The latest issue of Wired is dedicated to intelligence enhancement – and it’s filled with interesting articles and tips.
Here’s a taste:
Fluid intelligence was previously thought to be genetically hard-wired, but the finding suggests that with about 25 minutes of rigorous mental training a day, healthy adults could improve their mental capacities.
David Geary, a professor at the University of Missouri and author of The Origin of Mind, who was not involved with the study, said training in one test generally doesn’t generate gains on a different test.
“Transfer is tough to get,” Geary said. “Training in task A doesn’t typically improve performance on task B.”
But in this case, subjects trained on a complex version of the so-called “n-back task” — a difficult visual/auditory memory test — improved their scores on a set of IQ questions drawn from a German intelligence measure called the Bochumer Matrizen-Test. (The Bochumer Matrizen-Test is a harder version of the well-known Ravens Progressive Matrices).
Initially, the test subjects scored an average of 10 questions correctly on the IQ test.
But after the group trained on the n-back task for 25 minutes a day for 19 days, they averaged 14.7 correct answers, an increase of more than 40 percent. (A control group that was not trained showed only a very slight performance increase.)
Buschkuehl’s team postulates that the n-back task improves working memory — how many pieces of information subjects can keep in their head — as well as the ability to control the brain’s attention. Fluid intelligence tests require those types of thinking, and the training improved performance in these underlying skills.
However, they note elsewhere that Brain Age hasn’t been proved to make you smarter.