Learning How to Learn (Cognitive Science)
Do you want increase your brain power? Scientists indicate that we only utilize 10-15% of our brain capacity. Why only 10-15%? What does this mean? What is intelligence, and can we keep on increasing it well into adulthood? Does full mental engagement on any subject or mental skills with ongoing effort and devotion increase brain capacity? Research shows that it can. The brain, in order to accommodate new learning can literally sprout new neural (brain cell) connections. This biological function seeks to optimize mental capacity, and condition the new neural pathways for successful adaptation in situations where mentally it is pushed to do so. Practice makes perfect! The mind and body change to adapt, and; therefore, intelligence is adaptability.
What implications does this have for students, professionals, and all of us regarding the mental challenges of daily living? This cognitive series will provide an understanding of cognitive science – the science of learning how to learn and increase intelligence or adaptive capacity. Here are some concepts to begin with as a foundation:
- Mental Fitness: We workout to build our bodies – weightlifting for bodily strength, cardio exercise to enhance oxygen efficiency, and stretching for greater flexibility. What can we do to enhance mental strength, efficiency and flexibility? Cognitive Science emphasizes optimal health and vitality to the brain and bodily nerves. In this regard, good sleep, stress management, a balanced whole foods diet and certain brain support supplements can be essential for enhancing mental fitness. Additionally, there are numerous strategies for building mental efficiency, stamina, learning and mental capacity, and mental energy and wellness. Mental fitness is essential training for succeeding in any school program, work environment, and mentally challenging situation in daily life. It means maintaining an agile, toned and robust thinking system, throughout the lifespan.
- Science of Cognition: Your brain is like a computer. Metaphorically, the hard drive is the genetics – – an individual’s built-in mental potential. The software represents an individual’s unique and familiar style of learning as well as the content of information learned over a lifespan. As mentioned, the average person today has extensive untapped mental potential. Learning follows scientific methodology, and adhering to time-tested principles for perfecting each unique task or subject. The key is tapping into your mind’s most optimal mental efficiency system. Therefore, additional skills of learning include the ability to self-correct, see the big picture, and the flexibility to change and adjust when necessary for optimal learning and performance. Ultimately, there is an optimal way to perform any mental task, utilizing to the fullest your own cognitive potential.
- IQ (Intelligence Quotient): The IQ score has received a lot of attention as a marker of true intelligence, though intelligence is far more diverse than that of the standard IQ test. Though IQ score correlates well with academic potential, intelligence includes the abilities of an artist, musician, athlete, manager, poet, builder, comedian, and mountain climber, among a wide variety of life skills. Intelligence includes the ability to adapt and change according to the needs and demands of one’s environment. Emotional intelligence includes the ability to manage emotional states, and to interact successfully with others. We all have cognitive strengths, as well as weaknesses.
- Anxiety & Stress: Mild to moderate stress can increase motivation and mental efficiency, and help an individual to succeed in achieving academic goals and intellectual pursuits. Excessive stress and anxiety can interfere with learning and test performance, as anyone who has test anxiety can attest to. Learning stress management can contribute to better mental fitness, poise when taking tests, and overall academic success.
The objective is to build academic and cognitive confidence. This comes from intentional practice of cognitive skills that target each academic task, and awareness of what works to master the task. Most importantly, building intelligence requires determination to think through academic tasks and problem solve with much desire, and minimal conflict and hesitation. Be a mindful, confident, and motivated student.
How sharp is your Mental Edge? Take the Challenge – Make thinking a priority. Develop and dedicate yourself to a mental and academic fitness program that may bring immediate results, and lead to continuous improvement. Practice techniques regularly!