Tag Archives: intelligence

Clippings: What I’m Reading This Week (1/19/15)

The Underrated Appeal of Tess McGill: A “panel” “discussion” of one of my favorite movies, Working Girl. (Highlight: “Speaking of romantic comedies, this movie is usually defined as one. But romance is really not the endgame in Working Girl. Tess isn’t looking for a man; she’s looking to put together a business deal. When Jack (a devastatingly handsome Ford) comes along, she initially sees him as a distraction. She falls in love with him because he’s the first person to ever see her as she wants to be seen: This tough, savvy businesswoman. In fact, the woman who spends the entire film scheming to get married is the antagonist, Katharine (played by Weaver). I love that adorable scene of Jack and Tess getting ready to go to work, but it’s significant that the final shot of the film is Griffith in her new office, alone.”) https://www.yahoo.com/movies/working-girl-perfect-movie-gifs-108085849302.html

Some serious Staten Island Ferry contemplation going on...
Some serious Staten Island Ferry contemplation going on…

Visual Aids: Here’s another breakdown, this time of infographics as a communication tool. This is from an older Harvard Business Review (April 2014), but if you’ve not already read it, check out this really interesting look at what makes a good infographic so convincing. Apparently, “the most compelling infographics… mine relationships among overlooked variables to tell you something unexpected and get you thinking.” https://hbr.org/2014/04/what-makes-the-best-infographics-so-convincing/?utm_source=Socialflow&utm_medium=Tweet&utm_campaign=Socialflow

(from article above, HBR)
(from article above, HBR)

As Smart as You Look: Jessica L. Glazer, here, sharing with you a WSJ article on the things we often do to appear smart, the things people actually look for when trying to gauge your intelligence, and what really works if you’re attempting to come across as the next Girl-or-Boy Genius. (Hint: Sit up straight, make eye contact, and use a middle initial.) (Bonus: this article comes with an easy-to-read, easy-to-understand infographic!) http://www.wsj.com/articles/how-to-look-smarter-1421189631

(from article above, WSJ)
(from article above, WSJ)

2,000 Calories by Lunch: This terrifying and fascinating New York Times features shows what 2,000 calories equals at a number of popular fast-food and fast-casual restaurants. It is pretty disturbing – until you get to the end and realize that cooking your own food can afford you a full day’s worth of meals for fewer calories than one milkshake from Sonic. (YEESH.) http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/12/22/upshot/what-2000-calories-looks-like.html?WT.mc_id=2015-Q1-KEYWEE-AUD_DEV-0101-0331&WT.mc_ev=click&bicmp=AD&bicmlukp=WT.mc_id&bicmst=1420088400&bicmet=1451624400&ad-keywords=KEYWEEAD&kwp_0=7483&kwp_4=55081&kwp_1=119533&_r=0&abt=0002&abg=1

(from above article, NYT)
(from above article, NYT)

Red, Red Resveratrol: A quick review of a recent study that shows that red wine contains enough resveratrol to “mimic” a workout. Don’t think about skipping the gym altogether, but this might be enough of an excuse to shorten your Friday night workout and make it to the end of Happy Hour! (Apparently, you could also eat pistachios or grapes to get the same effect but… nah.) http://elitedaily.com/news/world/glass-wine-equivalent-going-gym/770635/

(photo from Men's Journal)
(photo from Men’s Journal)

Ollie, Dog Genius: Or How to Make Your Dog Smarter

Ollie GM!
Ollie GM!

Recently, we adopted little Ollie from a rescue organization. Ollie is adorable and mischievous. He has limitless energy and is as curious as a little pup can be. Given his propensity to constantly stay next to me, I recently wondered if we should have named him Shadow instead. In truth, I did more than wonder; I asked him. Out loud. It went like this: just after walking into the kitchen and turning around, surprised to find that a previously sleeping Ollie was now sitting next to my left ankle, I mused aloud. “Ollie! What are you doing here, sleepy boy? Should we have named you Shadow!?” He looked at me. We started walking into the living room. My phone rang. He cocked his head to the side, unsure of this new sound. “That’s my phone ringing. It’s okay,” I told him, as I sat down at the coffee table. He laid down next to me and fell asleep.

Ollie GM, super-listener

This is my new M.O. – constant narration. I find myself narrating all of my actions. In part, I do this because I don’t see Ollie as “just a dog,” in the way that some people view dogs as being as important a part of the room as the coffee table itself. They wouldn’t narrate their afternoon to a table, of course, so they don’t narrate it to their dog. Unfortunately, for both these people and their dogs, they are doing little to help their pups become smarter.

According to research from Stan Coren, “you improve the IQ of your dog, the same way you improve the IQ of your kids. And that is, you talk to them all the time. And you give them as many different experiences as you can. You see, the more the dog has to think about, the more the dog has to do, the brighter the dog becomes.” Coren goes on to explain that while you can’t change the natural level of intelligence of your pup, their “native smarts,” you can change their crystallized intelligence (the sum of what they have learned) by simply teaching them more things. Even more interesting is his disclosure that the more dogs learn, the more they want to – and can – learn.

Ollie has a particular interest in American history... and things that move or make loud sounds...
Ollie has a particular interest in American history… and things that move or make loud sounds…

Essentially, we can prime dogs to learn more easily, teach them more things, and ultimately improve their overall intelligence, simply by exposing them to new situations and talking to them about anything and everything. People often say that they talk to their dogs because the dogs listen – and they don’t talk back. But just because they don’t talk back doesn’t mean that they do not understand.

While I enjoyed reading about the research on improving canine IQ, it did not come as a surprise. The first day that Ollie came to live with us, my Mom told me on the phone that I was to “talk to him, all the time, and never stop.” So began my active narration of every day life. “Good morning, my Ollie!” “Let’s walk to the elevator.” “Mommy is making breakfast for Ollie!” “Please do not eat squirrels.” I talk to Ollie so much that I recently told my fiancé that I would only be half-surprised if one day, he just answered me back. “Well,” I can imagine him saying, “if you’re making lunch for yourself, can you at least toss me a treat?”

While it is unlikely that Ollie will ever burst out in conversation (or in song, but how remarkable that would be!), I take comfort knowing that my all-day play-by-play is helping him to learn and become more intelligent. People are surprised that he knows so much already, and I know it is only getting better. After all, the average dog is as intelligent as a two-year-old child and has a vocabulary of 165 – 250 words, and in my unbiased opinion, Ollie is way beyond average.

Ollie seems to think toddlers are his best puppy friends
Ollie seems to think toddlers are his best puppy friends

If you’re looking to increase the intelligence of your pup, try describing the process of making them dinner. If you put them in the crate before heading out for the night, tell them that they are a very good pup, that you love them, and that you will be back very soon. Talk – a lot – and help expose your little pooch to as much as possible, socially and verbally.

As I always say, there are no dumb dogs, only silent owners. Woof.

Being so smart is exhausting...
Being so smart is exhausting…