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Monday, May 27, 2013

Study: IQ is related to focus (which is related to meditation)


A new study suggests that intelligence is more about what the brain chooses to ignore than simply its ability to process information rapidly, Time reports.
 
The research, which was published in the journal Current Biology, suggests new ways of testing intelligence that measure thought processes in ways that are less culturally biased than IQ tests and that can factor in those who process information differently.
 
Scientists led by Duje Tadin, assistant professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester, studied 67 people in two similar experiments that involved tracking the subtle movements of small and large objects on a computer screen. Intelligence correlated with their ability to tell which direction the balls moved and whether participants were better at tracking large or small balls. Those who tracked small balls did better on intelligence tests.

“For intelligence, you need to be able process relevant information fast, but you also need to focus on the most relevant information and filter out what’s irrelevant,” Tadin says.

Numerous other research studies have shown that meditation is a way to develop focus, to drop extraneous stimuli that may cause anxiety or stress. Can it also make you more intelligent? That study is down the road, I suppose.

But in the meantime ... a daily meditation practice won't hurt. Sit comfortably and quietly, focus on your breath. When you notice that your focus has moved to something else -- planning, remembering, evaluating, note that and return to your breath. Do that for a set amount of time.

Practice daily for weeks or months, and see if you feel smarter. Let me know.