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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 Jaeggi’s 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 find?

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 cognitive task.

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.


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