Nursery age children measure 95 per cent in tests of their creativity and brain flexibility, compared with primary pupils, who hit only 75 per cent, secondary pupils 50 per cent, and adults 15 per cent.
The results are not confined to Utah, where the study was carried out, but are universal - and education is to blame, according to Mr Buzan. "The natural progression of the human brain should be from 95 per cent upwards, but this decline is primarily based on the way we are being educated. That is why it is being called a global crisis and why it needs immediate attention," he told teachers at a seminar in Glasgow.
Psychologists from the Institute of Education at London University had predicted that no human would ever memorise a sequence of 30 single digit numbers, spoken only once at one-second intervals. But last year, at the world memory olympics, an 18-year-old student, who had been described previously by his headteachers as incapable of concentrating, remembered a sequence of 198 digits, spoken at one-second intervals. Five hours after the competition, after five glasses of champagne, he could still remember them, and was able to repeat them backwards.
At the beginning of the 21st cen-tury, scientists discovered more about the inter-connection of the brain and body. Because the brain and body are one unit, the brain needs four kinds of food, which are equally important:
* oxygen - if you are physically unfit, you get lower-grade fuel operating the brain;
* all the senses must be stimulated in education;
* good nutrition;
* friendship, affection and love.
In the last decade, scientists had discovered how mirror neurons worked - in other words, that children learned by copying others. While repetition had the potential to increase learning power, it could also reinforce negative thoughts, which became habits that were difficult to overcome.
The way to re-educate the brain away from bad habits was to choose a positive goal which delivered success, and that would build a good new habit. By saying to yourself, "I will do less of X" or "I will never do X", you were simply reinforcing and repeating thoughts about the bad habit X, thus ensuring you just did more of X.