Studying for the LSAT messed with your brain

August 29, 2012
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It turns out that preparing to take the LSAT causes tiny structural changes in the brain that physically bolster connections between the areas of the brain needed for reasoning. LSAT test prep providers rejoice.

Research released last week by neuroscientists at the University of California, Berkley, found that reason training does alter brain connections. Not only is this good news for those who run test prep services, but also for those who would like to improve their reasoning skills.

The study found that training people in reasoning skills – the main focus of LSAT prep courses – can possibly reinforce the brain’s circuits involved in thinking and reasoning. Your IQ may even increase.

But, don’t get too excited thinking that all that studying has made you permanently smarter.

“How you perform on one of these tests is not necessarily predictive of your future success, it merely reflects your prior history of cognitive engagement, and potentially how prepared you are at this time to enter a graduate program or a law school, as opposed to how prepared you could ever be,” according to senior author Silvia Bunge, associate professor in the UC Berkeley Department of Psychology.

The researchers used diffusion tensor imaging scans of the brains of 24 college students or recent grads before and after 100 hours of LSAT training over a three-month period. When matched to the control group, the students preparing for the LSAT increased connectivity between the frontal lobes of the brain and between frontal and parietal lobes.

Here’s a news release from the school on the study, which goes into more detail about the study.
 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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