Brains In The News

Published on Sunday, May 11, 2008 in , , , ,

BrainMore and more news stories of interest to Grey Matters readers are crossing my desk, so it's probably time to catch you up on the news.

From the United Kingdom, we learn that brain training really can help boost your intelligence. Many people may have thought brain training games were a gimmick, albeit fun one, but there's now real science to back it up. If you'd like a better of idea of just how they help, eons.com has an in-depth post about the science behind brain games.

The United Kingdom sure seems interested in the topic of people's brains, because they've also looked into the average person's mental math abilities. It seems that, despite the fact that the average person needs to use basic mental math skills an average of 14 times a day, 25% of adults struggle with it. A study in Ohio suggests this is largely due to the use of concrete examples in math, which allegedly makes it harder to understand how to transfer those same math skills to other situations.

I lean towards the idea discussed in Kalid Azad's article A Gentle Introduction To Learning Calculus. He suggests that a major problem with math is that it is taught backwards, and suggests early teaching of the aha! moments from calculus concepts that make the concepts click. You should read the whole post, but Mr. Azad sums it up this way:

Imagine teaching art like this: Kids, no fingerpainting in kindergarten. Instead, let’s study paint chemistry, the physics of light, and the anatomy of the eye. After 12 years of this, if the kids (now teenagers) don’t hate art already, they may begin to start coloring on their own. After all, they have the “rigorous, testable” fundamentals to start appreciating art. Right?

There's a closely related article on the same site titled, How to Develop a Mindset for Math that I also highly recommend.

As today's final bit of news, Lifehacker recently posted a great list of their top 10 memory hacks. Each tip is given a brief description in the post itself, and then linked to sources where you can learn more about it.

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