Boost IQ

The academic literature remains divided as to whether people can take active steps to boost IQ, certainly in adulthood.

Scientists tend to agree that over 60% of variations in IQ are explained by genetics. Although the 40% left to environmental factors appears to be a significant proportion at a first glance, studies have also shown that environmentally-related IQ advantages tend to dissipate in adulthood. In other words, the genetic explanation will end up prevailing over the longer term, and your IQ will end up being closely linked to IQs levels in your immediate family or very simply, will revert back to its pre-programmed level.

Boost IQ generally? or just IQ scores

So if IQ is largely genetically determined, what can you do, if anything, to boost IQ?

This question needs to be split into two prongs: (1) can you actually boost your intelligence?; and (2) can you boost your IQ score?

The second question is easy to answer in that people can definitely boost their IQ scores with practice. For this reason, Mensa will prevent test takers from sitting the test twice in a twelve month period. “Practice effects” as their are known, have been widely observed. That is, people can boost IQ scores by up to 8 IQ points by taking the same test twice, even though the answers of the first sitting may never have been revealed to the test taker. The reason for this is simple: a fluid intelligence test such as the one found at measures your ability to solve ‘novel problems’, or problems that you will never have encountered before. So if you see the same problem twice, your brain will be better prepared to solve the problem, and this problem is certainly no longer novel. So you can boost IQ scores at the very least.

Improving your true intelligence, on the other hand, is easier said than done. However, neuroplasticity does provide hope. It has been shown that learning new skills such as juggling, or learning a complex language, can help build your brain’s grey matter. Further studies on London Black Cab drivers have shown that these cab drivers’ brains experienced growth in the size of the posterior hippocampus. So whether brain training can actually lead to a general boost in IQ is another story.

I will provide you with my IQ-boosting brain regime in a future post. In the meantime, you can test your IQ here.