Science Daily summarized a University of Michigan study thusly:
Spending just 10 minutes talking to another person can help improve your memory and your performance on tests.
And to think that the time you’ve invested in reading and playing Sudoku could have been replaced by a few minutes with friends!I wonder, though, does it matter what you talk about?Do you have to be discussing Don Quixote, for example, to supply adequate intellectual stimulation? Or is it equally effective to discuss the latest sale at Target or the fly that landed on the window screen?The article doesn’t elaborate, so I don’t know.Nevertheless, here are a few excerpts that stood out to me:
- Socializing was just as effective as more traditional kinds of mental exercise in boosting memory and intellectual performance.
- The higher the level of participants’ social interaction…the better their cognitive functioning. This relationship was reliable for all age groups, from the youngest through the oldest. (Not sure what “the higher the level” means at a practical level — maybe this is the Don Quixote factor?)
- Short-term social interaction lasting for just 10 minutes boosted participants’ intellectual performance as much as engaging in so-called ‘intellectual’ activities for the same amount of time. (This seems to negate the Don Quixote possibility — who can develop a significant discussion in ten minutes?)
- The findings suggest that visiting with a friend or neighbor may be just as helpful in staying sharp as doing a daily crossword puzzle.
- The findings also suggest that social isolation may have a negative effect on intellectual abilities as well as emotional well-being.
Apparently this means that those of us concerned with improving our intellectual abilities and fighting off Alzheimer’s can — or should — set down our Sudoku puzzles for a few minutes and find ourselves a friend.Anyone free to chat, say, 3:30 this afternoon?I’ll serve tea and blueberry muffins.
Oooh. A good excuse to chat on the phone for a few minutes with a friend? I’m all for that!
I don’t know about boosting mental prowess, but I’ll take a good heart-to-heart with a friend any old time! Yesterday I was so discouraged and met a friend for lunch. Together we commiserated about how tough life could be sometimes, and by the end I think we were both feeling better able to tackle it. Fellowship of the saints, or misery loves company? I prefer to think it was the former. ;o)