Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Backwards Thinking

I just read this great blogpost about cognitive skills and walking. This one takes a different direction, literally. Wray Herbert talks about brain function and the difference between walking forward as compared to walking backwards.

Researchers had a few volunteers walk some steps forward then they took a cognitive test. They walked left and took the test. This was repeated to the right, then backwards. The researchers concluded the following:
Those who had walked just a few steps backward were far more focused and attentive than were any of the others. That is, their physical retreat triggered increased mental control—presumably because of the ancient link between threat and vigilance. Confronted with a problem or difficulty, it made be advisable to take a step back and think about the situation—literally.
When I was in school I loved use techniques to help me assimilate information. I learned that drinking coffee an hour before a test helped with recall, I never missed a cup. Taking frequent breaks while studying helps process the info, I was the king of breaks. Now I learn that I should walk backwards when I need more brain power.

So if you see me walking backwards one day -- I'm not crazy -- just trying to get my brain to work.

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