Later it transpired that some areas of his brain were indeed better developed and nourished by a rich fabric of glial cells, i. Yet it is difficult to predicate as to whether all these differences were inborn or were rather a result of his training in abstract thinking. Anatomical studies show that various areas of the human brain may substantially differ in size between individuals. Yet it is not easy to find correlations between these difference and mental powers. In people with a normal range of IQ, the volume of cerebral cortex may vary twice between one person and the next.
So may the extent of differences in metabolic rates in the same organ.
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Similar differences have been found between such critical brain structures as the hippocampus, entorhinal cortex, and the amygdala. Connections between the hemispheres can dramatically differ in volume e. The left inferior-parietal lobule located just above the level of the ears in the parietal cortex is larger in men, and was also found to be larger in Einstein's brain as well as in the brains of mathematicians and physicists. On the other hand, the two language area of the cortex: Broca and Wernicke areas are larger in women, which may explain why women might be superior in language processing and verbal tasks.
Bigger men have bigger brains but are not smarter. A racially sensitive subject of lower SAT test scores among blacks and Hispanics in the US has been a matter of debate for a number of years. The differences could not be explained by the material status of families or the neighborhood factor. Stanford psychology professor Claude Steele has conducted revealing experiments in which black students could do equally well on the test as long as they were not told they are being scored. Although we can point to differences based on sex or ethnicity, the ultimate difference in the creative potential is by far more dependent on the upbringing, education and student's personality.
As explained in Genius in Chess , despite chess being a "male game", female chess player, Judit Polgar, developed skills that are superior to those of When we tried to see if student IQ makes it easier to do well in learning and in exams, we found that some personality factors matter more. Most optimistically, SuperMemo and memory research show that our memory works in the same way at the very basic molecular and synaptic level.
Our forgetting is described by the same forgetting curve whose steepness is mostly determined by knowledge representation. As the analysis of success stories with SuperMemo shows, main learning differences between individuals can be found in 1 personality perseverance, delayed gratification, optimism, etc.
A week-long course in mnemonic techniques immediately illustrates that knowledge representation skills can be learn very fast indeed. Those skills also develop in proportion to the amount of learning as demonstrated by differences between primary, secondary, undergraduate and graduate levels. All users of SuperMemo, unless primed beforehand, start with building clumsy collections of learning material that is quite difficult to retain in memory.
Within months, most users develop reasonable strategies on how knowledge should be represented to minimize the effort of learning see: 20 rules of formulating knowledge in learning. To produce breakthrough ideas, most valuable rules are those that are highly abstract i. They should be applicable to a wide range of problems. This is why various branches of mathematics should be taught to students of all professions. Logic, probability calculus, or statistics are highly abstract and highly applicable.
The same formula of logic may be the basis of dozens of other highly abstract rules.
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Let alone the difference between deduction and induction which forms the basis of scientific investigation, as well as the basis of logical read "correct" thinking about such simple choices in life as selecting the appropriate brand of cereals for breakfast. Rule abstractness : If you learn the rule " Wheat contains kcal per grams" its is only applicable to wheat.
If you narrow the term wheat to a single concept i. However, the rule "Most cereals contain kcal per grams" is probabilistically applicable to both wheat and maize. The latter rule is more abstract and statistically more valuable in problem solving i. The applicability of rules does not only depend on their express meaning. The actual representation of the rule in the human brain is paramount! The same rule in the mind of a genius can find a dozen more applications than can be borne out of an effort of a plain crammer.
The skill of learning the rules the right way is a critical component of genius. Genetic component may play a minor role here. Many individuals find it difficult to represent knowledge in their minds in a way that can lead to a genius breakthrough.
Understanding the right forms of training for abstract representation of rules in the human mind may bring untold benefits to mankind in years to come. If you type this rule to MS Word and save it in a doc file, the rule will be as useless as any rule crammed into your memory without understanding. Yet the same rule encoded in a hardware monitor DLL can be a blessing to the security of data stored in your computer.
The way we represent rules in our brain determines their applicability. For the same reason, I started this article with a computer metaphor.
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This way I tried to represent the foundation knowledge of this text in a form that is easily understood by everyone. The rules I am expressing can hopefully be easier to digest and store in your mind with a more tangible long-term benefit. With the appropriate representation, no scientific theory is complex. All great theories were born in the human mind.
However, they were able to arrange the pieces of the puzzle in their mind in such a way that they could easily see the light. There is nothing inherently complex in the theory of relativity, the theorem of incompleteness or the uncertainty principle. Some theories may be more voluminous than others. Some may be voluminous enough, in their digestible simple representation, to discourage many from digging in. An important conclusion: No product of human thought is inherently complex or incomprehensible.
The difference between easy subjects and difficult once can always be explained by the representation and volume. Abstractness calls for particularly well-chosen representation. The fact that dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago may require no special approach. Abstract mathematics, on the other hand, may be introduced to a student in a number of ways that differ in their effectiveness by many orders of magnitude.
There are many more students who fear algebra than those who tremble before a literature class. Symbols of algebra do not have specialized brain circuits to process and simplify them. Student problems with algebra can usually be tracked down to insufficient training in math at primary and secondary levels. Consequently, a motivation factor builds up another inhibitory layer.
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The gratification from reading an excellent novel is instant. The benefits of math require good command of the raw basics, starting with the multiplication table and the sums. We have not been able to find many shortcuts from the basic level math towards solving differential equations.
However, yet a few years ago, you could hear from many: Computers? That's not for me.
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I have never been good at technical subjects. Today, the same people surf the net for hours. Seniors are flocking to the net in droves. We have succeeded in simplifying the way people see and use the computers. We have changed the way computing is represented in public mind. In acquiring knowledge, never say " this article or book is too hard for me ".
When listing books he read in his youth, Charles Babbage, the inventor of the first mechanical computer, wrote " Amongst these were Humphry Ditton's 'Fluxions', of which I could make nothing". We know that Babbage was the last person you would suspect of having problems with mathematical texts.
If you see the text of which " you could make nothing ", go to the first sentence and analyze it. Most often than not, it is just the author who uses the language or structure that is either inappropriate or not matching your present knowledge in the field.
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If you encounter problems, and there is no explanation, no introduction, or if specialist terminology runs out of the field without a suitable glossary, you may safely excuse your comprehension problems. Do not attempt to dig into advanced chemistry article without the basic chemistry background.
Scott Kim, Author at Getting2Alpha
Every fourth word may fall out of your vocabulary range. It may take months or years to build a necessary background! Least of all, blame your own perception. Just keep on working harder and one day you will see the light. If you find difficult material, do not waste time for depression or despair. Abstractness is inherently harder to digest than plain facts. Methodically analyze the reasons for which you cannot comprehend given material.
Either the material is badly presented or you need new knowledge that will resolve your problem. Be patient and remember: Everything is difficult before it becomes easy!