Yes You Can Increase Your Intelligence
Note: This was originally from the Brainpower
News Blog, which is no longer online. In addition to the research
reported on, some tips were added.
I have said it before and the research keeps coming in to
show that yes, you can increase your intelligence. No, you probably
can't tack on 30 points to your IQ score, no matter what you
try, but you can add a little to it. We don't know how much,
but there was some research from 2008 which suggests how. It
was recently reported on in an article
by Andrea Kuszewski from Scientific American;
...a very exciting study was published, Improving Fluid
Intelligence with Training on Working Memory, by Jaeggi, Buschkuehl,
Jonides, and Perrig. This study was pretty much a game-changer
for those doing research on this topic. They showed for the first
time, that it might actually be possible to increase your intelligence
to a significant degree through training. What did they do different?
The subjects in Jaeggis study were trained on an
intensive, multimodal (visual and auditory input) working memory
task (the dual-n-back) for variable lengths of time, for either
one or two weeks, depending on the group. Following this training,
they were tested to see how much they improved. As one would
expect, after training, their scores on that task got better.
But they went a step further. They wanted to see if those gains
on the training task could transfer to an increase in skill on
a completely different test of cognitive ability, which would
indicate an increase in overall cognitive ability. What did they
Following training of working memory using the dual n-back
test, the subjects were indeed able to transfer those gains to
a significant improvement in their score on a completely unrelated
In other words, brain training works if you do it right. Just
look for "an intensive, multimodal (visual and auditory
input) working memory task" to get started. I will try to
get more specifics on what kind of "brain games" and
activities qualify and will then report on them both here and
in the Brainpower newsletter.
A Few More Notes on Increasing Intelligence
One way to be more intelligent, or at least to score higher
when tested for your IQ, is to make the assumption that you are
smarter than average. I have covered this previously on this
site, including on a recent page
about "smart" research.
I have also reported on the connection
between music and intelligence, although some of the original
studies done in this area have been seriously challenged in recent
years. Listening to some types of music may have temporary effects,
but for more permanent positive changes you need music training,
and even this only seems to work for children.
For some readers, having better ideas, more creativity, and
more effective thinking is the goal, rather than simply scoring
higher on intelligence tests. If you are one of these readers,
you might want to see our page
on becoming a genius.
If it is that big number that you are after (a high score
can have some advantages, after all), you will want to read through
our suggestions for increasing your
IQ. Your score on an intelligence test will not always be
the same from one day to the next, so the tips there aim to make
it a good exam day.