The Neuroscience of Intelligence

Smarter Brain
In order to increase intelligence, it makes sense to first try and define what we mean by intelligence. How do you measure it and what precisely is it? As it happens, the official answer at this point is ‘no one knows’. Intelligence is a highly abstract concept and in fact might not even be a useful term at all. Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences One of the most useful measures of intelligence is IQ or Intelligence Quotient, which looks at our ability to use abstract reasoning and other forms of ‘fluid intelligence’ (fluid intelligence being dynamic and distinct from ‘crystalized intelligence’ – which amounts to knowledge). IQ scores are awarded on the basis of national averages. The problem with IQ is that it provides a single umbrella for ‘intelligence’ and…
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Sleep Better for Greater Waking Intelligence

Smarter Brain
We as humans have a tendency to overcomplicate. Those interested in boosting their brain power for instance might feel tempted to focus on strategies such as brain plasticity, or nootropics before considering the most fundamental and basic changes they could make. Nutrition is one. But even more basic is sleep. If you want to upgrade your performance tomorrow, sleep better today. Not only will this clear adenosine from your brain, replenish key neurotransmitters to avoid things like adrenal fatigue and provide you with greater energy for more focus and energy, but it will also help to support learning by enabling the growth and reinforcement of neuronal connections while you rest. Sleep is the ultimate anabolic state – the ultimate example of rest and digest – and it is when what…
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Flow States

Smarter Brain
The brain veers between states of arousal and relaxation but within these two extremes are a number of specific states that we might consider to be more desirable than others when it comes to work and performance. One such state is the much vaunted ‘flow state’. This is the subject of much research at the moment and has gained a lot of interest online too. The flow state is a kind of ‘productivity panacea’ that is often described as being the highest state of human performance. In a flow state, you are completely fixated on the task at hand, completely turned off to distractions and able to process information much more quickly. You forget to get up to pee, you forget to eat and you put out your best work.…
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Ebbs and Flows in Your Productivity

Smarter Brain
How do you get the very most out of your brain? For many people, the obvious answer seems to be that they should find ways to hack it, to bend it to their will and to make sure that it operates as they wish at all times. Not feeling productive? Then the answer surely is to find ways to become more productive and focussed, to drive distracting thoughts out of your head and to fixate on what you’re doing. But perhaps this isn’t the most effective strategy. Perhaps in fact, this is counterproductive. Instead, what if you chose to let your mental state dictate your activities… so that when you felt focussed you worked on tasks that required focus? And when you felt relaxed, you instead spent time being creative.…
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The Limits of the Human Mind

Smarter Brain
Many of us are fascinated with the idea of increasing our intelligence, our focus and our memory. If we could increase our capabilities in these areas, then we could solve more problems, we could succeed in our careers, and we could gain the respect of our peers. But can the brain really be upgraded? Is there such thing as a real ‘Limitless’ pill? And do all these brain training games really work? The Hidden Potential of the Brain You’ve probably heard claims that we only use a small percentage of our brain and that we have lots of untapped potential. Well the latter point is true, but the former is a complete myth and misunderstands the way our brain works. Likewise, many ‘brain training games’ have been shown to only…
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Designing Your Brain With Brain Training

Smarter Brain
Brain plasticity effectively means that you can grow and reshape your brain in just the same way you can reshape your muscle. That in turn means that just as a bodybuilder can increase their muscle size and choose the physique they want, so too can you potentially use brain training to develop key brain areas and to design the kind of intelligence you want. The general principle behind growing and shaping your brain is the exact same as the general principle behind growing and reshaping muscle. That is SAID: Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands. You want better math ability? Then do more math. You want better spatial awareness? Then use that part of your brain. Most of us don’t look at the brain in that way though. We use brain…
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Changing Your Physiology to Change Your Mind

Smarter Brain
In order to perform your best, you need to be in the perfect state of mind. That means that you need to have just the right chemical balance of neurotransmitters in order to be slightly aroused and alert but not to the point of being stressed to distraction. During times of relaxation, you of course want to tone down that stress to achieve a relaxed state of mind, which is also optimal for being creative. You can use nootropics, brain training, visualization and more to achieve this, or you can rely on your natural cycles and simply choose the right time to work. Our body goes through natural cycles based on what we eat, what the weather is like and even our breathing. But alternatively, you could also consider actively…
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Strength and Creativity Through Mental Control

Smarter Brain
If you’re interested in the concept of heightening human performance and getting the very most out of your brain and body, then chances are you will have come across the subject of flow states. Flow states are a mental state synonymous with heightened awareness and reflexes, when we are completely focussed and all distracting thoughts melt away. Flow states get a lot of positive attention and this is deserved for the most part; but they are often treated as a ‘cure all’ for our performance, along with increased mindfulness. Right now, all the literature regarding our mental health seems to be around ‘being in the moment’ or focussing more. But there is always a danger with something like this that we will become overly enamored with a single solution. Like…
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Accelerated Learning Techniques

Smarter Brain
From a neurological perspective, there are few things that are better for the development of true intelligence than to learn multiple subjects. This encourages the use of multiple brain areas and by learning lots of different subjects you can use them together – thereby enhancing the interconnectivity of your brain. Learning itself triggers the release of dopamine, BDNF and other neurotransmitters that enhance plasticity – meaning that the more we learn, the easier learning becomes. And having multiple skills means we can thrive in multiple different situations. This is one benefit of being a freelance writer – I’ve learned countless skills from how to pick a lock to how to fix the toilet! And if you want to learn more, faster, then you only need apply a range of ‘accelerated…
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Excuses Can Keep You From What You Want

Mental Wellness
Everyone has tried to set a goal at one point in his or her life. Goals keep us motivated and on task when we are trying to achieve things in our lives. Occasionally, excuses sneak into the equation when we go about our lives trying to reach our goals. What are some of the ways that excuses keep you from getting the things you want in life? Stop You From Taking Responsibility Excuses are a fantastic tool that our ego uses to help us not accept responsibility for our actions. Coaching Positive Performance notes that one of the keys to success is taking responsibility for your actions. When you make excuses, you are allowing yourself to avoid the responsibility your actions. Here are the top excuses and how they allow…
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