your computer mouse with your ‘wrong’ hand for an hour a day, doing crossword puzzles, and playing games such as Scrabble and charades. All of this is pretty common sense advice: exercise body, mind, and soul and eat healthy; but it only works if you apply it to your life every day, and this programme might mislead people into thinking that doing it for a week will have a permanent effect on their IQ.In their trial run with 15 volunteers they recorded 40% increases in IQ for some participants. However, Vaughan at Mindhacks.com points out that the trial had no control group, so the effects could be due to non-specific effects such as the placebo effect or Pygmalion effect. Sometimes the fact that someone is helping you is enough for you to improve.Even with the glitches it should be an interesting programme, so I’m keeping my eye on DSTV to see if they’ll be airing it in South Africa.Update: In the same line, Science News has a two-part series on brain fitness through exercise and nutrition.

2006.03.10