Can adopting other people’s perspectives make you smarter?


Recent findings indicate interventions can boost executive functions—mental processes that have long been thought to be static and not open to change. The authors examined whether and how short-term social interactions could create such cognitive benefits. Study 1 found that basic get-to-know-you interactions (with or without an explicit cooperative goal) boosted executive function relative to controls and as much as nonsocial intellective activities. In contrast, interactions involving a competitive goal resulted in no boosts. Studies 2 and 3 tested a proposed mechanism for the results—that people need to engage with others and take their perspective to realize cognitive boosts. The findings show that competitive interactions, if structured to allow for interpersonal engagement, can boost executive functions. The results highlight how social functioning can enhance core mental capacities.

Source: “Friends (and Sometimes Enemies) With Cognitive Benefits: What Types of Social Interactions Boost Executive Functioning?” from Social Psychological and Personality Science

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