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Human Psychology Roundup

November 16, 2007

If you want to increase your mental powers, turn off the T.V. and start up a conversation.



Boosting brain power by talking. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Chatting with someone for just ten minutes improves your mental power. This according to researchers at the University of Michigan. They divided volunteers into three groups. One group talked with partners for ten minutes, another group worked on crossword puzzles and other brainy games, and the third just watched TV. Then they all took a series of tests to measure their mental abilities. The talkers and puzzle takers scored significantly higher than the TV watchers.

In other psychology news, Duke researchers report that optimistic people are better with finances than pessimistic people are —they tend to save more money, pay off their credit card debt on time and work longer hours. But too much optimism can be a problem. People who tested as extreme optimists tended to save less, work less, run up credit card debt and even smoke more. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.