The latest issue of Wired is dedicated to intelligence enhancement – and it’s filled with interesting articles and tips.
Wired: Get Smarter issue.
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.