Want to think like a lawyer and not go into debt? Taking the LSAT but not going to law school may be the key. New research shows that just studying and taking the LSATs will make you smarter. It actually changes the adult brain, which is quite difficult.
From The National Law Journal:
“Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley Department of Psychology and U.C.’s Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute have found that intensive LSAT study alters the brain, reinforcing circuits and helping bridge the gap between its right and left hemispheres.”
The research involved 24 college students and recent grads who underwent magnetic resonance imaging of their brain, “both before and after they spent 100 hours studying for the LSAT over three months.” Moreover, these scans were compared against those of 23 people of similar age who did not study for the LSAT. Just preparing for the LSAT helps make the brain better at reasoning training.
“The fact that performance on the LSAT can be improved with practice is not new,” said graduate student Allyson Mackey, the lead researcher. “What we were interested in is whether and how the brain changes as a result of LSAT preparation — which we think is, fundamentally, reasoning training. We wanted to show that the ability to reason is malleable in adults.”
The LSAT takers showed stronger connections between the part of the brain tasked with deductive reasoning and the part that handles spatial cognition — the ability to tackle everyday tasks. ”Our data is consistent with the idea that, while reasoning is left hemisphere-dominant, with training you learn to compensate; if you are not very good at reasoning, you start bringing in the right side,” Mackey said.
Before you shell out thousands of dollars and attend a school that does not guarantee a job (in fact, it seems to guarantee unemployment according to the latest numbers), you may just want to take the LSATs. You’ll be a lot smarter for a lot less money.