Intelligence Follows the Wheel

I ran across some interesting research the other day that I wanted to take a few moments to share here. For years scientists have known that giving mice “enriched” environments makes the mice smarter. They would put in colorful toys, tunnels, exercise wheels, etc. and mice who lived in the “enriched” environments performed better on tests than the mice in the non-enriched cages. Finally some scientists started trying to figure out exactly what it was in the enriched environment’s was making the mice smart.

It turned out it wasn’t the colorful balls or toys. it all came down to the exercise wheel. Even though the mice loved the toys the thing that made them smart was running on the wheel. The intelligence followed the exercise wheel–not the toys.

This has some interesting implications for people who want to perform at their peak mental capabilities. Maybe exercise is the one of the best ways to invest your time in getting smarter.


  1. says

    Great article. I imagine it’s down to the aerobic fitness making it easier for fresh oxygen to get to the brain. That’s certainly one of the main points about exercise I can think of.

  2. Ben Coxon says

    I wonder if exercise gives your brain a break, and a work out at the same time, leaving you more relaxed and yet more alert, so better able to problem solve.
    My reasoning being that when you exercise you focus on and overcome a problem – the weight your lifting or the hill your running up. But because the exercise, exertion and mental struggle is regarding a known surmountable problem, it lacks the anxiety associated with solving problems that your not familiar with.
    So when you do tackle knew mental tasks you’re a lot more likely to have a good frame work in place that will help you deal with them.

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