LivingDoes talking make us smarter?

Does talking make us smarter?

conversacionTheconversation with other people on friendly termscanimprove brain functionand our ability to solve problems, according to a new study from the University of Michigan (USA) published in the journalSocial Psychological and Personality Science. However, if the tone of the conversations is competitive they have no cognitive benefits.

To reach this conclusion, the researchers examined the impact of brief episodes ofsocial contactin a key component of brain activity,executive function, the process by which we canplan, anticipate and develop strategies, judgments and reasoning. This cognitive function encompasses working memory, self-control, the ability to pay attention and suppress distractions, and solving complex problems. The studies revealed that engaging in short conversations, lasting about ten minutes, in which participants were invited to meet another person, stimulated these processes. But when the subjects conversed in a competitive tone, their performance on cognitive tasks did not improve.

“We believe that this occurs because in certain social interactions people try to read the thoughts of others and understand their perspectives on problems or situations,” said psychologist Oscar Ybarra, head of the study, who assures that his work shows that there is a strong “connection between social intelligence and general intelligenceIn previous research, Ybarra had already detected that social interaction produces a short-term stimulus to executive function that is comparable to that of certain mental games such as solving crosswords.

Some practical advice for certain types of intellectual tasks can be gleaned from the new research. For example,a friendly conversation with a colleague before an important presentation or examit can be a good strategy to get better results. But we must also bear in mind that, in a competitive context, without realizing it, a simple chat can “undermine our cognitive flexibility and our focus,” according to Ybarra.

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