L. Mental Aerobics

Most of us go through our daily lives with fairly fixed routines. We get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, and drive to work the same way every day. This isn’t necessarily bad because it allows our brains to slowly speed up to meet the day, but it also doesn’t give our brains any exercise. Since these routine tasks are carried out almost subconsciously, the brain uses almost no energy and makes no new associations or neural connections.
Even activities like doing the laundry or walking the dog can be so routine that you hardly even think about doing them. Each activity is a chance to give your brain some exercise and get it actually thinking. Try to add some surprise or novelty into daily activities. For example, drive to work using a different route. This will prevent you from going on auto-pilot and getting to work without thinking about how you got there. The new path will provide new and interesting things to see which will stimulate your mind and make new associations.

Most people have heard of Pavlov’s dog. Pavlov would ring a bell every time he fed his dog. Eventually, the dog would start salivating after hearing the bell, even if no food was in sight. This experiment shows how the dog’s mind made an association between hearing and taste. This happens in humans too. The brain automatically makes associations between the five senses, in addition to emotional or social triggers. Once these associations are created, they can be recalled simply by experiencing one of the original inputs. In the dog’s case, a sound triggers a memory about taste. Certainly you have had the experience where a smell, a flavor, or a sound has brought up a memory from your childhood.

In order for us to remember a new fact, it must be associated with one of the 7 different inputs described above. Each different sensory input causes different connections between neurons in the cerebral cortex, and the more inputs you have, the stronger your memory of that fact will be.

Article from Braingle.com

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