Why Has It Taken Over 40 Years to Develop Software that Increases IQ?
It is only due to recent insights from cognitive psychology about the functioning of our working memory that scientists have now developed an effective brain training exercise to increase IQ. Cognitive psychologists have uncovered a close connection between our working memory capacity and our intelligence. It is this understanding that has enabled us to design the task to be effective in increasing intelligence.
How To Increase IQ?
Part of the story is short term memory. We use our short term memory every day. For example for:
- remembering a telephone number before dialling it or writing it down
- remembering what you have to get when you go shopping
- holding directions in mind when you are driving
The Magical Number 7
The amount of information most people can hold in short term memory (numbers, food items, directions) is limited to around 7 items plus or minus 2. This short term memory capacity or ‘memory span’ has been called the ‘magical number seven’ in one of the most famous papers in cognitive psychology, by George Miller at Princeton University.
But more important than just remembering information by rote is being able to do mental operations on that information – to solve a problem, to figure something out, or reason through something to find an answer. For instance, imagining the changing locations of chess pieces in a game of chess, or figuring out a 15% tip (‘the bill is 29.30. Call that 30. 10% of 30 is 3. Half of 3 is 1.5. 3 plus 1.5 is 4.5.’).
The ability to hold information in mind for brief periods, and do mental operations on it while screening out distracting information is called working memory. With working memory you do mental work on the information, not just store it.
Working Memory Capacity
The average capacity of working memory is much less than 7. Most people have a working memory capacity of about 2 or 3. The i3® IQ training task increases working memory capacity to around 5.
The Working Memory – IQ Link
People vary widely in their working memory capacity, and that these differences in fact predict general intelligence level as measured by standardized IQ tests. General intelligence depends on working memory because working memory affects a wide range of complex cognitive tasks besides figuring out a tip, involving reasoning problem solving, and making sense of things. We use working memory when we reason, plan and problem solve.
- With more working memory capacity, more abstract relations and connections can be made with more information when thinking.
- With more working memory capacity, more options can be considered and evaluated in trying to solve a problem or reach a decision – without ‘losing track’.
Working memory and general intelligence both share the same brain circuitry – part of the frontal cortex of the brain called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. (‘Dorsal’ means up, and ‘lateral’ means to the side – hence ‘dorsolateral’).
How to increase IQ
The logic is simple
- If you can improve your working memory capacity by training it directly, you can increase your intelligence level as a consequence.
- There is a ‘transfer effect’ from working memory training to intelligence and IQ.
Increase Working Memory Capacity by >65% and Intelligence by >40%
In 2008 cognitive psychologists led by Dr Jaeggi at the University of Bern in Switzerland and the University of Michigan in the States, demonstrated that by training on a working memory exercise called the dual n-back that we have replicated precisely in i3® you can increase working memory capacity by over 65% over just 19 days of training. This improvement then results in a remarkable 40% plus gain in intelligence as measured by a version of the time limited Raven’s Advanced Progressive Matrices IQ test – one of the most valid and highly regarded IQ tests for culture fair intelligence. This is called a transfer effect.
The scientific paper demonstrating dramatic IQ and intelligence gains through training working memory can be found by clicking on the icon.
i3® Trains All 5 Factors of Intelligence
G (general intelligence) has 5 factors:
Gc: Crystallized intelligence – general knowledge, verbal ability
Gf: Fluid intelligence – reasoning and novel problem solving ability
Gv: Visual intelligence – the ability to manipulate mental visual images to solve problems
Gs: Processing speed – the speed at which basic cognitive processes are executed
Gsm: Short term / working memory – the amount of information that can be integrated and processed at the same time
With carefully selected IQ brainteasers in addition to different parameter settings for dual n-back training, i3® trains and improves each of these five factors of IQ, dramatically increasing your overall general intelligence level.
Find Out More
To learn more about the different factors of IQ click on the drop down menu options in the menu bar for ‘Scientific Basis’ above.