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Lying down may make you smarter

While at MIT, we used to mercilessly mock my friend Sawyer because he would always start a problem set, and then lie down on the couch to think about it. Turns out, he might have been on to something. Although it didn't help that he often had a pillow over his head...

http://www.braingle.com/mind/83/horizontally-smarter.html
A recent study by the Australian National University tested peoples' problem solving abilities while standing up and lying down. They found that people were slightly better at solving problems while in a horizontal position.

This difference in cognitive ability may come from the varied release of a neurotransmitter called noradrenaline, which is believed to interfere with creative thinking. When you are lying down, your body releases less noradrenaline.

So, if you need to do some serious thinking, lying down may slightly boost your performance.

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Goodhart9 years ago
his difference in cognitive ability may come from the varied release of a neurotransmitter called noradrenaline, which is believed to interfere with creative thinking. When you are lying down, your body releases less noradrenaline.

I would like to invoke Ockham's razor here, and suggest that the brain has less to do while horizontal. While standing, part of it is concentrating on numerous muscle groups, and parts of the ear, just to maintain balance. The brain is less busy / distracted while laying down.

This doesn't alter the results of the study, just maybe the cause of the effect.
I bet there are a bunch of reasons..keep in mind though, that parts of your brain do certain things, so the balancing part of your brain doesn't help you solve math problems.
True to a degree, but it may take needed nutrients etc, or if something (like a cramp, pain, or fly lighting on a bare leg) could make the stance "cognizant" and would bring it to bare as a distraction. I wasn't really attempting to discount what they conjectured, just adding my own :-)
I understand..what you said is valid, I was just mentioning that it would be total effort being exhausted, nor that that part of the rain is distracted.
;-) Ok, I just wanted to be clear that I have found that, once someone is made aware of something they are doing (like standing) it becomes (or CAN become) the dominant thought and can interfere with everything, even autonomic response (breathing, heart rate, etc).

I agree, there are myriad reasons why this effect is being observed and focusing on one would be obstructive, rather then enlightening.
guys different parts of the brain are not hard exactly hard wired to do a specific thing. one part of a brain can actually borrow another part of brain that is not doing anything. for example in blind people when they are reading brail, most of the activity is in the visual cortex this part of the brain is used to see but in a blind person since it doesn't have any use it actually switches its function to symbol recognition through touch. there is plenty of research to support this
But the whole brain doesn't do everything. On an every day basis, parts of your brain keep you balanced, and other parts think, they don't regularly play musical chairs. Changes are made out of necessity, and only happen when it needs to be done.
yes i know that but i was just stating the fact that parts of brain can switch their functions depending on the situation and task needed to be done and that brain in a dynamic organ and has the ability adapt to a certain degree.
the visual cortex this part of the brain is used to see but in a blind person since it doesn't have any use it actually switches its function to symbol recognition through touch. there is plenty of research to support this

True, but in a very real sense, it hasn't "really" switched functions, whether used for sight or for reading Brail, it is 'interpreting" what comes through the sense(s), the symbolic meaning of what is "seen"; thus kind of justifying our English use of the word "see" to mean "understand".

But I know what you mean also, as those that have had physical damage to the brain, some have been able to recover "what was lost" as other portions of the brain assumed the roles lost in "damaged" portions.
guyfrom7up9 years ago
but then when you try and write your arms get tired... I always get great ideas when trying to sleep, maybe because I'm lying down?
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