The following paper summarizes the case for cognitive skills enhancement. Studies indicate that the capacity to learn and the speed required to process data can be enhanced as a result of physical changes in the brain's neuro-pathways. These changes are measurable and take place in response to properly designed and administered drills and training.
Cognitive skills are learned, and therefore can be improved.
We know that cognitive skills can be enhanced not only because we can see the changes through observation and testing, but because there is evidence derived from brain research as well.
Recent research suggests that stimulating the mind with mental
exercise may cause brain cells, called neurons, to branch widely. This
branching causes millions of additional connections, or synapses, between
brain cells. Arnold Scheibel, former director of UCLA’s Brain Research Institute,
suggests that we think of it as a computer with a bigger memory
board that allows you “to do more things more quickly.”
Other studies demonstrate that our brains develop throughout our lives and that they are constantly being modified. For example, Michael Merzenich trained a monkey to touch a rotating disk with the three middle fingers of its hand. After several thousand times, the monkey’s brain expanded in the areas that are designated to manipulate the three middle fingers (at the expense of those areas designated to the other two fingers). This expansion proves that training and practice can stimulate brain development.
In addition, "Life" magazine recently featured “Brain Calisthenics.” In the article “Building a Better Brain,” it states that “evidence is accumulating that the brain works a lot like a muscle — the harder you use it, the more it grows. Although scientists had long believed the brain’s circuitry was hard-wired by adolescence and inflexible in adulthood, its newly discovered ability to change and adapt is apparently with us well into old age. Best of all, this research has opened up an exciting world of possibilities.”
These studies show that by using proper training methods, you can target, modify, and develop the brain to improve poor processing skills. The fastest and most efficient way to do this is through cognitive training exercises that specifically and directly target the deficient skill.