TV 'better for brain power than a book'

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The Independent Online

Watching half an hour of Richard and Judy's chat show can seriously boost your brain power, a study has found.

Watching half an hour of Richard and Judy's chat show can seriously boost your brain power, a study has found.

Slumping in front of the teatime show was more effective for improving mental powers than listening to classical music, doing a crossword or working on a construction toy, said Professor Kevin Warwick, who was reporting on tests on 200 students from Reading University, who performed each activity before sitting an IQ test.

Both women and men's IQ scoring increased by an average of 5 points, although the positive results were more pronounced in women.

An episode of Friends had a beneficial result for women but an adverse effect on men. A BBC documentary on robots worked wonders for men's intellectual capabilities, although it had little effect on women. Reading a book for half an hour was found to diminish intellectual performance.

Professor Warwick, who presented the research at the annual training conference of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development this week, said the findings would be relevant for anyone wishing to enhance their short-term intelligence before a high-pressure situation such as an exam, interview or board meeting. "The people who swot up with a book before an exam or interview would be better off relaxing by watching something light on TV," he said.

Meditation was also found to be an effective way of increasing intelligence.

Professor Warwick, who specialises in cybernetics, said a cup of coffee was found to boost IQ by three points, while peanuts also functioned as brain food, improving IQ scores. Chocolate and orange juice had a negative effect."These results should be seen in the context of short-term mental capabilities, not long-term effects," he said.

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