Sharper Minds, Sharper Sailors
By Lieutenant Adam Thomas Biggs, Medical Service Corps, U.S. Navy, and Captain Rees L. Lee, Medical Corps, U.S. Navy
Comprehensive military training is essential to our national security. We train our sailors’ bodies through physical exercise, their actions through procedures, and their skills with new technology. But for
the single system that manages all these operations—the mind—we provide no targeted training. If we improved the mental capabilities of our sailors, would we get a better fleet?
The idea is often referred to as “cognitive training” or “brain training,” although both monikers can be deceptive. All training is cognitive or brain-related in some way—even learning to march requires mental decisions about when and where to turn. But cognitive training refers to enhancing a specific mental function such as attention or memory. The notion is that the brain is simply another type of muscle, and that just as lifting weights may make you stronger, so could, in theory, exercising those brain “muscles” get you mentally ripped.