A couple weeks ago, I wrote about those continuing to work to stay sharp. Given the current economy, many people are coming to Marbles in order to maintain the mental performance needed to find a new job or even to keep the one they have. We were very excited to be featured in an article on the front page Saturday’s Chicago Tribune about this very subject. While the slowing rate of layoffs is providing hope, our customers are not taking any chances. As our Vice President Karen Luby told reporters, “the unemployed and people nervous about losing their jobs were coming in and saying, ‘I need to stay sharp.’ ” Since critical thinking is essential to solving problems and making decisions on the job, we recommend games like Hive, a new product at Marbles aimed at bolstering your strategic thinking ability or brain fitness software programs like NeuroActive Complete Brain Training.
Beyond keeping your brain sharp, it helps to harness the power of what you already know. Much discussion has centered on the ability of crowds or groups to make better predictions than individuals when one takes the average of all the individual answers or estimates. An article in Scientific American Mind asserts, “You Know More Thank You Think”, describing an article in Psychological Science which lays out a process through which one individual can make several estimates of the same answer, average them and come to a better answer than their original one. In this Herzog and Hertwig process called “dialectical bootstrapping,” an individual can draw on a diversity of opinion within his or her own mind. Curious to see if this technique works? Try it out on fun and challenging trivia questions from Blast From the Past.
Finally, a new study provides further evidence that a positive attitude can literally allow you to see more visually. The University of Toronto study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience found that “when in a positive mood, our visual cortex takes in more information, while negative moods result in tunnel vision.” In general, it seems that a wider perspective is preferable, but the article does point out that there may be times when the focus is required for a task, which a bad mood helps achieve. Either way, being aware of how mood can affect vision and thinking is the start.
I would love to hear your advice on staying sharp and performing at work. Are you more concerned given the current economic environment?
The countdown continues: only 10 more days until we open our new store in the Westfield Old Orchard Shopping Center! See some pictures of our progress below.