Maximize Your Brainpower: 1000 New Ways To Boost Your Mental Fitness

Overview

Improve your mental well-being with this book of brand new mental tests in the IQ Workout Series...

Despite the enormous capacity of the human brain, we only utilise on average two per cent of our potential brainpower. There is, therefore, the potential for each of us to considerably expand our brainpower.

Maximise Your Brainpower provides readers with a series of mental workouts covering areas of creative thinking, problem solving, memory, ...

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Overview

Improve your mental well-being with this book of brand new mental tests in the IQ Workout Series...

Despite the enormous capacity of the human brain, we only utilise on average two per cent of our potential brainpower. There is, therefore, the potential for each of us to considerably expand our brainpower.

Maximise Your Brainpower provides readers with a series of mental workouts covering areas of creative thinking, problem solving, memory, logical thought, mental agility and intelligence. Chapters are each designed to exercise a different kind of brain activity, with a series of newly compiled exercises, puzzles and tests.

Use this and other books in The IQ Workout Series as a fun and informative way of testing, assessing, and expanding your brainpower!

Ken Russell and Philip Carter are MENSA Puzzle Editors and have compiled nearly 100 books on all aspects of testing, puzzles and crosswords.
* A hints section is provided for the more difficult tests and puzzles.
* Answers together with detailed explanations, where necessary, are provided for all puzzles and tests.
* A guide to assessing performance is provided for each of the IQ tests in the Intelligence Test section, and for tests in other sections where appropriate.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"...train yourself to become mentally fitter with the help of maximise your brainpower..." (Active Life, 21 November 2002)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470847169
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 9/19/2002
  • Series: IQ Workout Series , #6
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,454,718
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Ken Russell and Philip Carter have written over 100 books on all aspects of testing, puzzles and crosswords.

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Read an Excerpt

MAXIMIZE YOUR BRAINPOWER

1000 new ways to boost your mental fitness
By Philip Carter Ken Russell

John Wiley & Sons

Copyright © 2002 Philip Carter and Ken Russell
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-470-84716-6


Chapter One

Creativity

If we were to remove a brain from the skull we would see that it is made up of two almost identical hemispheres. These two hemispheres are connected by a bridge, or interface, of millions of nerve fibres called the corpus callosum which allows them to communicate with each other. Thus, the human brain consists of three main parts, the left hemisphere, the right hemisphere and the all-important interface between these two hemispheres.

In order to work to its full potential, each of these hemispheres must be capable of analysing its own input first, only exchanging information with the other half, by means of the interface, when a considerable amount of processing has taken place.

Because both hemispheres are capable of working independently, human beings are able to process two streams of information at once. The brain then compares and integrates the information to obtain a broader and more in-depth understanding of the concept under examination.

In the early 1960s the American psychologist Roger Sperry showed by a series of experiments, first using animals whose corpus callosum had been severed, and then on human patients whose corpus callosumhad been severed in an attempt to cure epilepsy, that each of the two hemispheres has developed specialized functions and has its own private sensations, perceptions, ideas and thoughts, all separate from the opposite hemisphere. As their experiments continued, Sperry, who won the 1981 Nobel Prize for medicine for his work in this area, and his team were able to reveal much more about how the two hemispheres were specialized to perform different tasks.

For most people the left side of the brain is analytical and functions in a sequential and logical fashion and is the side which controls language, academic studies and rationality. On the other hand, the right side is creative and intuitive and leads, for example, to the birth of ideas for works of art and music.

This is where the interface between the two halves of the brain becomes so important. In order for the subconscious of the right-hand hemisphere to function, it needs the fuel, in other words data, which has been fed into, collated and processed by the left-hand hemisphere.

The real danger is the overburdening of the left-hand hemisphere with too much data, and too quickly, to the extent that the creative side of the brain is unable to function to its full potential. On the other hand, lack of data fed into the left-hand hemisphere could result in the creative side, or right-hand hemisphere, drying up. It is, therefore, desirable to strike the right balance between right and left hemispheres in order for the brain to work to its full potential. The term creativity refers to mental processes that lead to solutions, ideas, concepts, artistic expression, theories or products that are unique and novel. Because it is such a diverse subject in which there are so many different ways in which creativity manifests itself, and because in so many people it is to a great extent unexplored, creativity is very difficult, if not impossible, to measure.

The French mathematicians Poincaré and Hadamard defined the following four stages of creativity:

1 Preparation - the attempt to solve a problem by normal means.

2 Incubation - when you feel frustrated that the above methods have not worked and as a result you then move on to other things.

3 Illumination - the answer suddenly comes to you in a flash via your subconscious.

4 Verification - your reasoning powers take over as you analyse the answer which has come to you, and you assess its feasibility.

The right-hand hemisphere of the human brain, which controls the creative functions, is the side of the brain which is under-used by the majority of people. Because it is underused, much creative talent in many people remains untapped throughout their life. Until we try, most of us never know what we can achieve, for example, one in three people in Britain have the desire to write a novel, yet only a very small percentage of these people progress any further than the initial stage of just thinking about it.

We all have a creative side to our brain, therefore we all have the potential to be creative. However, because of the pressures of modern living and the need for specialization, many of us never have the time or opportunity, or indeed are given the encouragement, to explore our latent talents, even though most of us have sufficient ammunition to realize this potential in the form of data which has been fed into, collated and processed by the brain over many years.

Writers, indeed all artists, must, therefore, use both halves of the brain. They must use the right side of the brain to create things, and the left side of the brain to organize things. The creative and intuitive right side is able to cope with complexity and this is where insights originate, whilst the left side controls language, academic studies and rational intellectual work. The problem is, especially as in so many people the left half of the brain is possessively dominant, getting these two halves of the brain to pass information back and forth and work together.

In order to perform any creative task it is necessary to encourage your right side to start its creative juices flowing, in other words, move your mental processes, albeit temporarily, from the dominant left side across to the creative right side. This may sound an easy enough task in theory, but not so easy to put into practice.

Like many other tasks, or pleasures, the majority of us never know what we can achieve until we try. Having then tried, we instinctively know whether we find it enjoyable or whether we have a talent or flair for it. Then, if these signs are positive, we persevere. By cultivating new leisure activities and pursuing new pastimes it is possible for each of us to exploit the potential and often vastly under-used parts of the human brain.

The following exercises, while different in themselves, are all designed with the object of improving or recognizing your own powers of mental productivity, generation of ideas and artistic skills.

Tests of creativity

Progressive matrices test (Answers, see pp. 167-8)

The ten questions here are designed to test and exercise your appreciation of pattern and design, your ability to think laterally and to explore with an open mind the various possibilities that might lead to a correct solution.

In tests of intelligence, a matrix is an array of squares in which one of the squares has been omitted, and where you must choose the correct missing square from a number of options. It is, therefore, necessary to study the matrix to decide what pattern is occurring, either by looking across each line and down each column, looking at the array as a whole or looking at the relationship between different squares within the array.

The test that follows consists of ten questions which gradually increase in difficulty as the test progresses, first starting with 2 x 2 arrays, then 3 x 3 arrays and finally 4 x 4 arrays. The tests call for a great deal of creative right-brain thinking and you must apply your mind to each set of diagrams in order to appreciate the patterns and sequences that are occurring.

You have 45 minutes in which to solve the ten questions.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from MAXIMIZE YOUR BRAINPOWER by Philip Carter Ken Russell Copyright © 2002 by Philip Carter and Ken Russell. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Introduction.

About the brain.

Creativity.

Tests of creativity.

Problem solving.

The puzzles.

Numerical problem solving.

Memory.

Memory tests.

Agility of mind.

Questions and tests.

Intelligence tests.

IQ test one.

IQ test two.

Hints.

Puzzles problem solving.

Numerical problem solving.

Answers.

Creativity.

Problem solving.

Numerical problem solving.

Agility of mind.

IQ test one.

IQ test two.

The Way Forward.

Further reading.

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