How do you increase IQ?

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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


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


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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