Speaking with others in a friendly, rather than competitive tone boosts the part of the brain that helps us solve everyday problems.

Did you know speaking with others in a friendly way increases intellectual capacity, mainly the “executive function,” which includes working memory, behavioral inhibition or concentration?

A recent study by researchers at the University of Michigan tested 192 undergraduates to determine which types of social interaction helped and which didn’t. The researchers concluded that engaging in short conversations where participants were instructed to get to know one another person boosted their performance on a variety of cognitive tasks. When participants engaged in conversations that were competitive in nature, their performance on cognitive tasks showed no improvement. “This study shows that simply talking to other people, the way you do when you’re making friends, can provide mental benefits,” says University of Michigan psychologist Oscar Ybarra, lead author and researcher of the study reported in Social Psychological and Personality Science.

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