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How Nonsense Sharpens the Intellect?

resonance: 28.7% from: karts

NYTimes: Health: by Benedict Carey [1]

This article described an intriguing phenomenon - when we encounter things that defy our logic and expectation (like "gyres and gimbles in the wabe"), our mind recoils a bit at the strangeness but may actually become primed to sense patterns it would otherwise miss - in math, language, and the world in general. The brain evolved to predict and it predicts by identifying patterns. When those patterns break down, the brain gropes for something that makes sense. One study showed how college kids who first read a nonsensical story did a lot better, on subsequent pattern recognition tasks, than students who first read a logical story.

As someone who loves off-beat and disorienting experiences and rates the Jabberwocky as an all-time favorite, it's interesting to think that things I love could be helping hone pattern recognition skills. But what I was really left wondering is what innate intelligence means if you can improve your pattern recognition abilities by reading Kafka or even increase your white matter by learning to juggle (http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/news_stories/2009/091012_2.html)?

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/06/health/06mind.html?_r=1&em

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