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IQ Questions - And My Answers

The following questions will not be part of an intelligence test. They are simply some questions that I was recently asked by an entrepreneur who is hoping to put together a program to make people smarter. I've paraphrased them a bit and removed the ones related only to business. My answers will give you an idea of what the Mind Power Report and this website are all about.

Is there a scientifically proven way to raise one's IQ?

There have been studies done (mostly with children) showing an IQ increase from certain activities, including musical training and physical activities involving hand-eye coordination. My own IQ score increased over 20 points earlier in my life, but this may reflect only a small change in intelligence -- or none at all. An IQ score, unfortunately, is partly determined by how one feels that day, whether one has learned test taking skills, and by the type of test.

Some research shows that even a cup of coffee can increase IQ scores on standard tests, and other studies show it improves memory. The point here is that while one's intelligence can be increased, IQ scores can be raised even more easily. A higher score doesn't necessarily mean there is a clear improvement in the brain itself, or something more than a temporary one, and variable scores suggest the limitations of the tests.

Of course, those varying scores also suggest something else. Whatever your long term or "average" intelligence quotient is, your "functional IQ" changes from day to day. We don't need science to prove that. We all recognize our own good and bad days when it comes to thinking clearly and effectively.

We also can see from our own experiences that there are things which help us think better. That 's why I report on many techniques which are "unproven" scientifically, as long as they are safe to try and have some evidence for them. This does not reflect an anti-science bias. I think we need more scientific thinking in this world, not less. But the things "proven" by science were true, and possibly useful, before scientists looked into them, right?

Can a human being with an average IQ become a genius?

From all the research I have read about, this seems extremely unlikely. The actual capacity of the brain probably can't be improved very much at this point in history. I suspect there will be biological technologies and drugs in the future that will change this.

Why do people want to increase their intelligence?

To get more respect form others and similar personal reasons seem to be common motivations. Also, I often get emails from subscribers who want to be smarter in order to advance at work. I personally think there are far more efficient ways to do that than increasing ones IQ, which leads us to the next IQ question:

How would a higher IQ improve one's life?

A higher IQ probably won't do much directly to improve one's life, anymore than larger muscles will. Just as being physically stronger has its applications, so does being smarter. But neither is directly beneficial without other changes, or without actually applying in useful ways the new power gained.

Using the computer metaphor, the brain is hardware and the mind is the software. All the latest research shows that the brain can grow new neurons. This and other research shows that we can improve our hardware, and even raise our level of intelligence to some extent. But the world is full of unhappy and unsuccessful smart people - they are like computers with a lot of processing power but no decent programs installed for using it.

I think the real key is in the "software programs." These are the learned techniques for thinking more efficiently, more creatively, and more powerfully in general. They make it possible to use brainpower in better ways - ways that are directly applicable to life's challenges.

I was recently talking about what I do to a math teacher from a local college (and he almost certainly has a high IQ). He said, "Are you saying there are techniques for having new ideas?" Somehow in all of his education, he hadn't come across this, and he was skeptical. I quickly outlined one technique and he was able to immediately use it to produce more creative ideas.

That is the power of good software. The practical gains in real life from developing a higher IQ are minimal in my opinion (at least for now). Developing better ways to think is what offers the most hope for improvement in all areas of life.

Can the work of becoming smarter or thinking better be simplified?

This is one of the most important questions, both from the standpoint of selling a program, and motivating people to actually do what needs to be done. The answer is clearly yes, we can make improving the brain and mind simpler with some work. Well-explained exercises, easy to follow steps, CDs to listen to while driving - there are many ways to simplify the process.


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