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The Fix

Thought-provoking culture, creative ideas, insightful science and inspiring gifts

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COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS, THEN YOUR BRAIN CELLS

Do clarity of thought and a better memory appeal? Kindness tsar David Hamilton has the easy answer

IT’S COMMON knowledge that gratitude improves happiness, but research indicates that it might also enhance intelligence. Scientists at the Catholic University of Milan studied the brains and intellectual performance of friends who were asked to exchange gifts at the beginning of a cognitive task. The purpose was to see what eff ect, if any, gratitude would have on performance.

The researchers found that sharing gifts, which presumably facilitated feelings of gratitude, had a measurable eff ect.* There was an increase in cognitive performance, but exchanging gifts also had an impact on participants’ brain networks associated with clearer thinking and memory. It could therefore be true that creating a habit of showing appreciation, for even the small things in life, might help us think more clearly and eff ectively.

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