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Last Show Recap

Increasing Brain Power

In the first half, Buck Wolf, senior correspondent and weird news editor for the Huffington Post, shared tales and adventures of his investigations into the strange. Followed by Open Lines.

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Increasing Brain Power

Show Archive
Date: Saturday - January 18, 2014
Host: John B. Wells
Guests: Dan Hurley

Award-winning science journalist Dan Hurley discussed how the dogma surrounding IQ scores was shattered in 2008 with the publication of a major study showing that the ability to make oneself smarter can be significantly increased through training. For decades psychologists have viewed IQ scores as static unchangeable numbers that could not be improved, Hurley explained. The IQ test itself is merely a rough indicator of intelligence, or one's ability to solve problems, and does not adequately assess the strengths and weaknesses of the individual being tested, he said. As anecdotal evidence of how intelligence can improve and develop over time, Hurley shared his own experiences as a third grader who could not read but went on to become a straight-A student and receive high marks on the SAT.

As the brain is used intelligence grows, Hurley continued, pointing out how the opposite is also true. Summer breaks have been shown to reduce IQ in students, he noted. Research into early childhood development reveals a link between bright infants and stimulation through conversation and reading, he added. Hurley spoke about the concept of 'working memory' or keeping track of items as they are pushed aside for other items requiring attention. A study in ADHD students showed how training for one kind of working memory task improved performance in other tasks as well as increased fluid intelligence by as much as 40 percent, he reported. Hurley also revealed how n-back training can enhance memory and intelligence. "You do this n-back and your mind starts sharpening, you get better at these fundamental measures of fluid intelligence, problem-solving ability, your ability to make sense of things," he said. Hurley recommended listeners try online n-back training at soakyourhead.com.

Death of Kelly Thomas

In the first hour, Brian Engelman of The New American Media commented on the brutal beating death of homeless man Kelly Thomas at the hands of two Fullerton, California police officers. In a surveillance video of the event, the officers can be seen pummeling Thomas as he repeatedly cries out for his father and begs for help, Engelman reported. "The before and after of what [Thomas] looks like and what he looked like as lay there dying... he doesn't even look human," he said. Engelman urged listeners to watch the video (WARNING: Graphic Content) for themselves in order to fully understand the extent to which America has transformed into a police state. He expressed bewilderment at the jury's acquittal of officers and the media's lack of coverage of the tragedy.

Bumper Music

Bumper music from Saturday January 18, 2014

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