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The Confab in the Dairy Aisle
Chat up a total stranger for 10 minutes right before your next big presentation or negotiation. You'll be sharper by the time you say goodbye, found researchers at the University of Michigan. After volunteers had friendly getting-to-know-you conversations, they scored markedly higher on tests for executive function (associated with planning ahead, self-monitoring and staying on task) than those who didn't socialize or had a competitive interaction. The neural circuitry of social cognition (reading others' minds and taking in their perspective) overlaps with executive function; the "transfer benefit" is quick-wittedness, better recall and a boosted ability to ignore distractions. A bonus: You never know where a chance encounter may lead....