If you clicked on this article then congratulations to you. You have identified a problem in your life and you are making steps to rectify it. You have searched for your car keys everywhere and found it in the fridge; you have dropped your phone in water and tried to microwave it dry. You have placed important documents on top of your car just before heading out, worn your shoes out somewhere and forgot them there. And got in trouble for it. You have wondered if you were slowly going stupid, and wondered if maybe, you were not eating right.
That can be one cause of the problem. There are foods that boost our brain capabilities, but what if I told you the problem stemmed from normal things, you see everyday? Like doors. Yes, doors.
1. Doors: You ask- what has doors got to do with it? Well, quite a bit. Ever walked into a room and forgot what you were thinking about? Blame that door. Psychologists at the University of Notre Dame have discovered that passing through a doorway triggers what is known as an event boundary in the mind. What this means is that your mind quickly separates one set of thoughts and memories from the next. When you walk through a door into a new space, your brain tucks the thoughts you had in the previous room and prepares a blank sheet for the new area.
2. Working on group projects: This is science. Research shows that productivity tends to decline when a group of people are working on a task together. This happens for two reasons: insufficient coordination and social loafing. What are those? Insufficent co-ordination is when many people work on a task, and their efforts are diminished. They are using brain power on other things, like conforming and trying to act in an acceptable social manner. Social loafing is even more brain numbing. It has been noticed that when assigned to a group, people tend to perform less, because everybody is allocating responsibility to the next person. And you know what happens when your not using your brain to its full potential.
3. Ice-cream cake: No! That delicious dessert which combines ice-cream and cake makes me dumb too? Ha, no it doesn’t. Just trying to catch your attention again.
4. Wide-open spaces: Here is a fun fact. We tend to walk in circles when we move in areas that are deviod of landmarks, e.g, a desert. Even though we might swear that we are toeing a straight line; we actually curve in loops. You can test for yourself. Blind fold a friend and tell him/her to walk a straight line, and prepare for the laughs. The Institute for Biological Cybernetics reveals why: with every step a walker takes, a small deviation arises in the brain’s balance. This doesn’t occur when we can recalibrate our sense of direction, like using a nearby building or mountain.
5. Beeps: The sudden, startling noise not only jars the brain; it baffles it too. Natural sounds are created from a transfer of energy (example; a stick hitting a drum) and these sounds gradually dissipate, and our perceptual system has evolved to use that diminishing sound to figure out where the noise came from in the first place. However beeps don’t fade over time, so our brains have trouble concentrating.
6. Jetlag: In a study conducted at the University of California, Berkley, a group of hamsters were subjected to six-hour time shifts (the equivalent to a New York to Paris time shift). After a couple of weeks of this, they found that those hamsters had trouble learning stuff and couldn’t pass tests that other hamsters had aced. And this was not just because they were tired, because a month later, after the hamsters had adjusted their schedules, they were still dumber. This is because the act of constantly resetting their body clocks had actually changed the anatomy of their hippocampus and affected their memory and ability to learn. This is just not a problem that affects rodents alone, because the same pattern has been found in humans who work extreme hour shifts, like air hostesses, who have been reported to generally suffer from severe memory loss.
Does this mean don’t travel or use alarm clocks? No it doesn’t. You can eat for a better brainpower. Combat stupidity with seafood, brown carbs, berries and coffee, and you will be alright.