Information Boosts Brain Health

Information boosts brain health as psychologists will testify that curiosity is good for the brain on a number of levels. Curiosity actually stimulates our intellectual functioning and benefits our brain health. Some experts in the field of psychology have also posited that a healthy dose of curiosity may be the key to leading a happier, more meaningful and fulfilled life.

The brain loves information and  scientists now know that our brain cannot malfunction due to “excessive curiosity”. Here are the reasons why.

1. Your brain is a work-horse.

The more you exercise it, the healthier and more efficient it will be. In fact, if you want to really train your brain and increase your intellectual ability, stoking your curiosity about the world is one of the best ways to achieve that.

2. Your brain is not a computer.

In the 70s, the cognitive branch of psychology was dominant and scientists saw all of human development in terms of a computer-based metaphor of a brain as information processor. The information processing approach (see Woolfolk, Hughes & Walkup, 2008) saw the mind as a machine that takes in information, performs operations to change its form and content, stores the information, retrieves it when needed, and generates responses to it. So learning, remembering and thinking involve gathering information, encoding, storage and retrieval. This is a useful analogy in many ways and it makes it easy for people to understand how information might be processed by the brain. The problem with it is that people then assume that the brain actually is a computer, with only as much memory storage or capacity as is available on the hard drive. If the hard drive doesn’t have enough capacity, then you need a new one that is bigger, better or faster.  This is a very limiting view of our brain’s capabilities and some have called it a form of “negative psychology”.

human-brain

3. We don’t know the limits of human learning.

We may never know them. Thankfully, many psychologists have eschewed the notion that our brain has limited storage capacity which is great news for the whole field of education as well as for the curious natured individual. A nice illustration of this can be seen in Psychologist Steve Hayes’ (1993) discussion of Lerner’s (1993) epigenetic approach to human development. Lerner argued that there may exist predetermined genetic limits to human development. But Hayes explained that because we know that stimulating environments can help to make us smarter, there are no limits to our intellectual development until they have been reached. These limits can only be reached through exhaustive attempts to create ever more exceptionally stimulating environments.

In Hayes’ (1993) words; “Lerner seems too quick to say how high pygmies can grow or how well a person with Down syndrome can do. There presumably are such limits, but we cannot know them when we have reached them”.

4. Scientists have learned a lot by being curious.

We used to think that persons with Down Syndrome would never present with measured IQ scores of more than 60, but now many persons with this genetic condition have received excellent intervention and high standards of teaching in enriched environments and are now capable of attending college. Thirty years ago the only outcome for persons presenting with Down Syndrome when, for example, their families could no longer care for them was to be institutionalised in a state care facility. Now many are living completely independently while others enjoy various levels of assisted or partially independent living and working environments. This only happened because the so called “limits” were pushed by psychologist that did not believe that curiosity can kill a cat.

In order to develop the range of powerful educational methods that have enriched the lives of those with Down syndrome, scientists themselves needed to be curious about what might happen if you continually enriched the educational environment of someone with a developmental difficulty. Isn’t this the way all great scientific breakthroughs occur? In the latter example, the curiosity of psychologists about the intellectual “limits” of someone with Down Syndrome actually improved people’s lives. Thankfully those psychologists had not believed the old feline cliché when they were young.

5. Neurogenesis.

Neurogenesis is the stimulation of brain growth. It is the process by which neurons are generated from neural stem cells and progenitor cells. Most of this neural activity happens during pre-natal development, but we also know that it continues to happen throughout the lifespan. It is now a well-established phenomenon and we often hear about it in the context of brain training software used for older adults who may be experiencing some level of cognitive decline or for anyone who simply wants to increase their IQ. Indeed there is much evidence supporting the efficacy of brain training interventions in studies examining its effects on stroke recovery and management of dementia in the elderly (e.g., Smith et al., 2009).  Some of the intellectual skills improved by such training are very important foundational skills like memory and attention that had perhaps been quite well developed at an earlier time in the person’s life (see also Ball et al. 2002). The important point here is that the stimulation of specific brain regions through brain training supports ongoing growth and development in areas of the brain which are important for intellectual pursuits.

6. Brain Training has been shown to improve intelligence.

In a groundbreaking 2011 study conducted at the University of Michigan, and widely reported in the media, Susan Jaeggi, John Jonides and colleagues reported improvements in one aspect of intelligence known as fluid intelligence that the researchers achieved for their research volunteers by having them engage regularly in a brain training task known as the n-back procedure. Another research study conducted in Ireland (Cassidy, Roche & Hayes, 2011) reported significant IQ rises as a result of an intensive computerized “relational skills” brain training program. These large IQ increases were maintained 4 years later without any further intervention (see Roche, Cassidy & Stewart, 2013). Both of these studies moved people’s intellectual ability well beyond its assumed limits- without any disastrous consequences for anyone!  (For more research in this area visit this brain training science). So it appears that there may indeed be no real limit to our ability to develop our minds. This kind of research pushes the boundaries of what many experimental psychologists and brain scientists thought were the limits of learning.

7. Curiosity can help us to lead more fulfilling lives.

Our brain is naturally curious and as I have argued, it cannot fill up because it is infinitely “malleable” or “plastic”, like play dough. Learning never stops, and we continue to learn and develop across the whole lifespan. One of the key ingredients to keeping that development on an upward trajectory is to nurture your native curiosity. The Psychologist Todd Kashdan wrote a whole book on the topic called The Curiosity Advantage, in which he presents the evidence that our brains are infinitely expandable, and that curious people lead more fulfilling lives. Kashdan is not talking merely about healthy cognitive development, but extols the virtues of curiosity for our mental health and our emotional well-being, too. And here is an important paradox he outlined. Too many of us have been sold on the idea that enjoying ourselves and being happy is the only, or most important, goal in life. But, instead of chasing happiness, Kashdan outlines the evidence that we should focus on trying to create a rich and meaningful life, guided by core values and interests. We can do this by chasing up the things that make us curious in every area of life.

According to Kashdan, “The greatest advantage of curiosity is that by spending time with the new, increased neurological connections are made possible. Facts and experiences are synthesised into a web, paving the way for greater intelligence and wisdom. We become more efficient when making future decisions. We become better at visualising the relativity of seemingly disparate ideas, paving the way for greater creativity.  It is the neurological equivalent of personal growth. New pathways in the brain are inevitable when you seek out new information and experiences and integrate them into the previously known.”  (p. 57).

8. Being curious increases our “flow”.

Kashdan’s ideas fit perfectly with what neuroscientists have been telling us about keeping our environments “stimulating”.  But Kashdan adds the important advice that by being fully engaged with life, we also derive more happiness from it – as a pleasant by-product. Positive psychologists call this state of total immersion in whatever fulfils you “flow”. The concept of flow was the brainchild of Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi, (1990) who used it to refer to a genuinely satisfying state of consciousness, which is the optimal human experience. You are in a state of “flow” when you are so deeply and effortlessly involved in what you are doing that you forget all else. Flow activities challenge you and engage you with all your senses and all your being. Flow activities are not necessarily enjoyable when you are doing them (e.g., competing in a swimming competition or staying up all night studying) because they really and truly push you to your limits, but the sense of accomplishment you gain from doing them is what leads to you feeling so happy and so positive about the experience in the aftermath.

So being curious is about being engaged with your environment in a deep and meaningful way. It is about chasing the things that interest and stimulate us. It is about doing these things to the best of our abilities. Being curious is not about being nosy or getting involved in other people’s business. Being curious is about increasing our quality of life in all domains. Being curious is a good thing. In fact, it is a great thing.

Doctor Sarah Cassidy

Dr. Sarah Cassidy is an educational psychologist, behaviour therapist and mother of three. She provides assessment/treatment for children with learning and emotional/behavioural difficulties in school systems and in private practice. She lectures in educational psychology, child development and early childhood education at National University of Ireland. She is a professional member of the American Psychological Association, the National Educational Psychological Service and founder /Chief Education Officer at RaiseYourIQ.

Brain training for Children

Brain training is suitable for children over eight years of age right up to students as it helps to raise IQ, making learning easier and inso assisting children in their education. The idea that our Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is an inherited trait and cannot be improved has now been discard by most educational psychologists.

Recent and publicly visible studies published in highly reputable journals such as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, report large and even long-lasting IQ gains by research volunteers who practice a brain-training type task called the dual n-back task.  This research program, run by John Jonides and colleagues at the University of Michigan, has found improvements in objective measures of fluid intelligence (one important aspect of intelligence) resulting from this form of brain training.

Even giants of intelligence research such as Robert Sternberg, have come around to the idea that intelligence is highly manipulable, subject to social opportunity, up-bringing, educational opportunity, and motivation. Moreover, such academics as Sternberg have argued that the nature-nurture debate it itself often misunderstood and the critical role of environment downplayed as a result a widespread misunderstanding of the concept of ‘hertiability’ as it applies to intelligence (see his book Intelligence and How to Get It).

Brain training for Children

 The RaiseYourIQ intellectual skills intervention is called SMART training (Strengthening Mental Abilities with Relational Training). We do not teach children and students anything that they can use in their examinations (e.g., how to multiply, the capital of Canada). Instead a RaiseYourIQ course will teach the foundational reasoning skills crucial to vocabulary acquisition and mathematical reasoning. In effect, we are giving kids, students and adults the tools to learn more effectively. Moreover our training re-mediates deficits in these skills bases that cannot be taught at school efficiently without extensive one-to-one assistance, plus SMART can even help children to catch up to and even surpass the population average in intellectual ability. The SMART brain training course can act as a springboard from which future learning occurs across all age groups. Brain training for Children.

IQ Tests

IQ tests and the testing of intelligence levels was devised by French psychologists in the early 1900s to help describe differences in how well and quickly children learn at school. Defined loosely, intelligence refers to our ability to learn quickly and adapt to new situations. IQ tests measure vocabulary, ability to problem-solve, reason logically and so on. IQ scores were only interesting because it was thought that IQ was fixed for life.

The standard IQ tests used by clinical psychologists for diagnostic purposes, such as the Weschler scale, are designed in such a way that it is not easy to prepare for them. The contents are kept surprisingly secret and they are changed regularly. The score given for an individual is a relative one, adjusted based on the performance of people of the same age.

brain-training-iq

But even as we become better educated and more skillful at the types of tasks measured on IQ tests (a phenomenon known as the “Flynn effect”, after James Fylnn who first noted it) our IQs stay pretty much the same. This is because the IQ scoring system takes into account the amount of improvement expected over time, and then discounts it. This type of score is called a “standardised score” – it hides your true score and merely represents your standing in relation to your peers who have also been getting smarter at about the same rate.

This apparent stability in IQ scores makes intelligence look relatively constant, whereas in fact we are all becoming more intelligent across and within our lifetimes. The IQ test and the IQ scoring system are constantly adjusted to ensure that the average IQ remains at 100, despite a well-noted increase in intellectual ability worldwide.

The idea that a kids or adults IQ is fixed for life is built into the questionable politics of IQ testing. The most serious consequence of this is the use of IQ tests to blame educational difficulties on students rather than on teaching systems. But it is the job of psychologists to find better ways to teach, not to find better ways to justify the poor performance of students. This particular use of IQ tests has caused one leader in the field of intelligence research, Robert Sternberg, to refer to IQ testing as “negative psychology” in a 2008 article.

IQ Can Be Improved

Those who still beleive that IQ is fixed for life have managed to ignore decades of published research in the field of applied behaviour analysis. This has reported very large IQ gains in children with autism who have been exposed to early intensive behavioural interventions once they have been diagnosed with learning difficulties. Another 2009 Norwegian study examined the effects of an increase in the duration of compulsory schooling in Norway in the 1960s which lengthened the time in education for Norwegians by two years. The researchers used records of cognitive ability taken by the military to calculate the IQ of each individual in the study. They found that IQ had increased by 3.7 points for every extra year of education received. More recent studies by John Jonides and his colleagues at the University of Michigan reported improvements in objective measures of intelligence for those who practised a brain-training task called the “n-back task” – a kind of computerised memory test.

As a co-founder of RaiseYourIQ and the SMART brain training course,  Doctor Bryan Roche has conduced his own research, in the field of relational frame theory, which has shown that understanding relations between words, such as “more than”, “less than” or “opposite” is crucial for our intellectual development. One recent pilot study showed that IQ scores can be raised by 20-30 points by training children in relational language skills tasks over a period of months. Again, this finding challenges the idea that intelligence is fixed for life.

Now is the time to dispell the idea that IQ as a trait that cannot be changed. Undoubtedly, there may be some limits to the development of our intellectual skills. But in the short term, the socially responsible thing to do is not to feel bound by those limits, but to help every child work towards and maximize their intellectual ability. Read more science into RaiseYourIQ.

Brian Health Improvement

The web is full of claims on how to improve brain health or how to train your brain to be sharper. This article is about separating the wheat from the chaff when it comes to dispensing brain health advice. These ten tips on improving brain health for a happier life all have some evidence in their favor. As we work our way down we outline the techniques that are backed up with hard evidence.

 Quit smoking

Not smoking is one of the first steps you can take to improve your brain health. But smoking is not just any old bad habit. One Archives of Internal Medicine study published in 2010 followed 21,123 smokers from 1978 to 2008. Those people who smoked more than two packets of cigarettes a day had twice the rate of dementia when they were older. This was true even when the researchers accounted for other factors that could explain the results, such as education level, race, age, diabetes, heart disease and substance abuse. Those who smoked between half and one pack a day had a 44% increased risk of developing dementia.   Even the lowest level of smoker had a 37% increased risk.   The good news is that those people in the study how used to smoke, but had stopped, had no increased risk of dementia and had normal brain functioning into old age.

 Have good relationships

One particular form of memory that we practice in relationships of all kinds is known as “transactive” memory – a concept first developed by psychologist Daniel Wegner in 1985. This is a form of memory in which we become expert in one particular type of information and often have sole responsibility for it. For example, at a party your spouse may be excellent at remembering someone’s job and taste in music once she is introduced, but she may be close to useless at remembering faces and names and even if she has met someone before. So couples often work as a team, with each being relied upon to be expert in their area of talent. While each partner may struggle without the other, together they appear to have no problems at all remembering anything in social situations. And so each partner benefits from the relationship in never feeling forgetful in social situations.

 And it turns out that the more diverse your friends are in type, the more they challenge you to think creatively. They provide you with information you would not normally have and they give you different perspectives on everything. Your friends figuratively keep your mind open.

 Think positive

There is a well-known effect in the psychology of education referred to as the “Pygmalion effect” (after the Greek myth Pygmalion) whereby teachers, often unknowingly, expect more of particular children, who then in turn strive to meet those expectations. This effect is so well known that is referred to by psychologists as the Rosenthal-Jacobsen 1968 finding after the two psychologists who first discovered it.

 In other words, if we set high standards for ourselves and are helped believe achieving them is possible, they become possible. On the other hand, children who are made to feel that there is little point in them trying to give up easily and do not reach their potential.

 In one study, psychologists taught members of an educationally disadvantaged community to believe that it is possible to become more intelligent. The children from that group showed improved mathematical ability compared to a comparable group of children who were not encouraged to raise their expectations of what is possible. So positive attitude counts.

 Get good quality Sleep

The brain does not shut off when we are asleep. There is a lot of work going on while you sleep and much of it involves consolidating the learning that took place during the day (see work by Walker, Stickgold, Alsop, Gaab, & Schlaug, 2005). Psychologists have long understood that our dreams, for example, are really just a reflection of all the work our brains are doing trying to make sense of all the information we have been taking in but have not yet fully interpreted and made sense of. So if this is true, you can solve problems and make of sense of things by “sleeping on it”. On the other hand, if you do not sleep properly, you can lose the benefit of your learning experiences. You also will not learn as well the following day. Adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night to benefit fully and perform at their cognitive peak each day. However, this method of keeping your mind sharp only makes number seven because there are now some scientific doubts about the importance of what is known as “sleep consolidation” (see work by Vertes in the journal Neuron, 2004).

 Eat Well

There are quite a range of food ingredients that are good for your brain and no end of marketing experts who will try to sell you the extracted ingredient in pill form or added to yoghurt. But the truth is that many food components can increase our mental functioning. Ginko Bilboa (extracted from the Ginko tree) has good effects on memory. Vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, some berries, and the omega 3 oils found in oily fish (and some grains) appear to improve memory and overall brain function, as do green teas and protein in general.   Protein, which we take in through meat, eggs and beans and peas (pulses) contain high levels of amino acids, such as tyrosine, which in turn cause neurons to produce the very important neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine, which are associated with mental alertness.

 The evidence is getting clearer on the effects of healthy diet and breast-feeding for an increased IQ.  Mothers who breast feed their babies for more than just a few weeks provide them with essential Omega 3 fatty acids that are generally not available in baby formula.  The same essential oils are also found in fresh fish, so kids fed plenty of fresh food and grains, including fresh fish from as early as possible, have higher IQs than kids fed on formula and processed food. Perhaps the best evidence for this comes for a gold standard Randomized Controlled Trial study published in the Journal Pediatrics by Helland, Smith, Saarem, Saugstad, & Drevon in 2003. That study compared the IQs of children fed on Omega-3 enhanced milk formula compared to those who were not. The researchers found that the IQs of the Omega-3 fed children were several points higher at four years of age – long after milk feeding had stopped.

 A child’s IQ is also helped by the diet of the mother, especially in the last trimester. If the mother eats a healthy diet high in omega 3 oils AND feeds her infant well, that infant will gain several IQ points that will last a lifetime. A mother and infant diet based on processed meals and processed foods like fizzy drinks, cheap breads and cakes, will actually reduce your child’s IQ below its expected level.

Mediate

In recent years psychologists have become more interested in some ancient wisdom around mindfulness and mediation. Some impressive evidence has sated to come in that these practices improve our physical and mental health. Meditation techniques vary widely, but they all have in common some form of stillness, focus on breathing, and achieving calm.

 Research is showing that mediation improves concentration and memory.   Studies have also tracked the growth in important brain areas associated with intelligent thinking over time as research participants practiced meditation. In one study published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience Professor Eileen Luders of UCLA reported that long-term meditators were found to have larger amounts of gyrification or “folding” of the brain cortex. The researchers did not prove it directly, but this process should allow the brain to process information faster and more efficiently. Another study by the same researchers and published in the Journal Neuroimage in 2009 found that those of us who meditate have more cell density in the hippocampus (associated with memory) and frontal lobes (associated with forward planning and control of behavior).

 Stress prevents good learning and it is designed to do so. The stress response prioritizes immediate information and actually shortens attention span. However, in order to think intelligently we need to think more broadly, and in a considered way. This is not possible when we are stressed. So mediation can help us to calm the mind, and so increase our ability to attend to each learning experience fully.   Some studies also appear to who that extended practice can even raise our general intelligence.

 Stay Physically healthy

It has come as a surprise to psychologists over the past decades that physical exercise is a sort of miracle cure or “panacea” for a wide range of physical, emotional and now intellectual problems. Exercise is free and there are no side effects. Physical exercise increases your blood flow, which in turn increases the amount of oxygen and glucose your brain is receiving. Exercise also generally involves physical coordination, and so your brain also gets a workout as it coordinates all of that complicated physical activity.

 Exercise helps with the growth of new brain cells (neurons) and the connections between brain cells (neurogenesis) by promoting the production of three essential “growth factors”, called brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), insulin-like growth factors (IGF-1), and endothelial growth factor (VEGF). These factors also minimize inflammation, grow new blood vessels, and slow down cell self-destruction. A good workout can also awaken dormant stem cells in the hippocampus, a part of the mid brain that controls our memory system.Some research seems to suggest that their may be genuine intellectual benefits to exercise in terms of IQ gains.

 Stay mental activity from a young age.

 

The more conversations you have with your child, the more intelligent they will be.  Simple games involving naming objects and solving little puzzles together, making learning a social as well as an educational matter, improves your child’s IQ. Talking to your child increases their vocabulary and that is really important for their general intelligence levels. Talk to your child interactively as much as possible.  Make sure to ask open-ended questions, and show interest in the answer. Ask more questions and encourage the child to elaborate. Telling stories is very good for a child’s intellectual development, as very well documented in the text What reading does for the mind by Cunningham & Stanovich (1998).

 You can raise your child’s IQ by 6 points by simply doing this over a few years when they are young. However, the evidence suggests it may be too late by age four, so start early.

 Kids whose parents read to them most days have higher IQs.  The key, however, to an increased IQ is not just to read – but to read interactively to a child.  That means that you should use an interesting and varying tone of voice, showing lots of relevant emotion as you read.  Look for signs of interest or reactions in the child and ask them questions as you go, making sure the child understands what is being read.  For example, you could stop and ask; “what do you think happens next’? You can also check to see if they can tell you the meaning of a word, or you can provide one for them. This makes reading a fun social activity and this is where the real IQ boost comes from.  This is probably the simplest and most important thing you can do for your child and it is why TV and audio stories played from CDs or computers just will not do the trick! It turns out that kids need their parents!

 But don’t worry if you were never read to as a child. Exercising the brain and keeping mentally active is always a good idea. Fun activities like crosswords, Sudoku or whatever teases your gray matter, has long been suspected by neuroscientists to help improve your cognitive ability.  Even struggling to understand a map, or a badly written flat-pack furniture assembly guide will exercise your spatial and reasoning abilities. One of the simplest things you can do to make your brain sweat is to try to understand points of views that you do not agree with. Open your mind and listen to arguments that make no sense to you – and try to find some sense in them.

 Extend your education

 Many countries have early intervention programs (such as HEAD START, in the USA) to provide intensive early education to children at risk.  They really work for school work – but have not really been shown to improve a child’s general intellectual ability. The main benefit of these programs seems to be that they provide a rich stimulating environment for the child and intensify their educational experience. We can all do the same thing for ourselves and our kids by actively embracing problem-solving and learning every day. Take courses.   Learn that second language. Read that heavy book your were avoiding. Even older children appear to show IQ gains if their environment becomes more stimulating and challenging.

 The idea that our intelligence (or IQ score) is fixed for life is a controversial one, but evidence in support of this is weakening in light of several recent studies. One such study was recently published by Norwegian scientists Christian N. Brinch and Taryn Ann Galloway. They got around the problem of trying to separate the effect of education on IQ from the possibility that more intelligent people simply choose to have more education. Their study involved examining the effects of an increase in the duration of compulsory schooling in Norway in the 1960s. This change extended the minimum time in education for all Norwegians from 7 to 9 years. The authors cleverly hypothesized that the IQs of people who experienced this extra mandatory education should have increased by the time they reached adulthood.

 The researchers had access to excellent records of cognitive ability taken by the military for all eligible males at age 19 and they used these to calculate the IQ of each individual in the study. This allowed them to show that IQ had risen by 0.6 of a point on average for all Norwegian males over the period of study, but had risen by 3.7 points for every extra year of education received. These findings provide very strong support for the ideas that education can increase IQ, but also that even those who are required to receive extra education will benefit from it.

 

 Brain Training

Psychologists have known for quite some time that fundamental cognitive skills (for example the speed at which you process information) are fairly stable throughout our life and while we can often do more with what we have got, it’s not so easy to improve your basic cognitive skill levels, at least until recently. Now the latest player on the self-improvement scene is brain training, with all its neuroscientific gravitas and promises of genuine improvements to our fundamental cognitive skills, such as working memory and decision-making speed.

Online Brain training usually is delivered in the form of entertaining games designed to stimulate important areas of the brain associated with basic cognitive activity. Practice at these tasks lead to real changes in the cell density of those areas (neurogenesis). The idea is that we can literally boost our brains with the correct types of mental exercises. Because psychologists now know quite a bit (although not enough) about what brain areas are involved in what types of skills, they can devise exercises to target those precise areas so that, at least in theory, we can all become more agile thinkers, have more creative insights and reason more logically.

 No doubt the field has become cluttered with all manner of charlatan riding the exciting new wave of interest in what is called “Cognitive training” by psychologists. The media have made the lack of evidence for the merits of brain training a recurring theme in their pop science supplements. And it is true that many brain training companies make over-stretched claims that have even the most optimistic psychologists raising their eye-brows and cringing in discomfort. But that should not take from the basic fact that we are as certain as we ever are in psychological science that a stimulated brain develops more fully and quickly than an under stimulated one. We are also as sure as we can reasonably be that brain cell connections really do grow in response to stimulation and that stimulated brain areas are measurably better developed as a result. We are less sure that we can actually become more intelligent, insightful, and creative in our thinking as a result of brain training although all the evidence and theory points in the right direction. Some very high profile research published by Professor Susan Jaegii and colleagues has led to a high degree of confidence among psychologists that a task known as the dual N-back task can indeed raise at least one important dimension of intelligence, known as fluid intelligence. Still other work reported by Cassidy, Roche and Hayes (2011) in The Psychological Record reports IQ gains of 13 points or so for children exposed to a form of intellectual skills training.

 It is true that particular brain training products have not stood up to the rigors of scientific investigation but that in no way undermines the principle that psychologists are on to something big with brain training.

 Decades of evidence from different laboratories, involving research with animals and humans all suggest that brains can be trained and developed by mental exercise. What is at issue is whether or not particular products can do this on their own and make changes where it matters; to our general intelligence, memory and mental processing speed. And because the benefits of brain training appear to surpass those of any other method for enhancing intellectual ability, it gets the number one position on this list of top ten ways to improve your IQ.

Scientific Evidence On Brain Training

When we read articles online about brain training, it would appear that parts of the media and the science community would have us believe this is little or no scientific evidence on the benefits of doing brain training. This is understandable as many brain training companies have little bye way of research and trials into the results of their products. RaiseYourIQ have been involved both as scientists and psychologists in the development of the SMART brain training educational method within the behavioral research community in which the idea of “relational skills” first evolved. The RaiseYourIQ approach to brain training is based on Relational Frame Theory – a modern theory of cognition, that our team of psychologists have helped to develop over the past two decades.

RaiseYourIQ is the only online brain training company offering online relational skills training based on the tried and tested methods of applied behavior analysis (ABA). These technologies have developed over decades in a research tradition started by the now legendary psychologist B.F Skinner. Skinner was not a brain scientist. He was an expert in the science of learning and teaching. Skinner’s ideas eventually led to the development of supremely successful treatments for a whole range of educational and intellectual deficits including autism spectrum disorders, and his approach taught us how to help individuals reach and surpass their intellectual potential.

In fact,so successful is the applied behavior analysis approach that it is widely considered to be the most effective treatment for autism known to science and it is used by leading scientists and therapists all over the world, in private clinics and in the mainstream school system to help children at every level of academic ability. SMART BRAIN TRAINING has emerged from this applied behavior analysis tradition, and provides a training system that teaches the fundamental concepts required for intellectual development.

Some Published Scientific Research Papers Supporting the SMART Brain Training Approach


Barnes-Holmes, Y., Barnes-Holmes, D., Roche, B. & Smeets, P. M.
(2001). Exemplar training and a derived transformation of function in
accordance with symmetry: II. The Psychological Record, 51, 589-603.

Barnes-Holmes, Y., Barnes-Holmes, D. & Cullinan, V. (2001). In
Relational frame theory: A post-Skinnerian account of human language and
cognition. Hayes, S. C. (Ed.); Barnes-Holmes, D. (Ed.); Roche, B.
(Ed.), (pp. 181-195). New York, NY, US: Kluwer Academic/Plenum

Barnes-Holmes, Y., Barnes-Holmes, D. & Murphy, C. (2004).
Teaching the generic skills of language and cognition: Contributions
from relational frame theory. In Moran, Daniel J. (Ed.); Malott,
Richard W. (Ed.), Evidence-based educational methods. San Diego, CA, US:
Elsevier Academic Press.

Barnes-Holmes, Y., Barnes-Holmes, D., Roche, B., Healy, O., Lyddy,
F., Cullinan, V. & Hayes, S. C. (2001). Psychological
Development. In Hayes, Steven C. (Ed.); Barnes-Holmes, Dermot (Ed.);
Roche, Bryan (Ed.), Relational frame theory: A post-Skinnerian account
of human language and cognition (pp. 157-180). New York, NY, US: Kluwer
Academic/Plenum Publishers, 2001.

Barnes-Holmes, Y., Barnes-Holmes, D., Roche, B. & Smeets, P. M.
(2001). Exemplar training and a derived transformation of function in
accordance with symmetry. The Psychological Record, 51, 287-308.

Berens, N. M. & Hayes, S. C. (2007). Arbitrarily applicable
comparative relations: Experimental evidence for a relational operant.
Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 40, 45-71.

Cassidy, S., Roche, B. & Hayes, S. C. (2011). A relational
frame training intervention to raise Intelligence Quotients: A pilot
study. The Psychological Record, 61, 173-198.

Cassidy, S., Roche, B. & O’Hora, D. (2010). Relational Frame
Theory and human intelligence. European Journal of Behavior Analysis,
11, 37-51.

Christoff, K., Keramatian, K., Gordon, A. M., Smith, R., &
Mädler, B. (2009). Prefrontal organization of cognitive control
according to levels of abstraction. Brain Research, 1286, 94-105.

Gómez, S. López, F., ; Martín, C. B., Barnes-Holmes, Y. &
Barnes-Holmes, D. (2007). Exemplar training and a derived
transformation of functions in accordance with symmetry and equivalence.
The Psychological Record, 57, 273-294.

Gore, N. J.; Barnes-Holmes, Yvonne & Murphy, Glynis. (2010). The
Relationship between Intellectual Functioning and Relational
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Scientific Evidence.

Increase Intelligence For Higher IQ?

People can and do increase intelligence to achieve a higher IQ. Let us start with what the word “intelligence” means. When the psychologists at RaiseYourIQ  talk about intelligence, they are about increasing a persons fluid intelligence, or a persons capicity to learn new information, retain it, then use that new knowledge as a foundation to solve the next problem, and learn the next new skill.

IQ or intelligence was once believed to be constant, fixed for life, today main stream science (do a Google search for “Relational Frame Theory”) has now accepted the ability for each of us to readily improve the fitness and power level in our brains.

Why increase my intelligence or IQ?.

A persons Intelligence is defined at the ability to learn, understand and make judgments or have opinions that are based on reason. Being intelligent means having the ability to acquire and use knowledge for solving problems and adapting to the world. IQ is simply the unit of measure for expressing the results of intelligence tests. Specifically, IQ is the ratio of a subject’s mental age (as determined by their performance on an intelligence scale) and chronological age.

There are many types of intelligence, but only standard IQ predicts your success at school and in work. In fact people with higher IQ scores complete more years in school and have higher status jobs. Recent research has also found that people with higher IQs are also happier and healthier. While you do not need to have a high IQ for its own sake, improving your intellectual ability will help you deal more effectively with school and work challenges, as well as make decisions and solve everyday problems more easily.

So to make the most of the intelligence we all have, improving our memory with a brain training tool will help this significantly, think of it like using the very best and latest parts to help a machine to perform at its peak.

Brain Training

If mental performce is important then consider doing brain training either as a game or serious intellectual skills course . Brain training has also shown to help improve IQ scores. The company behind RaiseYourIQ states they are the only scientifically proven brain training course to improve mental performance and raise IQ by 20 to 30 points. Their website says RaiseYourIQ is a research based, scientifically proven brain training solution with published clinical data providing brain fitness and intellectual skills development courses that have real world health and education benefits beyond games.
Owned and run by psychologists and authors on the subject of “Relation Frame Theory” RaiseYourIQ is at the forefront in research into IQ development, behavioural psychology and the delivery of intellectual skills training, as well as in techniques for maximizing brain fitness in any individual. The specific scientific field (Applied Behaviour Analysis; ABA) upon which the RaiseYourIQ methodology is based, is well-established for nearly a century and represents the gold standard approach for helping individuals improve intellectual capacity (over and above the recent slew of neurologically oriented brain training interventions). Importantly, the RaiseYourIQ approach is unique, and proven to be effective, having been developed by the psychologists and educators working with the company over a number of years. The methodology for the RaiseYourIQ training course is known scientifically as Relational Frame Training

So What Is Brain Training?

RaiseYourIQ believes that brain training is about teaching people to learn. So brain training is a learning method to enhance anyone’s ability to learn faster, easier, and better. The science part is the brain processes information through a network of nerve cells called neurons and as we learn, groupings of neurons physically work together to accomplish learning or thinking tasks. So brain training is a skills course that requires a few hours a week over 8 to 12 weeks where a final test will indicate the level of improvement.

Is Brain Training Just A Game?

Is brain training a skill to learn or just a game to amuse oneself?. With the increase awareness of our mental health there is allot of discussion on the web about brain training, brain health and how to improve one’s IQ. Firstly the psychologists with support from clinical trials and data (experts in the field of relational frame training) at RaiseYourIQ have pinpointed that the only real meaningful brain training solutions are the ones focused on improving a person’s relational skill and not just memory re-call which games focus on. This is where brain training games has its limitations as in education,business and everyday interaction, our brain needs to be able to understand much higher levels of relational skills because we all need to be able to perform more complicated understandings. A brain training game while fun cannot work on the brains relational skills we need to understand mathematics, science, language, to read and speak well. The psychology team at RaiseYourIQ having conducted over 10 years scientific research along with clinical studies into relational frame training and how it corresponds to IQ.

Does Brain Training Work?

This same question could be asked of any online skills course. If you take an online language course to learn Spanish, then after a period of time you should be able to better understand and speak Spanish. This can be validated by taking assessments and tests as part of the course. The same applies to a brain training course. After a defined period of time, assessments and tests should indicate to you how much your brain has become fitter across a number of relational skills. SMART Brain Training is a education course to deliver a targeted interaction that challenges the brain to facilitate learning faster and easier, meaning the benefits that go beyond performance on the brain training course itself into school,business and everyday life.
Why not take a free assessment and trial today. Brain Training.