Did you know that by asking questions you can influence and change your brain in many positive ways?

Research shows that NOT knowing the answers to all of life’s questions definitely has its advantages.

In fact, being curious has significant cognitive value and is an amazing way to activate and to leverage your neuroplasticity. Aka, grow your brain! 

How, you ask?

Well, this concept may seem rather odd, especially in a world where we highly regard intellect and those who seem to know the answers to everything.


‘Turns out that, by placing your energy and focus on new ideas and concepts that you do not already know much about, you are activating new brain areas and cognitive potential rather than simply running the same old and familiar neural tracks.

This enforces the common-sense awareness that by doing the same thing over and over again you will yield the same results. However, by doing things differently, while it requires leaving your ‘comfort zone’, you gain the opportunity to discover new growth.

Here’s an example: think to a time when you travelled to a place you’d never been before and everything was new and unfamiliar. While it may have felt awkward or slow to navigate at first, which could have caused some insecurity or hesitancy, you probably also felt fresh, alive, and excited about all the new possibilities.

Surrounded by new environments, new people, and new experiences, you enter new growth territory. Your happy brain neurochemical ‘dopamine’ gets activated, because your system sees this as full of opportunity – like ‘Candy Land’ for your Brain!

There are lots of opportunity for new growth in the unknown, and this can build your brain health, cognitive reserve, and resilience.


Have you ever noticed that questions hijack your brain? The moment you hear one, you literally can’t think of anything else.

This is because your brain is a serial processing machine, and you can only think about one item at a time. According to neuroscientist, John Medina, “Research shows that we can’t multitask. We are biologically incapable of processing attention-rich inputs simultaneously.”

So, if I ask the question, “What did you eat today?” A mental reflex known as ‘instinctive elaboration’ is activated. That means that the question becomes, even briefly, the main focus of your attention as it momentarily hijacks your thought process and focuses it entirely on the food you ate. You didn’t consciously tell your brain to think about that; it did so automatically.

Because this is a powerful way to engage the focus and attention of others, this has profound implications and can be a powerful principle to leverage as a parent, teacher, preacher, public speaker, or any person in a leadership position who is leading teams.

As well, by asking yourself timely questions, you can refocus your mindset and disrupt, or even eliminate, mental chatter that isn’t serving you.  


Questions are so ingrained in human communication that it’s easy to underestimate their impact on your brain. Yet science has proven that they’re an effective and powerful tool for strengthening connections between people, gaining influence, and directing behaviour.

Not only does hearing a question affect what your brain does in that moment, it can also shape your future thinking and behavior. This is because questions prompt your brain to contemplate a behavior, which alters your body chemistry and increases the probability that it will be acted upon.

In 1993, social scientists, Vicki Morwitz, Eric Johnson, and David Schmittlein, conducted a study with more than 40,000 participants that revealed that simply asking someone if people were going to purchase a new car within six months increased their purchase rates by 35 percent.

This is referred to as the ‘mere measurement effect’, whereby behavioral scientists have found that just asking people about their future decisions significantly influences those decisions.


When spending time with family and friends, instead of reverting back to the familiar ‘how are you?’ questions, try something different.  Ask questions that are not simple “yes”, “no”, or one-word answers, but instead have the other person pause and reflect before they answer.

For example:

  • If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
  • If you could live in one season year-round, what would it be and why?
  • Would you want to live a life that is free from challenges or obstacles?
  • Which 3 people – past or present – would you invite to a dinner party?
  • If you won the lottery, how do you think your life would change?

Questions like this will build greater rapport, because you get to know how a person thinks not just what they think. You’ll also discover their values, priorities, and what is meaningful to them. Keep in mind that when someone answers with “I don’t know” that this answer is valid, too.  The reason is, as mentioned

To your Fit Brain & Fit Life,