Saturday, June 26, 2010

AGING AND MEMORY LOSS

HOW does the information stored in memory?
All the nformation is stored in different parts of your memory. Latest information is stored in recent memory may include what you do this morning. Information stored in the short-term memory may include the name of a person you met moments ago. Information stored in the remote or long-term memory includes things that you stored in your memory years ago, such as memories of childhood.
How does brain change during aging?
When you’re in your 20s, you begin to lose brain cells a few at a time. Your body also starts to make less of the chemicals your brain cells need to work. The older you are, the more these changes can affect your memory.

Aging may affect memory by changing the way the brain stores information and by making it hard er to recall stored information.

Your short-term and remote memories aren’t usually affected by aging. But your recent memory may be affected. For example, you may forget names of people you’ve met today or where you set your keys. These are normal changes.

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Things to remember

* Keep lists.
* Follow a routine.
* Make associations (connect things in your mind), such as using landmarks to help you find places.
* Keep a detailed calendar.ging
* Put important items, such as your keys, in the same place every time.
* Repeat names when you meet new people.
* Do things that keep your mind and body busy.
* Run through the ABC’s in your head to help you think of words you’re having trouble remembering. “Hearing” the first letter of a word may jog your memory.

What about when I know a word but can’t recall it?
This is usually just a glitch in your memory. You’ll almost always remember the word with time. This may become more common as you age. It can be very frustrating, but it’s not usually serious.
Other causes of memory problems
Many things other than aging alone can cause memory problems. These include depression, dementia (severe problems with memory and thinking, such as Alzheimer’s disease), side effects of drugs, strokes, head injury and alcoholi
How does Alzheimer’s disease change memory?
Alzheimer’s disease starts by changing the recent memory. At first, a person with Alzheimer’s disease will remember even small details of his or her distant past but not be able to remember recent events or conversations. Over time, the disease affects all parts of the memory
How can I tell if my memory problems are serious?
A memory problem is serious when it affects your daily living. If you sometimes forget names, you’re probably okay. But you may have a more serious problem if you have trouble remembering how to do things you’ve done many times before, getting to a place you’ve been to often, or doing things that requires steps (such as following a recipe).

Another difference between normal memory problems and dementia is that normal memory loss doesn’t get much worse over time. Dementia gets much worse over several months to several years.

It may be hard to figure out on your own if you have a serious problem. Talk to your family doctor about any concerns you have. If your memory problems are caused by a certain medicine you’re taking, your doctor can prescribe another medicine that doesn’t have this side effect. If another condition is causing your memory loss (such as depression), your doctor can help you treat the condition.
Memory problems that aren’t part of normal aging

* Forgetting things much more often than you used to
* Forgetting how to do things you’ve done many times before
* Trouble learning new things
* Repeating phrases or stories in the same conversation
* Trouble making choices or handling money
* Not being able to keep track of what happens each day

How aging normally affects memory

Memory isn’t a single cognitive process, and it isn’t stored in a single area of the brain. It’s classified by time (short-term vs. long-term) and by type (information you have to recall, like the 13 original colonies or a party you attended, and information that becomes part of you, such as how to drive a car or get dressed). Because different areas of the brain govern different activities and sensory functions, the nature of the information you want to remember determines what part of your brain takes it in and stores it.

There are three stages in the process of memory formation and maintenance:
Acquisition New information enters your brain along pathways between neurons (nerve cells) in the appropriate area of the brain. Unless you focus on the information intently, its residence in your brain is fleeting — the old “in one ear, out the other” phenomenon.
Consolidation If you’ve paid attention well enough to encode new information in your brain, the relevant neuronal pathways get a signal from the hippocampus,a primitive structure deep inside the brain, to store the information as long-term memory. This happens more easily if it’s related to something you already know, or if it stimulates an emotional response.
Retrieval When you need to recall information, your brain has to activate the same pattern of nerve cells it used to store it. The more frequently you need the information, the easier it is to retrieve it along healthy nerve cell connections.

Several factors cause aging brains to experience changes in the ability to retain and retrieve memories:

* The hippocampus is especially vulnerable to age-related deterioration, and that can affect how well you retain information.
* There’s a relative loss of neurons with age, which can affect the activity of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters and their receptors.
* An older person often experiences decreased blood flow to the brain and processes nutrients that enhance brain activity less efficiently than a younger person.

These physiological changes can cause glitches in brain functions you’ve always taken for granted. You might have trouble remembering details of a movie you saw recently or directions to a new restaurant. It might take you longer to recall names, faces, and locations, even if you’ve seen them before. You might get flustered if you have to pay attention to more than one thing at a time.

Keep in mind, though, that much of what seems like forgetfulness is more of a slowing in the ability to absorb, store, and retrieve new information, not a loss. You can make and recall new long-term memories; the process just takes a little longer.

And many brain functions are largely unaffected by normal aging, such as:

* How to do the things you’ve always done and do often
* The wisdom and knowledge you’ve acquired from life experience
* Your innate common sense
* The ability to form reasonable arguments and judgments
* The ability to learn new skills and make then routine (though it might take longer)

Degrees of memory loss as part of aging
Normal forgetfulness

The following types of memory lapses are normal among older adults and generally are not considered warning signs of dementia:

* forgetting where you left things you use regularly, such as glasses or keys
* forgetting names of acquaintances or figures in the news
* occasionally forgetting an appointment
* having trouble remembering what you just read
* walking into a room and forgetting why you entered
* forgetting the details of conversations
* becoming easily distracted
* not quite being able to retrieve information you have “on the tip of your tongue”
* blocking one memory with a similar one, such as calling a grandson by your son’s name

Although most people start to experience memory lapses like these by age 60, they have little impact on daily performance. Later, we’ll look at some ways of improving memory and compensating for memory loss.
Mild cognitive impairment

When the information you forget is no longer trivial and your forgetfulness begins to have consequences — you miss your weekly card game or blank on your daughter’s birthday — your memory loss is beyond that of “normal” memory loss due to aging and may be diagnosed as mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The hallmarks of MCI are being unable to remember details of something you saw or read just a few minutes ago and trouble pulling up information you’ve known for a long time.

The memory lapses are similar to those of someone in the earliest stage of Alzheimer’s, and some experts see it as a precursor to Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. People with MCI do develop Alzheimer’s at higher rates than the general population of older adults. But MCI is not the same as Alzheimer’s, nor does everyone with MCI develop Alzheimer’s. Its symptoms stop well short of dementia, and people with MCI manage to accomplish their routine tasks independently, though they may struggle to do so.
Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia

When memory loss becomes so pervasive and severe that it disrupts your work, hobbies, social activities, and family relationships, you may be experiencing the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease, another disorder that causes dementia, or a condition that mimics dementia.
Conditions and lifestyle factors that can cause memory loss

The conditions below might cause memory loss or produce dementia-like symptoms, but they are treatable. Be aware of ways that your environment and lifestyle might be contributing to your memory loss.
Factors which might cause memory loss or dementia-like symptoms:
Exposure to environmental toxins Substances you come in contact with in your home and workplace can cause memory loss or inability to concentrate. They include:

* lead in drinking water or paint in older homes
* mercury in paints, dyes and inks
* carbon monoxide leaking from home heaters
* chemicals in pesticides and hobby materials

Medications Many prescribed and over-the-counter drugs or combinations of drugs can interfere with neurotransmitters essential to memory or simply make you drowsy.
Alcohol and drug abuse Excessive alcohol intake is toxic to brain cells, and illicit drugs such as marijuana, ecstasy, and cocaine block the function of neurotransmitters needed for memory.
Depression Especially in the elderly, persistent depression may actually cause a loss of neurons in brain areas responsible for memory, making depressed people less able to concentrate and process information.
Vitamin B12 deficiency B12 protects neurons, and some older persons develop an inability to absorb it effectively.
Thyroid problems The thyroid gland controls metabolism: if your metabolism is too fast, you may feel confused, and if it’s too slow, you can feel sluggish and depressed.
Hearing loss If you can’t hear what people are saying, you can’t remember it!
When to see a doctor

It’s time to consult a doctor when memory lapses become frequent enough or sufficiently noticeable to concern you or a family member. If you get to that point, make an appointment to talk with your primary physician and have a thorough physical examination. The doctor will ask you a lot of question about your memory, including

* how long you or others have noticed a problem with your memory
* what kinds of things have been difficult to remember
* whether the difficulty came on gradually or suddenly
* if you’re having trouble doing ordinary things.

The doctor also will want to know what medications you’re taking, how you’ve been eating and sleeping, whether you’ve been depressed or stressed lately, and other questions about what’s been happening in your life. Chances are the doctor will ask you or your partner to keep track of your symptoms and check back in a few months.

If your memory problem needs more evaluation, your doctor may send you to a neuropsychologist, who will have you take some pencil-and-paper tests that gauge different aspects of mental ability. If those tests show abnormal results, the doctor will try to rule out causes of cognitive dysfunction based on conditions such as vascular disease, psychological problems, eating and drinking habits, and environmental factors.

A problematic showing on mental ability tests means you’ll probably go in for imaging studies of the brain, such as a CT or MRI scan, which can detect anything putting pressure on your brain, and, if that’s normal, a SPECT or PET scan, which track blood flow and metabolic activity in the brain, respectively, and are the most sensitive tools at present for revealing brain abnormalities.

If you are diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment or early Alzheimer’s disease, you may benefit from one of the medications which work by protecting acetylcholine, a brain chemical that facilitates memory and learning.
Compensating for memory loss

Even if you are experiencing a troublesome level of memory loss, there are many things you can do to learn new information and retain it.
Keeping track of dates, schedules, tasks, phone numbers Write it down!

* Leave yourself notes or make checklists.
* Put appointments and important dates on calendars and in a day planner or electronic organizer.
* Ditto for phone numbers and other contact information.
* If you have trouble remembering how to do something, write down the steps.

Remembering where you put things

* Put the things you use regularly (keys, glasses, purse, watch) in the same spot when you’re not using them.
* If you have to put something down in a different place, look at the place when you put down the object and say the location out loud.
* If necessary, write down where things are.

Staying on top of times and places

* Set an alarm clock or timer to remind you when to leave for an appointment or do something in your home.
* Use a map to help you get from one place to another.
* Enlist friends and relatives to remind you of where you need to be and things you’re supposed to do.

Learning new information Work on your ability to focus your attention and screen out distractions:

* Listen closely when someone talks to you.
* Repeat back the information.
* Try to talk with people in quiet places.
* Focus on one thing at a time.

Preventing memory loss

The same practices that contribute to healthy aging also contribute to healthy memory.
Regular exercise

* It gets more oxygen to your brain.
* It reduces the risk for disorders that lead to memory loss, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
* It may enhance the effects of helpful brain chemicals and protect brain cells.

Healthy diet featuring fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and “healthy” fats

* Antioxidants literally keep your brain cells from “rusting.”
* B vitamins protect neurons and help reduce risk of cardiovascular diseases.
* Avoiding saturated fats and trans fats helps cholesterol levels and reduces risk of stroke.

Managing stress

* Cortisol, the stress hormone, can damage the hippocampus if stress is unrelieved.
* Stress makes it difficult to concentrate.

Good sleep and enough of it

* Sleep is necessary for memory consolidation.
* Sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea leave you tired and unable to concentrate during the day.

Not smoking

* Smoking heightens the risk of vascular disorders that can cause stroke and constrict arteries that deliver oxygen to the brain.

In addition, two other lifestyle factors are crucial for maintaining healthy memory throughout life:
Lifelong learning and exercise of the brain

When it comes to memory, it’s “use it or lose it.” Just as physical exercise can make and keep your body stronger, mental exercise can make your brain work better and lower the risk of mental decline. Here are some ideas for brain exercise, from light workouts to heavy lifting:

* Play games that involve strategy, like chess or bridge, and word games like Scrabble.
* Work crossword and other word puzzles, or number puzzles such as Sudoku.
* Read newspapers, magazines, and books that challenge you.
* Get in the habit of learning new things: games, recipes, driving routes.
* Take a course in an unfamiliar subject.
* Take on a project that involves design and planning: a new garden, a quilt, a koi pond.

Developing and maintaining social relationships

People who don’t have social contact with family and friends are at higher risk for memory problems than people who have strong social ties. Social interaction helps brain function in several ways: it often involves activity that challenges the mind, and it helps ward off stress and depression. So join a book club, reconnect with old friends, visit the local senior center. Being with other people will help keep you sharp!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

PHOTOGENIC MEMORY

Photographic Memory

Eidetic or photographic memory is popularly defined as the ability to recall images, sounds, or objects in memory with extreme accuracy and in abundant volume.
Photographic memory is a rare element that is found in less than 10% of the population. It will often be found in children, and most of them will lose this ability by the time they become adults. The concept of photographic memory is so rare that someone people don't believe it exists.

What is believed by some researchers is that photographic memory is a result of the brain processing and storing information in an abnormal manner. Many people believe that those who have photographic memories are fortunate. However, this may not be the case.

One of the problems with having a photographic memory is that you may absorb too much information, and you may have to deal with a lot of data that is irrelevant. Having to deal with large amounts of irrelevant data could reduce your ability to efficiently recall information. People who have photographic memories may also have a hard time forgetting things that they don't desire to remember. Humans are not designed to be mere databases which store tremendous amounts of information. Memory is only important when it can be used to recall information that is relevant. Being able to use your memory is much more important than simply being able to store information.

Monks who lived during the Middle Ages would enhance their memories by creating images in their minds which would allow them to store and use information that was important. It was not enough for them to just store and have access to large amounts of information. It was also important for them to use these images to create a number of connections between unrelated elements. A number of famous people were believed to have photographic memories, and some of them were Mozart and Claude Monet. However, there has been some controversy which has arisen on the topic of photographic memory.

Many professionals believe that the concept is a myth. A study was conducted on a number of chess Grandmasters, and while they are able to recall large amounts of information about positions, they performed like people who weren't masters when they were presented with chess piece positions that would not exist in a real world situation. At the same time, there has also been evidence to show that photographic memory is a real phenomenon. A woman who was studied by Charles Stromeyer was capable of remembering poetry that had been written in a different language, and she could recall the information years later.

Solomon V. Shereshevskii is another example of an individual who had memory capabilities that appeared to be photographic. He could memorize large amounts of words, and was capable of remembering them after many years had passed. While some believed that he had an unlimited photographic memory, it is very likely that he used a number of different memory techniques. In addition to this, a number of humans have been placed in the Guinness Book of Records for having abnormal memories. There have also been people with Asperger's syndrome who have demonstrated photographic memories as well.

The overall evidence for photographic memory is strong. However, it is not well understood. The brain of someone who has a photographic memory will store information in a manner which is much different than most people. It is likely that the perception of photographic memory that is viewed by most people is not quite accurate. While there are people who have extraordinary memories, it is unlikely that they are able to perfectly recall every piece of information that they are exposed to. It is likely that the debate for and against the existence of photographic memory will continue to rage on. Some savants have been known to have what appears to be a photographic memory, and the most notable example is Kim Peek

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Color and Learning

The color of a room or a computer screen can change the atmosphere of a room and behavior. Find out which colors you may want to select and which ones to avoid.



Colors send signals to the brain without us even thinking about it. Some are soothing, some are not. Some help us focus, some are distracting.
Pale Yellow/Almond
If you were to select the best colors for bedrooms and classrooms, which colors would be best? Dunn and Dunn have found that pale yellow and almond seem to be the best colors for not irritating anyone. These colors would be a good general color for school hallways.
Light Pink/Rose
Light pink and rose are very soothing colors. They would be very suitable for a BD classroom, Behavior Disorder, or a Kindergarten room where activity is high. Some basketball teams paint the opponent's locker room pink hoping to "calm" them before the game. Some jails are painted pink.
Green
Creativity seems to be inspired by the color green. An art room would be the choice for green as well as a creative writing classroom.
Blue
Blue is the color of academics. A science or math room would be a good candidate for this color. Light blue could also be a good overall classroom color. It is also soothing and computer screens are often light blue for a good reason. When bright or irritating colors are used on computers, students are not able to work without figeting, work for shorter lengths of time and become more aggressive toward each other. Computer screens, especially in BD, Behavior Disorder, rooms and for ADHD students, should be pale blue or pale pink.

Orange, Yellow and Red
These are often called Hot Dog colors. Bright yellow excites the brain and body. This may be a great color for an exercise room but not a bedroom or study hall.
The color orange seems to agitate. Painting a bedroom orange would probably keep the child awake longer at night. Putting two siblings into an orange bedroom would probably result in them not sleeping and fighting, as well. Orange would probably be the worst color to paint a school cafeteria.
Color and Food
Red often triggers hunger. What colors are used for fast food restaurant signs? KFC, Hardees, McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Burger King and convenience stores have what colors on their roofs, buildings and signs? You may not have been hungry until you looked at the sign. Suddenly, you have the urge for a shake, fries and a burger. That is not a coincidence.
You send a child to their room to do homework. Red pillows and decorations fill the room. Don't be surprised if the child comes out for snacks often while doing homework.
Color, lighting, temperature all affect our brains, bodies, how we learn and how we behave.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a picture with natural colors may be worth a million, memory-wise. Psychologists have documented that "living color" does more than appeal to the senses. It also boosts memory for scenes in the natural world. The findings, reported in the May issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, published by the American Psychological Association (APA), shed light on how the visual system efficiently exploits color information. Conceivably, by hanging an extra "tag" of data on visual scenes, color helps us to process and store images more efficiently than colorless (black and white) scenes, and as a result to remember them better, too.
In Europe, a trio of psychologists conducted five experiments (participants, in order, numbered 36, 34, 31, 20 and 20) to explore color's role in memory for natural scenes such as forests, rocks and flowers. In the basic experiment, participants looked at 48 photographs, half in color and half in black and white. Then, they viewed the same 48 images randomly mixed with 48 new images, and indicated if they had seen (or not) each picture. Participants remembered the colored natural scenes significantly better than they remembered black and white images, regardless of how long they saw the images.
People who saw images in color but were tested on them in black and white, and vice versa, did not remember them as well. This finding suggests that image colors are part and parcel of initial storage, attached to how objects "appear" in our memory.
Through experimental variations, the researchers ruled out whether color's built-in appeal caused the advantage by grabbing participants' attention better than would black and white. Among other findings, people did not remember falsely colored natural scenes any better than scenes in black and white -- suggesting that it wasn't any color that strengthened memory, but rather natural color. Says co-author Karl Gegenfurtner, Ph.D., "It appears as if our memory system is tuned, presumably by evolution and/or during development, to the color structure found in the world. If stimuli are too strange, the system simply doesn't engage as well, or deems them unimportant." Gegenfurtner, who was with the Max-Planck Institut fur Biologische Kybernetik when the experiments were conducted, is now with Giessen University.
The visual industries may find these studies valuable. "Perhaps designers should be aware that, in order to engage or grab one's attention (as in advertising), bright colors might well be most suitable," Wichmann observes. "If, on the other hand, the aim is more to have an image stick in the viewer's memory, unnatural colors may not be suitable."

Friday, June 4, 2010

INTELLIGENCE AND ENVIRONMENT

Despite what many people think, your social environment can also play an important role in the development of your intelligence. Geniuses aren’t only born – they can be made too. Certainly, you are born with a certain amount of intelligence and you may never achieve the intellectual abilities of someone else born with a different set of genes but equally, poor social nurturing can mean that you may never full realise the potential in your own genes.
The Heritability of IQ
It is widely accepted that intelligence is a trait that is passed down through the generations and the degree to which the intelligence quotient (IQ) is dependent on your genetic background has been extensively researched. For example, several traits are known to be primarily genetic, such as adult height or eye colour whereas other traits have low heritability, meaning that they are heavily influenced by the environment – such as depression in men. The way this is measured is by seeing how much a certain trait varies in people with very similar or different genetic and environmental backgrounds.
Thus, it is believed that genetics can account for 75% of your adult intelligence, with the environment being responsible for the remaining 25%. However, what is interesting is that research has found only a few specific genes which have a distinct, substantial effect on IQ – which means that intelligence is probably the result of the action of numerous genes, and their interaction with environmental stimuli, rather than the product of a specific “intelligence gene”.
The Social Development of IQ
Despite the big role that genetic plays in determining intelligence, social and environmental factors can have an important influence too. In fact, research shows that aside from genes and formal education, early family environments also play a crucial role. Evidence shows that a baby’s intelligence is not fully developed at birth but gradually evolves and changes, especially throughout the early elementary school years.
Parents actually a greater impact on their child’s IQ than any other person or institution in the child’s life, including schools and this impact is greatest during infancy and childhood, up to the age of eight or nine, after which parental influence diminishes. Things parents can do to improve their child’s IQ include: maintaining your own education, getting good nutrition and prenatal care, spending as much time with the child as possible, interacting and stimulating his mind through reading, shapes, numbers, colours, etc and exposing the child to experience outside the home.
Certain studies have linked specific activities with improved mental function. For example, one piece of research suggests that musical training can lead to the development of higher brain functions and in particular, better mathematical ability. Music is believed to enhance the brain's ability to visualise and transform objects in space and time, as well as the ‘hard wiring' for spatial-temporal reasoning. Another study showed that babies brought up in a stimulating environment (starting from in the womb) were more dynamic, alert and curious, with good hand-eye coordination and high social skills.
Keeping up the Challenge
Many researchers believe that human and animal brains remain “plastic” throughout their lifetimes, with a great capacity to change. This means that our brains remain strongly influenced by environmental conditions. In fact, studies have shown that stimulating environments increase brain thickness, the number of neurons in the brain and the number of connections between these neurons. In addition, putting the test subject back in a boring environment produced a decrease in responses by as much as 60% within a week. All this supports the advice to continually stimulate your brain throughout your life, even after reaching adulthood, and to promote the development of a broad range of interest and skills which are mental, physical, aesthetic, social and emotional.
..
Intelligence: Heredity-Environment Debate Resolved?
According to neuro and cognitive scientists, different intellectual abilities are based on neural circuits that require environmental stimulation for development -- and are open to change.
However, intelligence researchers argue that there is a general factor of intelligence ("G") that is highly heritable and defines intelligence as an overall innate ability to perform well on different measures of intelligence -- which are not open to change.
This debate is reviewed in an analysis of 124 studies of the underlying basis of intelligence in the January issue of Psychological Review published by the American Psychological Association.
Does one have to be a child Einstein to be an adult Einstein? Yes, if the developing brain has the ability to make the right connections, according to this theory.
"You could present a person with an IQ of 200 with the appropriate phenomena when they are 20 years old, after the critical learning period, and they would not have the capacity to adapt their brains to the new phenomena,"

Intelligence varies with at least 21 factors
Some of the other circumstances and attributes that have been found to vary to a greater or lesser (but always significant) extent in relation with IQ (Bouchard & Segal, 1985; Liungman, 1975) - note that not all of these relationships support an environmental view.
Intelligence varies with:
• Infant malnutrition (-ve)
• Birth weight
• Birth order
• Height
• Number of siblings (-ve)
• Number of years in school
• Social group of parental home
• Father's profession
• Father's economic status
• Degree of parental rigidity (-ve)
• Parental ambition
• Mother's education
• Average TV viewing (-ve)
• Average book-reading
• Self-confidence according to attitude scale measurement
• Age (negative relationship, applies only in adulthood)
• Degree of authority in parental home (-ve)
• Criminality (-ve)
• Alcoholism (-ve)
• Mental disease (-ve)
• Emotional adaptation
"No single environmental factor seems to have a large influence on IQ. Variables widely believed to be important are usually weak....Even though many studies fail to find strong environmental effects....most of the factors studied do influence IQ in the direction predicted by the investigator....environmental effects are multifactorial and largely unrelated to each other."
So, it would appear that there are many psychological and biological factors each contributing a small a small fraction to the variance in IQ scores.

So, what can we say about nature vs. nurture as causal determinants of intelligence?:
"In the field of intelligence, there are three facts about the transmission of intelligence that virtually everyone seems to accept:

1. Both heredity and environment contribute to intelligence.
2. Heredity and environment interact in various ways.
3. Extremely poor as well as highly enriched environments can interfere with the realization of a person's intelligence, regardless of the person's heredity. Although most would accept a causal role of genetics, the exact genetic link and how it operates is very far from being understood - another point that most psychologists would agree on. It is certainly not a single gene, but a complex combination of smaller genetic markers.
5. But likewise, it is difficult to pin-down single, identifiable elements of the environment which directly influence IQ scores. Several environmental factors influence intelligence.

So what have we learned about intelligence: that it’s difficult to define but that there is SOMETHING we call intelligence that appears to relate to ability to reason abstractly, to learn and to adapt. That we can measure some part of it, although poorly; that it’s
partially caused by genetics, partially be environment; that the real causes are the complex, not well understood interplay between genetics and environment; that it is somewhat though not greatly modifiable; that sometimes what we learn from tests is used inappropriately but that IQ tests can be useful in helping children attain their potentia

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

World’s Most Intelligent People

It was really difficult to come up with a list of the most intelligent people because there are many of them, and it depends on your definition of intelligence. But I was able to list the top 5 that I think they are extraordinary people in terms of excellence and achievements.
Sir Isaac Newton:

This genius was born in 1642 and died in 1727, he was a mathematician and physicist and natural philosopher. Born at Woolsthorpe, near Grantham in Lincolnshire, where he attended school, he entered Cambridge University in 1661; he was elected a Fellow of Trinity College in 1667. He formulated laws of universal gravitation and motion-laws that
isaacnewton

explain how objects move on Earth as well as through the heavens. If you ever taken a physics you would learn about his three popular laws, and you may hear the apply story that led him to discover the theory of force and gravity. He basically saw an apply fall in his orchard at some time during 1665 or 1666 that Newton conceived that the same force governed the motion of the Moon and the apple. He calculated the force needed to hold the Moon in its orbit, as compared with the force pulling an object to the ground. He also calculated the centripetal force needed to hold a stone in a sling, and the relation between the length of a pendulum and the time of its swing. These early explorations were not

soon exploited by Newton, though he studied astronomy and the problems of planetary motion.. Because he was cleaver in math, he invited the area of mathematics called calculus “used to be called method of fluxions“. While still a student, Newton read recent work on optics and light by the English physicists Robert Boyle and Robert Hooke; he also studied both the mathematics and the physics of the French philosopher and scientist René Descartes. All these amazing discoveries made his take our number one of the world’s most intelligent people.
Albert Einstein:

He is considered one of the greatest and most popular scientists of all time. He was born at Ulm, in Württemberg, albert-einsteinGermany, on March 14, 1879. After World War II, Einstein was a leading figure in the World Government Movement, he was offered the Presidency of the State of Israel, which he declined, and he collaborated with Dr. Chaim Weizmann in establishing the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. At the start of his scientific work, Einstein realized the inadequacies of Newtonian mechanics and his special theory of relativity stemmed from an attempt to reconcile the laws of mechanics with the laws of the electromagnetic field. He dealt with classical problems of statistical mechanics and problems in which they were merged with quantum theory: this led to an explanation of the Brownian movement of molecules. He investigated the thermal properties of light with a low radiation density and his observations laid the foundation of the photon theory of light. Albert Einstein received honorary doctorate degrees in science, medicine and philosophy from many European and American universities. One last note, he received the Nobel Prize in Physics 1921.

charles-robert“I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term Natural Selection.” You may have guessed who I am talking about; yes it’s the naturalist Charles Darwin who lived between 1809 -1882. Charles Robert Darwin was born on February 12, 1809 in Shrewsbury, England. Darwin was born on the same day as Abraham Lincoln. He was the fifth child and second son of Robert Waring Darwin and Susannah Wedgwood. Darwin was the British naturalist who became famous for his theories of evolution and natural selection. Like several scientists before him, Darwin believed all the life on earth evolved (developed gradually) over millions of years from a few common ancestors.

Socrates: (469-399)

despite his foundational place in the history of ideas, actually wrote nothing. Socrates wrote nothing because he felt that knowledge was a living, interactive thing. Socrates’ method of philosophical inquiry consisted in questioning socratespeople on the positions they asserted and working them through questions into a contradiction, thus proving to them that their original assertion was wrong. Socrates himself never takes a position; in The Apology he radically and skeptically claims to know nothing at all except that he knows nothing. Socrates and Plato refer to this method of questioning as elenchus , which means something like “cross-examination” The Socratic elenchus eventually gave rise to dialectic, the idea that truth needs to be pursued by modifying one’s position through questioning and conflict with opposing ideas. It is this idea of the truth being pursued, rather than discovered, that characterizes Socratic thought and much of our world view today. The Western notion of dialectic is somewhat Socratic in nature in that it is conceived of as an ongoing process. Although Socrates in The Apology claims to have discovered no other truth than that he knows no truth, the Socrates of Plato’s other earlier dialogues is of the opinion that truth is somehow attainable through this process of elenchus .
Leonardo Da Vinci 1452-1519:

A painter, a sculptor, an architect and an engineer, Leonardo Da Vinci’s numerous skills have earned him the title of renaissance master. Da Vinci’s fascination with science and his in-depth study of human anatomy aided him in mastering the realist art form. While Leonardo’s counterparts were known to create static figures in their works, leonardo-da-vinciLeonardo always tried to incorporate movement and expression into his own paintings. All the personages in his works are painted with great accuracy and detail that it is sometimes said that Da Vinci painted from the bones outward. Leonardo was and is best known as an artist, the creator of such masterpieces as the Mona Lisa, Madonna of the Rocks, and The Last Supper. Yet Leonardo was far more than a great artist: he had one of the best scientific minds of his time. He made painstaking observations and carried out research in fields ranging from architecture and civil engineering to astronomy to anatomy and zoology to geography, geology and paleontology. In the words of his biographer Giorgio Vasari. Leonardo knew well the rocks and fossils (mostly Cenozoic mollusks) found in his native north Italy. No doubt he had ample opportunity to observe them during his service as an engineer and artist at the court of Lodovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, from 1482 to 1499: Vasari wrote that “Leonardo was frequently occupied in the preparation of plans to remove mountains or to pierce them with tunnels from plain to plain.” He made many observations on mountains and rivers, and he grasped the principle that rocks can be formed by deposition of sediments by water, while at the same time the rivers erode rocks and carry their sediments to the sea, in a continuous grand cycle.

Become Genius

What is a Genius? The dictionary defines “genius” as:  “Someone who has an unusually high level of intelligence, mental skill or artist...