Getting really good at mental skills requires lots of practice. Just as you can only become a great pianist, sportsman or chess player with dedicated practice, most of the skills on this wiki - such as memory training, mental calculation, and logic - also need practice to get really good at them. So to reach the goal of becoming a better thinker, we need a training plan. That's what this page, currently under construction, is here to provide.
This plan aims to be:
What outcomes can we realistically expect from a training regime?
Firstly, we can train specific skills. There is lots of evidence that mental skills - from mental arithmetic to using memory systems.
Secondly, we could try to improve general intelligence. This is much harder and the evidence is weaker. While practice makes you better at the skill being practice, the improvements don't usually transfer to other tasks - the learning is very specific to the task being practised. However, there is some evidence that some activities - such as BrainTrainingGames and LanguageLearning - may potentially increase general intelligence, and these exercises are built into the training plan.
If we want to optimise learning new skills, what does the perfect training day look like?
Firstly, there is strong evidence that the brain's ability to learn is better after vigorous PhysicalExercise. So working up a sweat for half an hour before learning will produce better results.
Next come the learning tasks. How should these be structured? For a start, there is lots of evidence that SpacedRepetition is far more effective than learning in big blocks (or "cramming"). This means that it is optimal to "space out" learning as much as possible, with daily practice of all your skills.
So, for example, if you are learning several things (e.g. how multiply large numbers, speak Chinese, play the piano, and memorise the capital's of all the world's countries), evidence suggests that spending a few minutes each day on all of the tasks results in better learning in the long run than focussing on each task for a day.
That means the training play sees you practicing lots of different skills every day, for a short, focussed time period. So a mentat training session might have several different training bursts of, say, 10 minutes each for:
Afterwards, rest and relaxation would be in order - in particular, MediTation may have cognitive benefits.
Finally, there is lots of evidence that a good night's sleep is important to consolidate new learning and memories.
There are some websites, which you can use to observe progress in your mentat training. Most are for free, few has extended features, which are not free.