What's the Latest Development?
Most everyone can learn to make their brain work more productively, says Johns Hopkins cognitive scientist Barry Gordon. Forcing yourself to concentrate and shutting down extraneous thoughts, while difficult, will boost your neural toolkit. And working around the inherent problems in thinking, such as personal bias, can optimize the thinking organ. Failing that, play video games! They can improve cognitive skills like perception and attention by requiring intense concentration and ruthless self-correction, lest your friends shoot you.
What's the Big Idea?
While you cannot put more of your brain to work (all its parts are firing even when you think you are relaxing or spacing off), you need not constantly slave over your work just to solve a difficult problem. Taking a break to let your mind wander around the perimeter of a vexing problem may be, says Gordon, the best way to find a truly innovative solution. "It may not feel like you are using more of your brain when you unleash it in this way, but one virtue of the human brain is that it often does its best work when it does not seem to be working at all."
Photo credit: shutterstock.com