Friday, November 16, 2012

Increase Memory, Recall And Cognition: MAZES!

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Did you know that navigating your way through mazes can increase your total memory, recall and cognition? Did you know that this simple recreational activity (which only requires a pencil and a mind) also delays the outset of senile dementia, enhances your ability to focus, improves your abstract reasoning, improves your ability to plan and carries with it untold and countless other benefits.

Mazes are wonderful mental muscle builders.

Individuals tend to attack mazes (on paper or on sketch screen applications on mobile devices) using any one of several approaches:

1) Brute Force Adherents, who only make a cursory inspection of the maze, followed by high-speed trial and error attempts, with each attempt usually getting than the one which preceded it and terminated at an earlier stopping point;

2) Center - Out Examiners, who view the whole maze and first seek to identify the center, and psychologically work their way outward to the entryway of the maze befor putting stylus to screen or pencil to paper;

3) Alternating Center-Out, Outside-Center Examiners who switch back and forth between finding a path from the center out, and from the entrance to the center prior to tackling the maze with any commitment.

As you might have guessed intuitively, the third group tends to be the most successful in terms of time to master the maze, while the first group (unless they have done a great number of mazes and have developed an instinct for the maze maker's structures and tricks - to the extent that there is some element of pattern recognition) tends to fair the slowest.

The third group is using multi-dimensionally referenced intelligence (actually making connections from several different perspectives and putting them together), while the first group is working very much like a computer... except that the computer can do the same brute force trial and error process much faster.

In working a maze, try to work (even if it requires a change of habit) like the constituents of the third group to the greatest extent reasonably possible. In fact, one of the best tricks is to hold the maze as far away from your face as possible, and then bring it closer a bit at a time; then reverse the process. This adds yet an additional perspective to give you both the microscopic and telescopic dimensions of the maze.

Some Tags, Labels And Search Terms For This Article: Prim, Kruskal, DFS, Depth First Search, maze algorithms, recursive, labyrinth, crop circles, topiary, menagerie, perception, objective view, subjective view, maze-building...

For your entertainment, I've put together a short list of maze generators. You can use these to generate mazes, print them out (if you must kill a tree -- sigh --), and do them at your leisure. One thing is certain; the more of these that you do, the better you get at doing them quickly. Some of this is attributable to pattern recognition, and some of it is due to better integrating all of the perspectives in all of the dimensions.

The list of maze generators follows:

Selected On November 16th, 2012
(allows you to create your maze in a variety of shapes)

Enjoy this exercise in aMAZEment.

Thank you, as always, for reading me and for retweeting (RT) me.

Douglas E. Castle for The Braintenance Blog, The Taking Command Blog, The Sending Signals Blog and The Business And Project Planning And Management Blog.

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