By D’andre Wolbrom Highfield - Education Degree Student
What makes a person smart? Can we become smarter? These questions are normally answered by the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) level which is a measurement of problem solving and individual ability to reason. Some people believe that intelligence and IQ are the same, but intelligence is the ability of acquiring knowledge and skills, thus they are related, not the same. An individual that is considered to be smart is celebrated in society; our survival depends on smart decisions. Over the years, we as humans have evolved mentally allowing a better perspective and understanding of situations and our surroundings. Thanks to this intellectual brilliance the course of history has changed.
Human intelligence can be enhanced, and science has proven that neuroplasticity exists. Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to adapt. Dr. Campbell explains that “it refers to the physiological changes in the brain that happen as the result of our interactions with our environment” (Ackerman, 2018, para. 3). This works in a way that brain cells get stimulated while we are learning, achieving new pathways through the brain. These pathways are activated, and the individual is able to have new experiences and acquire knowledge about how to confront a situation. According to Ackerman (2018), there are two main types of neuroplasticity: the structural type (strengthens the connection between neurons changes) and functional (describes the permanent changes in the neurons due to learning and development).
There are different ways to understand the brain and how it works. Brain activity can be compared to body muscle activity. As you constantly work out your muscles, they tear and then, after some rest, they become stronger and gain more mass. The brains activity works the same. The stimuli create several pathways and produce new neurons unlocking parts of the brain that are able to learn and adapt; therefore, new capabilities are acquired allowing people to become smarter.
There are several activities to exercise the brain, such as reading, which requires reflection and analytical thought and increases vocabulary. Learning a language activates more paths in the brain, using the auditory and motor cortex. Brain exercises designed by neuroscientists sharpen our cognitive abilities. On the other hand, physical exercises can enhance brain abilities through cardiovascular activity which gets more blood and oxygen to it. Learning how to play musical instruments, eating smart and meditation are other activities that stimulate the brain.
We can appreciate the fact that good habits are the essence to increase our intelligence. I agree with Charles Bryant (2019) who said that “while we can't all agree on a standard for intelligence, we can agree that the human brain is the key to all of them. It has a great capacity to adapt, rewire and grow”. Being smart in today’s society is an excellent tool to succeed and, with the right impetus, it is at everyone’s reach.
MOXIE es el Canal de ULACIT (www.ulacit.ac.cr), producido por y para los estudiantes universitarios, en alianza con el medio periodístico independiente Delfino.cr, con el propósito de brindarles un espacio para generar y difundir sus ideas. Se llama Moxie - que en inglés urbano significa tener la capacidad de enfrentar las dificultades con inteligencia, audacia y valentía - en honor a nuestros alumnos, cuyo “moxie” los caracteriza.
Ackerman, C.E. (2018). Information about Neuroplasticity. Recuperado de https://positivepsychology.com/neuroplasticity/
Bryant, C. (2019). Information about intelligence. Recuperado de https://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/human-brain/5-ways-get-smarter.htm