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Answered 2014-11-26 10:21:58

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Sadly, while you can learn more, you cannot increase IQ. What you are born with is what you have.

Despite this fact, some organizations do try to sell IQ improvement techniques to those who don't know better.


There are a handful of effective IQ-increasing interventions with a firm scientific basis - a basis in experimental laboratories and the exacting standards of peer reviewed scientific journals. Cognitive-enhancing nutrition, exercise and meditation are not covered here.

1. Brain Training

This includes specific exercises targeting the brain. There is a popular website that offers daily exercises (games) you can do for a subscription, and it grades you on your results and tracks your progress. They claim permanent, life-changing effects such as better social skills, better control of negative emotions, better memory, and faster cognition. You likely don't have to go to their site. Just play computer games that tax you mentally and which you really hate to play.

You often can get better PC performance if you install more RAM or a faster hard drive, so it stands to reason that if you can improve your memory and make more neural connections, you could improve brain function. You can exercise your muscles and build them, so it stands to reason that you can improve mental function in a similar manner.

Also, the earlier the intervention, the better and more lasting the results. The younger you are, the more plastic the brain is. There was an early project tried in North Carolina that was similar to Head Start, but more intense, and started sooner. All the participants, including the control group, received medical care, monitoring by social services, and police involvement when necessary to try to mitigate some of the effects of poverty to avoid skewing the results. The participants were twice as likely to finish high school and attend college, and about half as likely to use drugs, get arrested, or be as sexually active while in school.

Recent studies have shown that Asians might not have as much genetic influence on intellect (or even the severe nearsightedness many over there have) as have been assumed for many years. So diet and discipline may play a huge role. The US felt guilty for what it did in WWII and brought in US business leaders and other experts to try to rebuild the country as quickly as possible. Along with that they brought a competitive spirit and strict self-discipline. The techniques and ideas worked, and the entire country adopted them. So they raised their kids to with such strict discipline and fostered a sense of self-worth that comes from intellectual achievement. The "smart Asian" stereotype didn't seem to exist in the US prior to WWII.

Far-reaching advances in cognitive Psychology and cognitive neuroscience over the past decade have identified a close link between frontal lobe 'working memory' circuitry, and fronto-parietal problem solving, self-control and fluid reasoning circuitry. Our working memory is used for holding information in mind (images, concepts, language, numbers) for brief periods while engaging in active, goal-focused thinking or comprehension, while screening out distracting information. Working memory has a limited capacity, and the bigger that capacity the more the cognitive 'RAM' power a person has for processing information - to make connections, generate alternatives, and grasp relationships. This brainpower lies at the core of being smart.

2. Nootropics ('Smart Drugs')

The issue of using medication for cognitive enhancement is highly controversial, and there are ethical questions to be raised.

Nootropics - also known as smart drugs, memory enhancers, cognitive enhancers and intelligence enhancers - are drugs, supplements, nutraceuticals (a product isolated or purified from foods) that are designed to improve cognitive functions such as memory, attention and intelligence. The use of nootropics for cognitive performance is widespread.

3. Cortical Stimulation

A number of studies in the last few years have shown very promising results from applying electrical current to the brain using a technology known as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). tDCS is a noninvasive technique in which a weak current is applied to the brain constantly over time to excite or inhibit the activity of neurons.

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