See Inside Scientific American Mind Volume 23, Issue 4

Scientists Design Exercises that Make You Smarter

Recent studies indicate that some types of brain training can make you smarter


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

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