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.

Online Brain Training

Online brain training is the scientific way to improve cognitive abilities and make the brain fitter, brain training also improves working memory and fluid intelligence. In a digital world, information or data loading from multiple streams and a longer life expectancy can expose the brain to more demands than ever before. Meanwhile in the education system, there is a lack of effort helping kids how to learn and acquire knowledge easier.

free-brain-training-games

Online brain training as part of a weekly routine can raise memory retention, increase IQ, and help the brain focus better, develop fluid intelligence skills and improve the brains processing speed. This is the real world benefits experienced by tens of thousands of people who are serious about improving their intellectual capacity.

Smart Brain Training from RaiseYourIQ is the only scientifically proven brain training game to raise IQ by 20-30 points while also helping people to think faster, focus better, and remember more with as little as two 20 minutes sessions per week. Smart brain training with over 70 brain exercises in 3 modules has been developed by psychologists and is a clinically proven brain training course that improves the brains cognitive ability. It is easy for anyone, child or adult to challenge the brain a few times week with a series of brain games and exercises designed by neuroscientists to exercise memory, attention and cognitive functions.

RaiseYourIQ have the best free online brain training exercises plus FREE bonus brain training games included with every account. First is our “N-back Brain Training” this brain game is great for improving fluid intelligence. Next a user can play our “Brain Speed” game which is ideal for thinking on your feet. Also free is “Brain agility” which has been designed to improve multi-tasking. The fourth free brain training game is “Brain Memory” which is perfect for memory enhancement.

Science and educational psychologists now promote online brain training for the real-life benefits clinical studies have shown that brain training improves IQ and general intelligence. Brain training online does take work and discipline to have a sharper, smarter and fitter brain, for example at RaiseYourIQ we see most IQ and intellectual gains from users doing two sessions of forty minutes duration twice a week. This can be scheduled into any person’s routine and within three short months, most people see IQ gains of between 20-30 points with others seeing as much as a 50 point IQ gain.

So brain training online will not just help a brain to become fitter, it also raises IQ and fluid intelligence where the benefits can be seen in school, tests, business and working memory situations.

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 Games – Science or Fiction?

Are brain games based on science or fiction?. Brain games should be designed to provide some benefit to the user that is meaningful in helping the brain along lifes journey. However a quick Google search will reveal sites with strap lines like “Give your brain a workout” or “Games that sharpen your mind”, strap lines that have little scientific evidence or academic research to support any boosts. The term “brain games” has been hijacked by software gaming companies hoping to sell thousands of apps leaving the real science based brain health companies wondering should they jump on the bandwagon. Maybe they could use punch lines like “Brain training helps you use 90% of your brain power”.

brain+health

It would be funny except brain training and brain games have huge real world brain health benefits for kids and adults to raise IQ, address learning difficulties and improve intellectual capabilities. People whether kids or adults who turn to brain games, do so in the vast majority of cases to improve their learning ability or remedy some intellectual skills. They will also be paying in the belief that this will help them for school or business. Brain games companies will happily take their money knowing apart for some fun games users will extract little or none real life or learning improvement as there is no science, no research, and no credibility.

Some brain games companies just copy or quote a few lines of research from a psychologist on brain training or cognitive health to try and gain customers trust. Then they just create some quirky games that might amuse but can never amount to anything else. People should be asking, can brain games really help improve my intelligence, what method and research has gone into a company’s brain products, has the brain game company any published research or clinical trials to support their business model. Brain games are part and parcel of cognitive health and psychology. Psychologists and scientists cannot just make up wild claims about their services. What sensible person would pay a doctor who told them they could cure them of some disease just by hoping around on one leg while clapping your hands? Well brain games companies who can “sharpen your mind” will gladly take your money based on similar claims.

Don’t misunderstand the point here, marketing and messaging a product is important, every brain training solution has a right to inform a potential customer the benefits of their product and it is all part of the packaging which consumers love. This article is all about asking customers, schools, educators or psychologists, who want to use a brain game to look under the hood, educate themselves on the real science and research going into brain health, is it a gaming company with a brain game product or a scientific based company with brain games.

To nail our colors to the mast, RaiseYourIQ (and we are not the only ones) are on the side of science. Why, well simply we are first and foremost educational psychologists who have dedicated over 10 years research into intellectual skills training using “relational frame theory” at NUIM University. The outcome which is we have devised a scientifically proven method to raise IQ and intelligence based on relational skills training which we called SMART. We have not copied, borrowed or just quoted this SMART brain training method, we created it, completed the research (and is still on-going today), done clinical trials, published articles in scientific journals and we even wrote a book on it.

The power of brain games within schools, education and business to improve intellectual skills and remedy learning difficulties is too big, too serious, and too important to be left to some large gaming companies who wish the science would go away. Only people can decide, brain games or game based intellectual brain skills training.

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.