Boosting Brain Power: 6 Lessons Learnt From Dissecting Einstein’s Brain & More

Our brains are a mystifying puzzle that science has been trying to complete for decades. Consisting of many folds and nerve endings (neurons), the brain is the super-computer that not only powers our body but also resides as the key mediator between ourselves and how we encounter reality.

BBC Science Documentary - How Smart Can We Get?

1. What Mathematics And Spatial Aptitude Have In Common
After taking a closer look at Einstein’s brain, it became clear that his Parietal Lobe was 15% larger than that of an average human being.

What does this mean in terms of Einstein’s intelligence?

The Parietal Lobe is a part of the brain responsible for 3D spatial awareness and integrating the world around us to form a picture in our minds. Einstein had an anatomical advantage in this regard, which scientists believed helped him to discover his theories and see the world in a way that nobody else could at the time.

This part of the brain is also involved in dealing with working out mathematics problems. Children who are exceptionally gifted in this area use at least five times more of this part of their brains.

Seems like doing all that mathematics homework paid off – at least for Einstein.

It logically follows that doing activities that help evolve connections in your parietal lobe will boost your intelligence, such as practicing your mathematics skills or exercising motor coordination.

2. The Power of Music In Shaping Your Brain
The more brain mass as well as folds in the brain that you have, the more neurons can make connections. These connections are what make new ideas possible (and pretty much all else we do).

Einstein’s brain was found to have a special fold on the right-hand side that is not present in an average human brain.

This area of the brain is known to light up when we use the fingers or muscles in our left hands. In recent years, this fold has been discovered in the brains of violinists, of which Einstein was one. Einstein himself said that his theory of relativity was mainly an intuitive discovery, of which music played a crucial role.

The same area for the right hand, on the opposite side of the brain, was shown to be more developed in pianists.

In other words, playing a musical instrument adds extra folds (and neurons) to your brain, thus increasing your capacity to think better.

As explained in the documentary, your brain will retain changes in as little as 15 months after practicing a musical instrument every day!

3. How Imagination Will Enhance Your Memory
Don’t believe it’s important to have a sense of imagination to be a genius? Think again!

Memory plays a significant role in assessing somebody’s overall intelligence. After exploring the minds of those who have seemingly mastered memory, it was seen in the presentation above that imagination is key to storing vast amounts of information in short spaces of time.

The part of the brain responsible for short-term memory is the Hippocampus. This is a very small area of the brain that processes a lot of data from all over. It’s easy to overload the Hippocampus when trying to learn new information, which is why memory experts use an ancient memory technique to achieve surprising results!

How does one achieve enhanced memory? By including other senses into the equation to make the information come alive.

Next time you have to remember a few things fast, use your imagination to visualize as much as you of the information. You can make up a story, imagine an object in the room or associate colors, movements, sounds or even imagined smells with the memory.

Here is a useful book that contains more information on how you can develop an unlimited memory and boost your brain power!

Studying How to memorize 40 random words – using an ancient technique

4. More Connection Means More Brain Power
When we look at those we consider to be geniuses, like Einstein, we are acknowledging their ability to solve problems better than we can.

But how does problem-solving work on an anatomical level?

Brain experts have dissected the brain to discover an intricate network of neurons. Through studying the brain, it became clear which neurons fire up when we use certain parts of the brain. These neurons line the folds of the brain in the form of “grey matter.”

The true key, however, to problem-solving like a genius is the communication and coordination between all parts of the brain.

Connecting all the grey matter of the brain lies strings of neuronal fibers, collectively known as the brain’s “white matter.” The next frontier of neuroscience is mapping out all these different connections that allow all parts of our brain to work together coherently.

In conclusion, to be smart you need to “use it or lose it”.

Learning new skills, creating new connections and strengthening your brain’s ability to communicate with itself will increase your intelligence and your ability to solve problems. Every single activity, from playing a sport to solving a math problem, encourages neurons to connect and stimulates growth.

Even activities like juggling have been shown to increase both white and grey matter in the brain.

Be courageous and teach yourself a new skill with the juggling set below!

A famous study found that Juggling can increase the gray matter in your brain.

The Rubix cube is another fun way to make new connections in that brain of yours – give it a go!

5. Practice Makes Perfect (Intelligence)
The host of the show decided to explore the minds of those who have unique abilities: an overnight piano sensation, the living human calendar calculator, and a pure scientist-gone-artist as old-age affected areas of her brain.

All of these special savant cases have one thing in common; each of them, either from birth, an injury or old-age, had parts of their brains that shut down or switched off. This resulted in a significant amount of activity in other areas of the brain to compensate for the missing or closed off areas.

The value in understanding this?

While you may not have an area of your brain that is switched off (please don’t get involved in an accident to try!), you can train in any particular task to divert more brain activity in that region thus improving your gifts and abilities.

Reach for the stars and practice what you want to be brilliant at!

Many seemingly gifted masters of our time did not have anything truly unique about their brains, aside from the fact that they spent way more time and effort developing them by comparison to anyone else.

6. Managing Your Stress Levels Boosts Cognitive Performance
Many of us will know that stress definitely affects our ability to think or even perform tasks normally. Under pressure, people ‘choke’, go blank, stutter, quiver, a battle to think clearly, and struggle to make decisions.

Why does this happen to us?

The answer lies in the Pre-Frontal Cortex of the brain, which deals with logical reasoning, decision making, speech, learning, memory, and behavioral control. When we feel stress, even good stress, the emotional centers of our brain (the Amygdala) starts to send lots of signals to the Pre-Frontal Cortex. This distorts the way we think.

As the documentary explained beautifully, this kind of distortion is like an internet browser with far too many windows open – each thought battles to load or the brain does not know which one to load first. Many people relate to this experience.

What can be done to solve this problem?

Those who do not relate to choking under pressure have a unique ability to temporarily pause the communication between the Pre-Frontal Cortex and the Amygdala. Therein lies the secret! If you can quiet this interference from the Amygdala under pressure, you will perform better without being affected by stress.

One way of doing so is by writing down all your emotions on paper when you feel stressed. In fact, students who did this before an exam tended to perform on average 10% better than those who did not.

Journaling can help to mentally prepare you for pressurizing situations in your life, allowing you to achieve more with a clearer focus as well as feel better!

If you would like to give it a try, here is a great journal you can use anywhere, anytime:

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