Monday, March 16, 2015

Analogies Are Mind Expanders: Braintenance - Douglas E. Castle

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Analogies Are Mind Expanders

If you'd like to truly sharpen your ability to think associatively and to open up some exciting neural pathways in the bargain, doing exercises involving analogies may be just the think to add to your Braintenance regimen. These exercises even improve you pattern recognition, total cognition and creative thinking. If you'd like to think outside of the box (and keep your mind fresh in the process), analogies are wonderful tools.

An analogy (dog is to puppy as cat is to kitten, or, as it commonly appears on standardized tests, especially in higher grades: dog : puppy :: cat : kitten) is a comparison between two things that are usually thought to be different from each other, but have some similarities. They help us understand things by making connections and seeing relationships between them based on knowledge we already possess.

Analogies are a ubiquitous staple of standardized tests. This type of comparison plays a significant role not only in improving problem solving and decision making skills, but also in perception and memory, as well as communication and reasoning skills. Learning analogies can help with reading and building vocabulary.

Types of Analogies include:
  • Synonym (happy : joyful :: sad : depressed)
  • Antonym (inflation : deflation :: frail : strong)
  • Characteristic (tropical : hot :: polar : cold)
  • Part/Whole (finger : hand :: petal : flower)
  • Degree (mist : fog :: drizzle : tropical storm)
  • Type (golden retriever : dog :: salmon : fish)
  • Tool/Worker (pen : writer :: voice : singer)
  • Action/Object (fly : airplane :: drive : car)
  • Item/Purpose (knife : cut :: ruler : measure)
  • Product/Worker (poet : poem :: baker : pie)
    Different types of analogies are introduced at different levels. Elementary school analogies may be simple, possibly funny analogies; whereas middle school analogies may focus more on analogical reasoning. Analogies practiced in high school delve even more deeply into analogical problem solving.
    Analogy vs. Metaphor
    Students often confuse analogies with metaphors. Both are comparisons, often involving unrelated objects, so what IS the difference? An analogy is a parallel comparison between two different things, whereas a metaphor is more of a direct comparison between two things, often with one word being used to symbolically represent another. "All the world's a stage. And all the men and women merely players." is an example of a famous metaphor. William Shakespeare is directly comparing the world to a stage, with the people playing " roles" as they go about their daily lives. A comparable analogy would be "Players are to stage as figure skaters are to ice rink."
Here are some examples (without answers supplied, so if you are overly-challenged, you'll need to employ or some other vocabulary resource) of analogies to sharpen your mind and refresh your vocabulary as well... 


Your answer:
criminal : sentence
umpire : oust
broom : sweep [this answer is correct]
decision : vacillate
doctor : cure


Your answer:
reserve : reticent
mobility : energetic
anticipation : solemn
reliability : erratic
argument : contradictory


Your answer:
snake : rattle
leaf : branch
oyster : clam
oak : tree
snail : shellfish


Your answer:
man : woman
executive : employee
agency : assignment
teacher : class
map : trip


Your answer:
labor : suceed
bicker : fight
reduce : enlarge
spank : whip
pilfer : steal

      1. COT : BED

Your answer:
hand : finger
hotel : motel
tissue : hankerchief
lesson : composition
tea : lemon


Your answer:
loyal : staunch
rough : texture
separate : attached
hard : granite
tanned : leather


Your answer:
retired : hope
greedy : money
athletic : intelligence
traitorous : loyalty
conserve : party

      1. FIX : STABLE

Your answer:
mend : torn
fortify : strong
deter : active
captivate : attractive
furrow : productive


Your answer:
unfathomable : depth
extraneous : proposition
incurable : disease
ineffable : expression
varied : appearance

I wish you the best of luck, fellow Braintenancers, and I thank you as always for reading me. 

Douglas E. Castle for The Braintenance Blog

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Douglas E. Castle, neural, brain exercises, Braintenance, analogies, metaphor, associative thinking, pattern recognition, self-development, self-help, IQ

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BRAINTENANCE: Train, Strain And Improve Your Brain. Expand Your Mind.

Braintenance contains articles, resources, exercises, games and specially-designed protocols to improve the power of your brain and your mind in every significant aspect, including memory, cognition, IQ, plasticity, creativity and problem-solving ability.

Key Terms: brain, mind, cognitive enhancement, memory, brain gym exercises, IQ, plasticity, mind expansion, creativity, meditation, altered states, perception, self-hypnosis, self-growth, neuron, artificial intelligence, learning, somatic intellect, mathematics, language, dissonance, individualism, herd mentality, puns and word games, linguistics, genius, emotion, subconscious, unconscious, intuition, instinct, psychedelic, reality, learning curve, probability, collective consciousness

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