How to Increase Intelligence
- Scientists have long held that fluid intelligence—reflected not by what you know but rather how well you solve novel problems—is largely inherited and relatively impervious to improvement.
- A raft of recent investigations, though, shows that some types of brain training—specifically those that exercise working memory and other so-called executive functions—can raise an individual's fluid intelligence.
- Working memory training appears to boost fluid intelligence in children and adults alike. As training progresses, the brain regions taxed by working memory become less active when called on and more active at rest. This pattern suggests that certain training programs leave the brain better primed to perform a wide array of tasks.
If you want to strengthen your abdominal muscles, you can do sit-ups. Tone your upper body? Push-ups. To flex your intellectual muscles, however, or boost your children's academic performance, the answer is less clear. An exercise to stretch memory, tighten attention and increase intelligence could improve children's chances of coasting comfortably through life—and give adults a leg up as well.
The very notion flies in the face of conventional wisdom. Most people presume that no matter how hard they work, they are not going to get any smarter. Some subjects in our research laboratory, though, have increased their IQ scores after training their brain for as little as three weeks. The improvement can be significant enough that, anecdotally at least, a few participants
This article was originally published with the title Building Better Brains.