New Evidence That IQ Can Be Increased With Brain Training

Source:New Evidence That IQ Can Be Increased With Brain Training

A new scientific paper I produced along with Sarah Cassidy and other colleagues, published in the journal Learning and Individual Differences, shows that significant increases in general intelligence, of 28 points on average, can be produced by undertaking online relational skills training. Furthermore, significant improvements in overall educational aptitude can be achieved by a few months of practicing one’s relational skills. Bryan Roche Source: Bryan Roche

In previous blogs, I have outlined the rationale behind this training and argued that a Relational Frame Theory (RFT) approach to intellectual development may hold the key to a functional approach to brain training. That is, RFT claims to have identified some basic building blocks of intellectual development, which center around the ability to understand complex inter-relations among stimuli. For example, understanding that if something is opposite to two other things, then those two things must be the same as each other, involves a relation skill. As another example, if one object is worth more than another, the second one is worth less than the first. The idea that these skills not only underlie intelligence, but constitute it, is core to RFT, a modern behavioral approach, although it sits well with more mainstream cognitive approaches.

While most of us are relatively proficient in basic relational skills, we are actually quite deficient in solving more complex relational problems. To address this deficiency, a form of online brain training called SMART training (Strengthening mental abilities with relational training) was developed by Relational Frame Theory researchers at Maynooth University.

The Cassidy et al. study is the second such study to be published by the Maynooth University team to show that SMART training can increase general intelligence as measured by standardized IQ tests, such as the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC). This new study, however, provides additional evidence that scholastic ability, as measured by a gold standard aptitude test known as the Differential Aptitude Test (DATs), also increases as a result of this very particular form of intellectual skills training.

As documented in previous research, the IQ rises cannot be easily accounted for by practice at the IQ test, because the IQ test was administered only twice, with a several month interval between administrations. Furthermore, IQ rises due to practice are usually very small compared to the rises reported in this latest study. Further still, the training administered to the sample of 11-12 year old children employed in Experiment 1 of this study, was dissimilar to an IQ test. The same applies to the DATs aptitude test. This was administered only twice, and the increases in scores observed for numerical and verbal reasoning far outstripped the increases expected by practice at the test itself. Once again, the online relational skills training did not in any way teach the items on the DATs test. Advertisement

This is the second SMART study to achieve what critics of “brain training” treat as the benchmark for acceptable brain training; the transfer of skills from the training to other tasks. In this regard the Cassidy study provides more evidence that brain training can work to enhance essential intellectual skills, at least if it focuses on relational skills, or what RFT researchers call Arbitrarily Applicable Relational Responding.

A common criticism of brain training is that while it may improve some cognitive skills needed to complete the training, any benefits may have no practical relevance to daily life. In the current study, however, a sample of 30 14-15 year old children were tracked across several months of online training, 2-3 times per week for 30-45 minutes. Practice at relational skills, increased their numerical and verbal reasoning abilities, as measured by the DATs (administered and scored by independent third parties) by a significant degree. Together these numerical indices are used by educators to assess a child’s overall “educational aptitude”, which is the child’s ability to perform well in school across the board. By finding a significant increase in scholastic ability, the current study suggests that SMART relational skills training can make a real and measurable difference to the educability of a child.

While more evidence is always required when such promising results are reported by any new Brain Training method, the case is mounting that a relational frame theory approach to intellectual development may indeed have identified some basic building blocks of intelligence, once thought to be an unchangeable trait.

New Evidence That IQ Can Be Increased With Brain Training | Psychology Today

Improvements in relational skills can enhance IQ

Source: New Evidence That IQ Can Be Increased With Brain Training | Psychology Today

A new scientific paper I produced along with Sarah Cassidy and other colleagues, published in the journal Learning and Individual Differences, shows that significant increases in general intelligence, of 28 points on average, can be produced by undertaking online relational skills training. Furthermore, significant improvements in overall educational aptitude can be achieved by a few months of practicing one’s relational skills.

Bryan Roche
Source: Bryan Roche

In previous blogs, I have outlined the rationale behind this training and argued that a Relational Frame Theory (RFT) approach to intellectual development may hold the key to a functional approach to brain training. That is, RFT claims to have identified some basic building blocks of intellectual development, which center around the ability to understand complex inter-relations among stimuli. For example, understanding that if something is opposite to two other things, then those two things must be the same as each other, involves a relation skill. As another example, if one object is worth more than another, the second one is worth less than the first. The idea that these skills not only underlie intelligence, but constitute it, is core to RFT, a modern behavioral approach, although it sits well with more mainstream cognitive approaches.

While most of us are relatively proficient in basic relational skills, we are actually quite deficient in solving more complex relational problems. To address this deficiency, a form of online brain training called SMART training (Strengthening mental abilities with relational training) was developed by Relational Frame Theory researchers at Maynooth University.

The Cassidy et al. study is the second such study to be published by the Maynooth University team to show that SMART training can increase general intelligence as measured by standardized IQ tests, such as the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC). This new study, however, provides additional evidence that scholastic ability, as measured by a gold standard aptitude test known as the Differential Aptitude Test (DATs), also increases as a result of this very particular form of intellectual skills training.

As documented in previous research, the IQ rises cannot be easily accounted for by practice at the IQ test, because the IQ test was administered only twice, with a several month interval between administrations. Furthermore, IQ rises due to practice are usually very small compared to the rises reported in this latest study. Further still, the training administered to the sample of 11-12 year old children employed in Experiment 1 of this study, was dissimilar to an IQ test. The same applies to the DATs aptitude test. This was administered only twice, and the increases in scores observed for numerical and verbal reasoning far outstripped the increases expected by practice at the test itself. Once again, the online relational skills training did not in any way teach the items on the DATs test.

This is the second SMART study to achieve what critics of “brain training” treat as the benchmark for acceptable brain training; the transfer of skills from the training to other tasks. In this regard the Cassidy study provides more evidence that brain training can work to enhance essential intellectual skills, at least if it focuses on relational skills, or what RFT researchers call Arbitrarily Applicable Relational Responding.

A common criticism of brain training is that while it may improve some cognitive skills needed to complete the training, any benefits may have no practical relevance to daily life. In the current study, however, a sample of 30 14-15 year old children were tracked across several months of online training, 2-3 times per week for 30-45 minutes. Practice at relational skills, increased their numerical and verbal reasoning abilities, as measured by the DATs (administered and scored by independent third parties) by a significant degree. Together these numerical indices are used by educators to assess a child’s overall “educational aptitude”, which is the child’s ability to perform well in school across the board. By finding a significant increase in scholastic ability, the current study suggests that SMART relational skills training can make a real and measurable difference to the educability of a child.

While more evidence is always required when such promising results are reported by any new brain training method, the case is mounting that a relational frame theory approach to intellectual development may indeed have identified some basic building blocks of intelligence, once thought to be an unchangeable trait.

Social Media Marketing Strategy – The Bitter Business

Guest Blog from The Bitter Business

Source: Social Media Marketing Strategy – The Bitter Business

This is a seven step guide to creating a social media marketing strategy to reach more customers and drive greater on-line awareness for your brand or product. For a business to really capitalise from social media, it needs to build a clear strategy that takes into account what are the goals, what are you trying to achieve, who are the target customers are and what is the competition is doing.

Social media marketing can be defined as the use of blogs, articles and content marketing, white papers, video and images to share on social networks to raise awareness to pull in the web traffic and prospects

social-media-strategy

 

1st Step; Understand your social media goals

As with any planning in business, the first thing anyone needs to do when creating a social media marketing strategy is to understand what you want to get from it?. What are the goals (traffic, leads, likes, buyers, SEO) so you know the purpose of your social media efforts. For some businesses it is to do with creating or raising awareness of a brand or product. For some companies the focus will be on generating leads, increasing sales or driving website traffic. Larger companies many look to social media to build customer loyalty, increase community size or use as a communication channel. The key point here is the goal for your social media strategy has to go beyond simply gaining Facebook likes and Twitter followers.  The above examples are only a few areas a business could focus on, but depending on your resources a business should ideally focus on one primary or one secondary goal. Remember if you do not have goals, targets and measures of success then in all likelihood you are not going to accomplish any meaningful results from social media activity.

2nd Step; Create measurable targets and objectives

The second step is to now set clear targets and objectives based on the goals you have set. Remember the “S.M.A.R.T” method, so make sure your social media goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time based.

Let us take the example of a business with a social media goal focused on increasing sales, then you might decide that the target is to generate an additional fifty on-line leads a month via landing pages, whitepaper or eBook downloads. If on the other hand, the goal set is to create brand awareness, then a target could the number of times your brand is mentioned on the social media networks per month. Also worth noting at this point, your goals, targets and objectives for social media should be directly tied to overall business goals, and they should be achievable. Goals without targets, actions and activities are just wishful thoughts. It is important to make sure the objectives are time limited. For example, you need to achieve a 100 percent growth in on-line leads generated within the next six months, not at some vague point in the future.

Now that you have set the targets and objectives you need to make sure you can measure them. There are lots of social media tools to track and analyse activity and quantify your progress. These tools like Klout, Google Analytic, TweetDeck, Buffer or Social Mention to name a few, can let you know when your progress plus they will also help you to identify any trends early and adjust your activities if you have to.

3rd Step; Customer targeting – who do you sell to

So now, the goals, targets and objectives have been set so now you know where you are going, so all set, right?, well no because you still do not know how you are going to get there. You see a successful social media strategy is all about customer targeting, reaching the right people with the right messages. To do this, a business needs to understand “who do you sell to”. For example, there is no point in targeting everyone who has an interest in sport if you really want to target only those who are cycling enthusiasts.

The best way to do this is to draw up a buyer profile. What does the profile of your ideal customer or buyer look like? Make it personal and give them a name. Where do they work? How old are they? What social networks are they likely to be on? What is their income? How often do they cycle (as in above example) Do they have children? What brands do they like or dislike? What motivates them? The list of detail goes on. If you find that you have more than one ideal customer or buyer profile then create a persona for each.

social-media-planning

4th Step; Monitor the competition

As social media activity is mostly transparent, monitoring your competitions activity will tell you a lot about what works and what does not. After all, you are all targeting the same customer set. By constantly monitoring the competition, you have a fantastic opportunity to learn from their activity and actions.

This fourth step involves researching your competitors, maybe select ones your own size, in similar locations and some of the big ones. Find out what social networks they are active on, study their content (articles, case studies, whitepapers, videos, promotions, links). Is it direct or educational? What kind of industry references do they use? Do they talk about their product, markets, industry or brand and what if any other things do they focus on (events, discounts, and webinars)?

If for example you sell bicycles, do your competitors talk about how their bicycle brands perform in races or do they post cool cycling videos that just happen to include their bicycle range? Now see how well each competitor is doing on the social networks (followers, connections, mentions, comments, shares, likes) they get on their social media pages like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. This should give you a good insight into what social strategies work and which ones do not.

5th Step; Develop your content marketing messaging

OK, now that you have an ideal customer or buyer profile plus insights on your competition, next up on the list is to start developing your social media messaging. This is your top line titles and key messaging you want to share (writing the detailed content comes later); a list of key messages that you think will create awareness with your customers or buyers based on the profiles you have created in step 3. A suggestion is to target three or four buzzwords or better still “Keywords”, then break each keyword down into longer tail keywords so you build up a messaging plan.

Based on monitoring your competition a lot can be gained from adopting some of their successful messaging ideas and blending them with your own unique messaging that sets you apart — this has the effect of creating a unique voice in social conversations. Be creative, daring, controversial and educational as social media activity should be exciting, not dull.

6th Step; Select the social media channels

Depending on whether your business is B2B or B2C you will need to choose the right networks that are worth investing in for the products or services.

Most of us would agree that LinkedIn is a good platform to target for business buyers or business type sales while Pinterest would be better if a business is involved with retail or fashion. Some of these channels are obvious when you look at your buyer profiles and competitors but see if any other social media channels could pay dividends like Blogger, Scoop.it, Tumblr, Plurk, and Instagram.

As part of this exercise you should identify social influencers, these are the people who can help reach your target audience. Social influencers and respected bloggers have high levels of trust in their followers or readers and can be indispensable in creating social chat buzz around your brand.

7th Step; Build a content writing and sharing plan

The last but critical step is you need to develop a strong content writing plan based on your target keywords, you need to write and share (not just your own) engaging material. The content needs to align with your overall marketing messaging as in step 5 and be relevant to the social channels you will use. Content marketing is more than promotional blogs or product information; it has to add real value in the buyer’s journey to create awareness and consideration for your business within the audiences. Also if possible try not just stick to one type of media or theme, mixing videos, helpful guides, research papers,  images, info graphics, news and other formats will engage your potential customers far more effectively.

A golden rule to go with your seven step social media strategy is “Content marketing has to be constant” meaning a constant presence with great content across your chosen social media channels. Heed this note, every social media strategy can only be successful if you have an ongoing presence on social media networks, and that entails sharing fresh engaging content on a regular basis.

Games Based Learning

The use of “Game Based Learning” in schools and with teachers to improve student engagement in topics can have a measurable effect on student success in subjects like math, science, reading and languages. In the modern education system game based learning and brain training solutions have the potential to bolster teaching methods while educational games in the classroom are fast proving an invaluable tool to connect and engage students. Games in the classroom in any form have shown to increase student motivation through engagement.

brain training classroom

However to avoid confusion it needs to be pointed out that “Gamification” and “Game Based Learning” in education are not the same thing. So let us dig a little deeper into Gamification vs. Game-Based Learning.

The term “Gamification” within a school context would likely refer to the use of game-like principles when teaching. In a classroom setting this might be a teacher having a game and assigning points or rewards for various classroom activities like participation. So when a teacher assigns points to a student, uses a leader board, or hands out badges, he or she is using gamification. On the flip side, Game Based Learning means incorporating educational games in teacher instruction within the classroom for a range of subjects. These games can be subject specific like math or reading, help with overall cognitive and learning skills like “Brain Training” or even “Video Games” for computer classes. The important aspect of game based learning is they must have a measurable impact on the student in terms of grades, IQ, exams and learning ability.

Nowhere else is the use of games more important than education. The lack of student motivation can be easily demonstrated in high school dropout rates, every year approximately 1.2 million students fail to graduate from school. Some academics argue that this is due to current systemic flaws in the way students learn and acquire knowledge while others argue that schools are behind the times.<br.

So as a teacher, why use games based learning in the classroom?

Game based learning has the capability to change the way teachers run their classes and the way their students experience learning. In a classroom that uses game based learning, a teacher can assign online learning games or even videos for students to watch as part of classwork, outside of class as part of identified learning areas or even as homework. Game based learning can help students with collaboration, experimentation; improve problem solving skills, raise IQ levels and application of the concepts in math or science. So instead of using all the class time in rote learning, teachers become guides who are available to assist students to improve learning skills and the application of concepts across subjects.

Parents, teachers and students know that education as it is currently delivered is broken. Game based learning like SMART Brain Training can help make education work. Using games in education to improve intellectual skills and to make learning easier (especially for kids with learning difficulties) is a unique value proposition for both teacher and student.

Free Brain Training Offered to Schools

RaiseYourIQ is please to announce that it is now offering FREE brain training to any and all schools and teachers. Schools are invited to sign up and get free licenses to RaiseYourIQ  SMART Brain training which is an intervention based intellectual skills training solution for kids and students.

brain-training-iq

SMART brain training has strong scientific evidence following 2 years working with teachers and schools. RaiseYourIQ published studies show that students, who completed the SMART brain training course which is based on research into “Relational Skills”, have significantly raised their IQ (10-20 on average) plus also improved on cognitive skills, problem solving, reading, literacy and language skills.

RaiseYourIQ co-founder and one of the leading researchers into “Relational Frame Theory” Doctor Bryan Roche states that relational skills training has been shown in published research to impact intellectual ability scores (measured using the WISC) and in independent research into relational skills have shown that our ability to understand abstract relations corresponds to scores on standard IQ tests (e.g., the WAIS and Kaufman’s brief intelligence test). One published research paper (Cassidy, Roche & Hayes, 2011) described how a range of different children (four normally developing and eight educationally challenged) were provided with a fully automated relational skills training method on a computer in once to twice weekly sessions lasting approximately 90 minutes across several months. IQ tests (WISC III) were administered before the relational training and several weeks following the completion of training.

At the outset of the study, the four normal children had an average IQ of 105 (ranging from 96-119). This is typical of normally developing children. Nevertheless, this average IQ was raised to over 130, which is called high functioning or exceptional. Children in this intellectual range are often referred to as gifted. The lowest IQ among the normally developing students following the intervention was 128 and the highest was 137. This means that these children’s intellectual ability was moved from average range to within the top 2 percent of the population concludes Doctor Roche. The affordable and easy access to educational interventions to hone the foundational educational skills of any child has the potential to democratize education states RaiseYourIQ Director of Learning, Doctor Sarah Cassidy.

RaiseYourIQ wants to offer any and every school free access to our SMART Brain Training. It can be quite impractical for a school to try to bring up to speed a child who is years behind in educational attainment due to a lack of investment in that child in their earlier years, by parents or otherwise. The identification of relational skills as the basic building blocks of intelligence, however, offers the possibility of re-mediating these deficits in a very efficient way so that educational efforts will be more effective and so that any child whether gifted, disadvantaged or with normal IQ can reach their educational potential in an expedited fashion.

To learn more about Brain Training and to sign up your school for free, please visit RaiseYourIQ Brain Training.

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.