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April 9, 2006 4:00 PM   Subscribe

Get Smart! Can a few simple exercises really sharpen your mental acuity in 7 short days? According to this BBC program, yes.
posted by vronsky (34 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I feel a strange disturbance in the spam. Like a thousand con-men sensing a new idea to send to us daily. A million sham companies appearing in the blink of an eye.

That said, why not? Who knows. If exercise can make other bits of us work better then perhaps it does work for our brains.
posted by sien at 4:04 PM on April 9, 2006


wearing glasses and smoking a pipe makes you 30% smarter in a week too.
posted by wumpus at 4:04 PM on April 9, 2006


so, I gotta go to a Yoga / Pilates class to get smarter?
posted by Busithoth at 4:24 PM on April 9, 2006


Who showers with their eyes open? WTF?
posted by dobbs at 4:27 PM on April 9, 2006


I think that keeping yourself sharp is always a good thing (in other words, sitting on a couch watching TV all day probably won't make you the smartest kid on the block) but I don't know how well this particular regimen would work for everyone - also, as someone who uses public transit almost exclusively (and dozes off on nearly every commute), how does taking the bus make you smarter than you might otherwise be by driving?
posted by OverlappingElvis at 4:28 PM on April 9, 2006


Everyday: Have oily fish in pants.
posted by furtive at 4:28 PM on April 9, 2006


dobbs : "Who showers with their eyes open? WTF?"

Well, not the entire time, but when the water isn't hitting my face, I do. I just close them during the face and hair phases of the shower procedure.
posted by Bugbread at 4:33 PM on April 9, 2006


So wumpus - does wearing contacts make you dumber?
posted by PurplePorpoise at 4:37 PM on April 9, 2006


The tests conducted for Get Smarter in a Week appear to bear out the growing belief among scientists that making simple changes to our lifestyle can lead to significant improvements in how well our brains function

I wouldn't get too excited, but it sounds cool.

so, I gotta go to a Yoga / Pilates class to get smarter?

I think an equivalent would be pickup soccer/basketball, i.e social exercise.

I keep my eyes open when I shower too. I've always been over scared by our ability to "drown in 3 inches of water," whether or not that's an old wives tale, so I'm careful not to slip.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:38 PM on April 9, 2006


mrgrimm : "I've always been over scared by our ability to 'drown in 3 inches of water,' whether or not that's an old wives tale, so I'm careful not to slip."

If the water is deep enough to cover your nostrils and mouth, and there's enough of it that a snort or two will not drop the level so far that your nostrils and mouth are no longer covered, you can drown. The only caveats are, basically, that you have to be unconscious, paralyzed, or otherwise unable to move your head, or you would twist your nostrils and mouth out of the water.

I suspect you could probably drown in just an inch of water, but you'd have to be pointing straight down into it. The 3 inch thing probably just means that, even if your head is on its side (which is far more likely), with 3 inches you'd have nostrils in water and would be able to snort up lungfuls of water.
posted by Bugbread at 4:48 PM on April 9, 2006


"Missed it by that much"
posted by crunchland at 4:55 PM on April 9, 2006


What if I am presently at my highest possible level of intelligence. Mightn't a change in regimen cause me to become stupider? I'm not riskin it, thank you very much.
posted by notreally at 5:10 PM on April 9, 2006


"Sorry about that, chief."
posted by vronsky at 5:28 PM on April 9, 2006


This AskMe thread I posted last year may have some good links.

I think one needs a good taxonomy of mental attributes to know what is and isn't being significantly changed, in these trials. I don't think there's such a thing as "intelligence". Rather, it's more productive to think of the (varying) efficiency of basic sensorimotor skills, with efficiency of higher-level operations emerging in the same way as higher-level operations emerge from basic sensorimotor operations. In that sense, these BBC experiments are on the right track.
posted by Gyan at 5:29 PM on April 9, 2006


One guy actually scored lower - but they dismissed as the result of alcohol. So they dismiss the negative results by introducing some post-facto variable to account for it? Sounds suspect to me...
posted by vacapinta at 5:41 PM on April 9, 2006


If the water is deep enough to cover your nostrils and mouth, and there's enough of it that a snort or two will not drop the level so far that your nostrils and mouth are no longer covered, you can drown.

If you have that much water in the tub while you're showering, you really need to clean the drain.
posted by c13 at 6:02 PM on April 9, 2006


how does taking the bus make you smarter than you might otherwise be by driving?

ObRepoMan:
Miller: The more you drive, the less intelligent you are.
posted by Aknaton at 6:18 PM on April 9, 2006


These sound like ways to avoid automatic behavior more than things to make one more intelligent. Intentional living = intelligence?

SEE ALSO.
posted by Eideteker at 8:04 PM on April 9, 2006


I think that I will give it a try for a week; it's always good to try new things.

I feel smarter already.
posted by leftcoastbob at 9:27 PM on April 9, 2006


Who showers with their eyes open? WTF?

Unless the shower head is spraying directly into my face -- only when I'm washing it, basically, a tiny percentage of the Full Shower Experience -- I do.

WTF bounces off of me and sticks to you!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:41 PM on April 9, 2006


You open-eyed showerers are freaks! (And apparently not as clever as I!)
posted by dobbs at 11:03 PM on April 9, 2006


I shower with my eyes open. The fact that I shave while in the shower may have some influence in that regard, but I seem to remember always keeping my eyes open, regardless.
posted by bingo at 11:18 PM on April 9, 2006


Sien: it's already a profitable fad in the UK: see Bad Science on "Brain Gym".
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:28 AM on April 10, 2006


Of course, I shave daily with my off hand and my eyes closed in the shower. I'm going to guess, however, I've not gotten much brighter due to the blood loss induced head trauma from fallin...OOOOOOH! SHINY!
posted by Samizdata at 3:44 AM on April 10, 2006


I keep my eyes open when I shower too.

When my head is completely submerged, I sing Ariel's song from The Little Mermaid. I doubt this is going to make me smarter, but it might make me happier.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:08 AM on April 10, 2006


I totally shower with my eyes open, always have. Why not? Unless water or shampoo is getting directly into your eyes, why would you keep them clamped shut?

It seems to me that doing Sudoku and crosswords on a regular basis would definitely give the 'ol cortex a workout, and quicken ones associative and deductive ability.
posted by Nicholas West at 7:03 AM on April 10, 2006


I was a four stone apology before watching Countdown. Now I am two separate gorillas.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 7:12 AM on April 10, 2006


I wonder if the closed-eyed showerers ever mistake the shampoo for the conditioner, or vice-versa. Horrors!
posted by beth at 7:14 AM on April 10, 2006


I've always been one to get used to getting around my home in the dark. I turn the lights out shortly before bed, as the dark helps prepare me to sleep. Seldom any problem with it. I used to love wandering in the woods at night, but then I got to be such an early riser, I'm seldom awake during darkness.

However, I call bullshit on their line about giving up coffee. Coffee makes the mind move (and other things, too).
posted by Goofyy at 7:17 AM on April 10, 2006


I think coffee, in the long run, actually makes your mind tired and less efficient. I think.
posted by Nicholas West at 7:30 AM on April 10, 2006


I shower with my eyes open, but only because I am a mutant with transparent eyelids.
posted by Blue Stone at 7:49 AM on April 10, 2006


I've been playing Sudoku online for a while now, every morning. I didn't plan this, it's just that the MSN Zone version (the interface I like the best) only refreshes the puzzle once a day, so I tend to play first thing in the morning.

I can tell the difference in acuity, whether it's psychosomatic or not, usually by the afternoon. On those days where I've inadvertently skipped a session, I'm listless.

Alternatively, I've played Paint By Numbers (a link I first found here on Metafilter).
posted by thanotopsis at 9:58 AM on April 10, 2006


Given the usual quality of the BBC's science reporting, original research by the BBC just seems too ridiculous to contemplate.

On the other hand, this looks like fun, so what the hell?
posted by moss at 10:08 AM on April 10, 2006


If you look at the suggested activities, it appears that they may be more designed to break you out of your rut. Perhaps helping to stimulate a few new neural connections. However, if you repeated the same routine over and over, then you've just created a new rut for yourself.

Bear in mind however, that I had my share of wine last night, and showed with my eyes open this morning, so take anything I say with a grain of salt.
posted by mach at 11:48 AM on April 10, 2006


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