Want a surefire way to boost your IQ?
Sign up to take the Law School Admission Test again. A recent study from the University of California at Berkeley shows that simply studying for the LSAT – regardless of your final score – alters your brain circuitry and can make you smarter.
A team in the UCB Department of Psychology did brain scans on two dozen students who spent 100 hours cramming for the LSAT over 90 days. At the end of this ordeal they had more neural connections than slackers who stayed on the couch munching Cheetos and watching past seasons of Breaking Bad. In other words, their brains were better.
It is assumed, of course, that studying for the LSAT will enhance your score. More surprising is the fact that it also appears to enhance connectivity within your brain’s frontal lobes, and between the frontal and parietal lobes. These are the parts that control reasoning and thinking.
“We wanted to show that the ability to reason is malleable in adults,” graduate student Allyson Mackey, the lead UCB researcher, told the National Law Journal.
Few among us are likely to rush out and register for the law school test just to improve our performance on Jeopardy. But who would not like a wee bit more firepower upstairs?
Therefore, following are six simpler ways to smarten up:
- Go for a walk. We all know jogging, cycling and swimming are good for waistlines and cholesterol counts. But exercise can also increase memory, reduce stress, minimize aggression – and enhance intelligence. Harvard professor of psychiatry John Ratey, author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, says exercise stimulates what he terms Miracle-Gro for the cranial cavity.
- Go to sleep. Rest and recovery are essential parts of any fitness program. There is no greater brain rejuvenator than a good night’s sleep.
- Go to the library. Yes, the old-fashioned method still works. You can get smarter by reading a book. And it doesn’t have to be Black’s Law Dictionary. A novel can open your mind. A cookbook can expand your palate.
- Keep a journal. Remember in elementary school having to write things on the blackboard over and over? That’s because retention of information increases when we write it down. A study of 300 geniuses from Einstein to Edison revealed that almost to a person they were all compulsive list-makers and journal creators.
- Take up the guitar. Brain research shows that learning a musical instrument can add points to our IQ. It has to do with repetition, mind-body coordination, and the therapeutic effects of B.B. King.
- Read this blog. Self-serving? Sure. But is there any doubt that sharpening your risk management skills will help you sleep better at night? Which in turn will make you smarter. Without even having to take the law school exam again.
Jay Reeves is an attorney licensed in North Carolina and South Carolina. He has practiced in both states and was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He writes the Risk Man column of practice pointers and risk management tips. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 919-619-2441.