Becoming Clever(er)

The Guardian has a really cool article this week that talks about a new program for the BBC that will attempt to prove a science concept with 100 random people.

While the show sounds interesting enough, it was the science that really grabbed my attention.  Apparently, scientists have mapped out several techniques, that, taken together can boost one’s cleverness by as much as 40% in one week.

Some of the techniques the article talks about are:  “watching Countdown, playing Sudoku, remembering telephone numbers and taking a shower with your eyes closed.” The article even gives you a seven day guide to trying out some techniques.

A lot of the techniques seem to be based on pattern-breaking.  That is, they techniques seem to be focused on re-directing your own automatic and / or repetitive motions on a conscious basis to make yourself act in new and unfamiliar ways.  Alternately, some techniques ask you to put yourself into a new or unknown situation.

The idea of habits equalling dullness is not new.  Think about expressions like “stuck in a rut” or “going around in circles”.  In fact, the idea of breaking patterns to become more creative is not new either.  How many times have you been told to “think outside the box”?  However, it is interesting to see these pieces of conventional wisdom get codified under scientific principles.

Unfortunately,  I probably will not be able to see the program as I do not recieve the BBC channels.  However, I do intend to try a few of these techniques, just out of curiosity, and will, naturally, be posting about it.


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