Questions on how brain training works

We often get asked, so how does brain training work and what is involved. Well, read below on some of the answers including the science behind SMART.

Brain Training : What Is A Relational Skill?

A relational skill is a skill involved in understanding the relationship between things in the world. Understanding the relationships between a set of cousins, or understanding that a particular group of plants are all of the same kind (e.g., flowers), or understanding that a Poodle is a type of dog but a dog is not a type of poodle, are all examples of basic relational skills. But of course, they get more complicated than this. The relational skills you need to understand high level mathematics or to read and speak well, are more advanced skills. SMART brain training teaches a range of basic but crucial relational skills and brings your relational skills to expert levels, so that all intellectual tasks come easier. SMART brain training makes you a faster and better learner. SMART helps new information make more sense, and helps you think more clearly. Read about our SCIENCE

What is IQ?

IQ stands for “Intelligent Quotient” IQ relates to a score that a person or child scores from conducting a IQ test usually delivered by a qualified psychologists to assess level of intelligence. A persons IQ level should be used in conjunction with several intelligence scales and most modern psychologists consider IQ as a general indicator of intelligence. The most used standardized IQ test used today is known as the “WAIS”. This IQ test consists of seven verbal tests and seven brain performance tests. IQ is still used in schools, education and business — it can be used as a predictor for academic results and in a corporate setting as a predictor for job performance, usually through the guise of psychometric testing.

What Does Brain Training Involve?

The SMART brain training course from RaiseYourIQ is divided into levels with blocks of questions. The course involves teaching the user how to answer blocks of logical questions, first with feedback — and then on their own without any help. There is 30 seconds to answer each question. During training blocks we tell you whether or not your answer is correct. During test blocks you need to answer all of the questions on your own. Once you pass a test, you move on to the next level. You progress like this through the levels, collecting points as you go. You even get bonus points for revising stages you have passed before, because the more you revise the smarter your brain will get. The course should take between three to six months to complete.

Why Is SMART “Brain Training” different?

SMART is not like any other form of brain training, and at RaiseYourIQ we use the term “brain skills training” , or a behavioral training course.
SMART Brain Training has been developed by education leaders and published psychologists following over ten years research in schools and university. SMART Brain Training does not work by merely improving working memory or teaching users how to perform well on IQ tests. Instead, our SMART brain training course teaches the fundamental cognitive skills necessary to improve learning and reasoning in school,business and in everyday life.
SMART Brain Training enhances the entire intellectual skill set.
Some brain training “games” just focus on working memory, the SMART Brain Training course (we want our users to see this as an educational course with real world benefits) covers the 4 key areas of “Intellectual Performance”

(1). Verbal Comprehension — improve ability to listen to a question and draw upon learned information

(2). Perceptual Reasoning — improve ability to examine a problem, organize thoughts, create solutions, and then test them

(3). Processing Speed — increase attention to quickly scan, discriminate between and order visual information

(4). Working Memory — increase the ability to memorize new information, hold it in short-term memory and concentrate

Brain and Cognitive Skills

Brain and cognitive skills exercises are at the core of the SMART brain training system. Based on over 10 years clinical research in universities and schools by Doctor Sarah Cassidy and Doctor Bryan Roche, SMART brain training consists of over 70 modules made up of several brain exercises with increasing difficulty levels that target all cognitive skills including verbal comprehension, reasoning, processing speed plus working and long term memory. Brain and cognitive abilities are the brain-based skills we all need to effectively carry out any task from the easiest to the most difficult. Brain training works by improving skill specific changes in the brain which then carry into bigger changes across many different types of skills training and learning ability.IQ tests and results demonstrate that as the brain becomes smarter at a skill, the brain no longer needs to work as hard at it. The brain now shifts to more automatic processing as that skill is learned.

Source: Questions on how brain training works from RaiseYourIQ

you can improve IQ

Science has proven you can improve IQ. In this article, Dr. Bryan Roche outlines why our IQ is not fixed for life and it is time to change our view of intelligence.

Source: you can improve IQ

You have probably heard that you cannot improve IQ.  But that is not strictly true.

Can we improve IQ or is IQ fixed for life? Well, you may have read in various places that your IQ is fixed for life. That is somewhat true – but for surprising reasons is also misleading. In truth the apparent stability of your intelligence is somewhat of a trick conjured up by intelligence test developers, psychologists and statisticians who have already started their work from the position that you cannot improve IQ meaning intelligence is fixed for life.

This idea is based on little more than the intuition of Sir Francis Galton, and the pondering of some early IQ researchers such as Catell, Spearman and Sir Cyril Burt.  Some of these researchers had political motivations for this position, and indeed Sir Cyril Burt was posthumously disciplined for by the British Psychological Society for faking his IQ research data to fit with the idea that IQ is fixed for life and is determined biologically.

No psychological research has ever FOUND that intelligence is fixed for life.  Instead, tests for general and specific intellectual ability are developed in such a way that your score from one test take to another (say a year apart) will not change much.  The simplest way in which this is achieved, is by masking the gain in your improvement over time by NOT calculating your real raw score on the test, but instead calculating your score in terms of how it compares relatively to people of your age.

Because everyone of your age is improving intellectually at the same rate this way of scoring the IQ test creates the false impression that you are not getting any smarter.  Indeed, the whole population is getting smarter (an effect known as the Flynn effect), but tests are regularly revised to make sure that this is disguised.  The tests are designed in advance so that someone in the bottom 20 percent of the population, for example, will continue to score well below the average score.  As the population becomes smarter, the gap closes between the raw score of someone on the 20th percentile and the average score of someone on the 50th percentile (always defined as a score of 100).

The newer tests open the gap again to keep the low scorers scores down and away from the average score.  This is intended to disguise the fact that the lowest scorers in the population are in fact doing much better than people just one generation ago.  More illusion and confusion for the genal public!

You Can Improve IQ and The Data Proves it!

Aside from errors in the logical argument that IQ must be fixed for life, based on the finding that your IQ scores do not change across time much (when the test is rigged to guarantee that!), it is simply NOT true that people do not develop and improve intellectually. Admittedly, the evidence is weak that you can achieve large IQ gains from simply playing a brain training app.  But the evidence is not weak, that you can show improvements in IQ from targeted educational interventions, such as those developed within the field known as Applied Behavior Analysis. Practitioners in that field have, for many decades, been producing exceptionally large IQ gains in children with learning difficulties.

Across many scientific papers that I (Dr. Bryan Roche) and others have published over the past decade, it has been shown repeatedly that scores on a wide variety of standardized measures of intelligence and cognitive abilities, can be raised significantly using a Relational Frame Theory-based intervention known as SMART (Strengthening Mental Abilities with Relational Training) that does not involve training of skills directly relevant to IQ tests.

free brain training

The SMART method is closely related to the types of techniques used in Applied Behavior Analysis and was developed across several peer reviewed scientific papers.  Calling the SMART method “brain training” may be a bit of an over-simplification.  It is targeted fundamental intellectual skills training done in a digital format.   We have argued for many years that this is clear evidence for “far transfer”. That is, we consistently get very large gains in IQ for most or all users of SMART training, that we have made available at RaiseYourIQ.com, on every and all measures employed to asses intelligence (e.g., arithmetic, vocabulary, reading), despite the fact that our intervention is in no way “training to the test”. That is, there are no IQ test items in our training.

Our classic online training uses nonsense words only (no recognisable or nameable words or shapes of any kind). Our training for younger kids does use images and real words as a workup to the classic training so widely cited in the scientific research literature. We train only a small number of syllogistic-style reasoning tasks that we have discovered are relevant to almost every aspect of intellectual functioning.  But we do it across thousands of tasks over many months of casual training in an online game-like environment.

Despite the admittedly almost unbelievable results obtained for the effects of SMART training at RaiseYourIQ.com, across several studies from several labs using several different measures across several different populations, the public is still not convinced that IQ tests of all kinds measure a flexible skill set rather than a fixed trait and that you can in fact Raise Your IQ. The data is out there. The data is published in peer reviewed scientific journals of all kinds.  The discussions of this data happen at conferences all over the world – but it takes time for these ideas to replace well-worn tropes about the fixedness of intelligence.  That old idea is stuck firmly in the public psyche, even though the evidence for this outdated position is questionable in terms of theory and incorrect in terms of empirical data.

WHAT underlies my IQ score then?

What our research program at Maynooth University, Ireland, has found, is that there is indeed an underlying factor that determines our IQ score, but it is not something we are born with – it is a skill set that is in fact quite easy to teach and improve.  That skill set is known as Arbitrarily Applicable Relational Responding (AARR), which is a technical way of referring to a very particular type of logical reasoning that underlies all higher levels of day-to-day intellectual activity (reading, problem solving, language acquisition).  Dozens of published studies in the field of Relational Frame Theory have shown that this skill is easily improved, and others, mostly using SMART training, have shown that when we do this, large IQ gains follow.

Here is an example of the type of AARR training task that we might use in SMART training. This example uses what we call nonsense words and requires the user to solve a logical puzzle of a very particular type.

CUH is opposite to DEJ

ARU is the same as GEY

ARU is opposite to DEJ.

Are CUH and GEY the same?

It is NOT important for the user to know the answer at the outset (the answer is yes!). This is not a test.  It is training.  What is important is that across thousands of such examples (many easier than this example) we teach users the correct answers, and so they learn the very large pattern of possible ways in which such logical statements lead to logical conclusions involving relationships among words or things in the world.  We increase the speed and accuracy of users on such tasks in logical stages, from the lowest level upwards, using an algorithm that we have worked out across research studies. When we do this people get smarter.

It is time to change our view of Intelligence

 SMART training for intelligence improvement

It is said that science is a self-correcting process. The data will always correct the theory and lead us forward in developing more effective ways to help people.  Now, old fashioned and outdated intelligence theory is moving further and further away from the empirical facts. The political reasons for holding on to those old ideas is hampering, rather than helping us in developing better interventions to improve IQ and raise the intellectual ability of the world’s entire population. It is time to move on and get with the data.  For more information and research references visit SMART brain training

IQ and your Brain

IQ and your Brain

Like an unbreakable bond, IQ and your brain are inseparable. For some, learning seems innate; mathematics seems effortless. But for many of us, it is a different story. So, can we improve our own IQ.

The debate has been raging for centuries; is intelligence innate or can it be improved by interventions? Are we born with the necessary intelligence for learning and success or is our environment responsible for shaping us? Can we, in fact, shape our own cognitive ability?

Many people believe that our intelligence levels are limited by biology on IQ and memory. While other psychologists have shown that IQ can be raised (see Cassidy, Roche & Hayes, 2011) leading to permanent increases in IQ (Roche, Cassidy &Stewart, 2013). Note: Cassidy and Roche are co-founders of RaiseYourIQ.

There can be different meanings to what we term intelligence. There is our “biological intelligence” (also known as neural efficiency. Then we have “psychometric intelligence” which is our measured IQ score (a method of estimating our biological intelligence).

The question is can we increase our biological intelligence? The research carried out in the past decade using various intervention tools (aka, brain training) have proven that it is possible for us to boost our neural efficiency and mental horsepower. Our cognitive ability can be made to work more efficiently. and in a more synchronized manner.

More research from Jaeggi (2008) showed that intellectual functioning could be improved. So, do these studies show us that our IQ score is no longer a number that limits our ability to grow. Interestingly, some of the greatest scientific minds of recent times possessed IQs below what we would call highly intelligent. People such as Richard Feynman, James Watson and William Shockley all had average IQs.

Another point worth making is that to measure improvement in IQ also requires us to consider how our intelligence is being measured in the first place. We should not confuse ability with knowledge. Any of us can study and improve our vocabulary. But does that make us smarter? To really measure intelligence, we need to measure the abilities that underlie the acquisition of knowledge, not the knowledge we current process.

“High, but not the highest intelligence, combined with the greatest degree of persistence, will achieve greater eminence than the highest degree of intelligence with somewhat less persistence”

Other psychologists have discovered that there is a strong link between what they term “relational skills” and IQ scores (O’Hora, Pelaez & Barnes-Holmes; 2005, O’Toole & Barnes-Holmes;2009, Cassidy, Roche & Hayes; 2011, Roche, Cassidy & Stewart; 2013). They showed that these relational skills can be taught which in turn triggers an increase in IQ scores.

What does relational skills have to do with IQ?

The psychologist mentioned above state that “relational skills are the understanding of mathematical relationships between concepts or objects such as things are the same as other things, more or less than other things, opposite to other things etc” The proved that having a strong handle on the relationships between and among other things has been shown to enhance thinking and problem solving skills. Relational skills are now referred to as the building blocks of intelligence by psychologists in the field of Relational Frame Theory.

Research from 2011 has shown that using Relational Frame Theory as an intervention can significantly improve IQ scores in children. A more recent study using this intervention also found improvements in IQ, verbal reasoning, and numeric reasoning.

Activities that involve relational training include:

  • language learning books (“this is a…” and “that is a…”)
  • object comparisons (full cup versus empty cup)
  • amount comparisons (penny versus dime)

“While we may continue to use the words smart and stupid, the monopoly of those who believe in a single general intelligence has come to an end

A study aimed to replicate and extend the pilot findings of Cassidy et al. (2011) which found that teaching children to derive various relations among stimuli leads to increases in the full scale IQ scores of both typically developing children and those with educational and learning difficulties. In the first experiment , fifteen 11–12 year old children were exposed over several months to an intensive training intervention to improve their understanding of the relations Same, Opposite and More and Less. Significant increases in full scale IQ of around one standard deviation were recorded for each child. In the second experiment, the same intervention was delivered to thirty 15–17 year old children. Significant increases in verbal and Numerical Reasoning were recorded for almost every child. These findings corroborate the idea that relational skills may underlie many forms of general cognitive ability.

IQ and our Mindset

Scientists now believe that our mindset matters not just on an emotional level, but also on a physiological level. The fact that we believe we can improve our learning capability will enhance our performance in any learning environment. Persisting with tasks even when they are difficult will help us complete them. We have evidence of this in business and sport. The ability of those who are less gifted technically, working harder to achieve higher results. As one psychologist put it “when the chips are down, the person or kid who works harder will help themselves to deliver the results.”

This mindset is about getting outside of our comfort zones in a focused way, having clear goals, with a plan for reaching those goals, and a way to monitor our progress. Research shows that we can increase our brain’s functioning by pushing ourselves to learn things that are outside of our current skill set.  Learn to play an instrument, a new language, or a new skill. This has the effect of exercising our brain in a new way which expands our brain’s neural networks.

Also, as some of our abilities such as fluid reasoning, crystallized intelligence or verbal abilities are more stable over time, others are less stable as in short-term memory and cognitive processing speed. So, working our brain or doing brain exercises can increase brain functioning.

IQ and our Brain

More and more evidence based, and scientifically validated research seems to point to the fact that it is possible for us to raise our intelligence levels through brain training activities.Memory training, executive control, and reasoning can help to boost our intelligence levels. The best way to train these areas of our brain is to engage in thoughtful activities and games, learn new skills, and keep our brains active.

Source: IQ and your Brain

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.