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Can You Increase Your IQ Over Time?
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2017 08:45 AM

Intelligence is something of a mystery. It's not entirely understood why some individuals are born with high intellect and a penchant for learning while others have to work hard to retain information. When we see gifted kids, many adults are prone to wondering if they can gain smarts or if they had to be born with intelligence.

Can you improve your IQ?

For many years, scientists have wondered and argued about whether you can alter your intelligence. Slate reported that researchers have only one real conclusion: While you may not be able to alter your intelligence levels, you can adjust the scores on IQ tests. How? With a little practice. The only trouble is that while you may earn a higher score on a test, that doesn't mean you're smarter. Instead, it shows you are better able to take the specific test.
How is this helpful? This information can provide a look into the human brain and may prove useful for young students who are coming up on taking the SAT, ACT or other college entrance exams.

Gifted kids and IQs

Children who are gifted are born with high IQs. That does not automatically mean they will excel in school and move on to postsecondary education without a hitch. Nor are they guaranteed to take on a challenging profession that requires their exemplary smarts. So, what does a high IQ mean? Think of it as potential. While gifted kids have the ability to become leading members of society, they also may not use their smarts entirely.
Without the proper stimulation and challenges in early schooling years, gifted kids can become bored and act out in class. This may lead to miscommunication, reprimands for misbehavior and negative associations between the student and school. Bad experiences as a kid can lead these gifted students to not use their intellect and opt out of further schooling because they don't want to relive past academic failures.

Improving IQ test scores

While people may not be able to alter their actual IQ, they can improve their intelligence test scores. Students may want to better their test-taking abilities for State Standards assessments, for example, or the SAT or ACT. If you have gifted kids who will soon be taking standardized exams or college entrance tests, consider offering them these tips:

1. Use memory games

Because these tests only require students to remember certain information for a short period, memory games can prove beneficial. On the SAT, for instance, students may make flashcards of vocabulary words. Place the term on one side and the definition on the other. So long as the student plays the game many times, she may greatly improve understanding and memorization of the word. Humans can etch just about anything into their brains for long enough to take a test, from difficult algorithms to formulas, antonyms and scientific terms.

2. Try acronyms 

Remember all those silly mnemonic devices you learned in high school, like "please excuse my dear aunt Mary?" While they may seem goofy, acronyms can be seriously helpful in remembering longer bits of information. Think off the top of your head, can you name all the planets? Most people can't, especially not in order from the sun. With the help of the acronym "my very educated mother just served us nine pizzas," you can quickly run through the letters to name every planet (and poor Pluto). Encourage your kids to use acronyms when they need to recall longer phrases or pieces of info.

3. Stop stressing

Your working memory is affected by stress levels. Kids who are about to take the SAT are all amped up about doing well because they want to get into great colleges and move on to the professions of their choice. This can have a snowball effect, with students' nerves minimizing their brain function and potentially decreasing their scores. Make sure your gifted children get eight or so hours of sleep the night before a test. Share that taking deep breaths right before the exam begins can help them get oxygen to the brain and therefore encourage success.

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IQ Test Information

Can You Increase Your IQ Over Time?
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2017 08:45 AM

Intelligence is something of a mystery. It's not entirely understood why some individuals are born with high intellect and a penchant for learning while others have to work hard to retain information. When we see gifted kids, many adults are prone to wondering if they can gain smarts or if they had to be born with intelligence.

Can you improve your IQ?

For many years, scientists have wondered and argued about whether you can alter your intelligence. Slate reported that researchers have only one real conclusion: While you may not be able to alter your intelligence levels, you can adjust the scores on IQ tests. How? With a little practice. The only trouble is that while you may earn a higher score on a test, that doesn't mean you're smarter. Instead, it shows you are better able to take the specific test.
How is this helpful? This information can provide a look into the human brain and may prove useful for young students who are coming up on taking the SAT, ACT or other college entrance exams.

Gifted kids and IQs

Children who are gifted are born with high IQs. That does not automatically mean they will excel in school and move on to postsecondary education without a hitch. Nor are they guaranteed to take on a challenging profession that requires their exemplary smarts. So, what does a high IQ mean? Think of it as potential. While gifted kids have the ability to become leading members of society, they also may not use their smarts entirely.
Without the proper stimulation and challenges in early schooling years, gifted kids can become bored and act out in class. This may lead to miscommunication, reprimands for misbehavior and negative associations between the student and school. Bad experiences as a kid can lead these gifted students to not use their intellect and opt out of further schooling because they don't want to relive past academic failures.

Improving IQ test scores

While people may not be able to alter their actual IQ, they can improve their intelligence test scores. Students may want to better their test-taking abilities for State Standards assessments, for example, or the SAT or ACT. If you have gifted kids who will soon be taking standardized exams or college entrance tests, consider offering them these tips:

1. Use memory games

Because these tests only require students to remember certain information for a short period, memory games can prove beneficial. On the SAT, for instance, students may make flashcards of vocabulary words. Place the term on one side and the definition on the other. So long as the student plays the game many times, she may greatly improve understanding and memorization of the word. Humans can etch just about anything into their brains for long enough to take a test, from difficult algorithms to formulas, antonyms and scientific terms.

2. Try acronyms 

Remember all those silly mnemonic devices you learned in high school, like "please excuse my dear aunt Mary?" While they may seem goofy, acronyms can be seriously helpful in remembering longer bits of information. Think off the top of your head, can you name all the planets? Most people can't, especially not in order from the sun. With the help of the acronym "my very educated mother just served us nine pizzas," you can quickly run through the letters to name every planet (and poor Pluto). Encourage your kids to use acronyms when they need to recall longer phrases or pieces of info.

3. Stop stressing

Your working memory is affected by stress levels. Kids who are about to take the SAT are all amped up about doing well because they want to get into great colleges and move on to the professions of their choice. This can have a snowball effect, with students' nerves minimizing their brain function and potentially decreasing their scores. Make sure your gifted children get eight or so hours of sleep the night before a test. Share that taking deep breaths right before the exam begins can help them get oxygen to the brain and therefore encourage success.

... READ MORE
How to Increase Your IQ Over Time
MONDAY, JANUARY 16, 2017 09:21 AM

An individual's IQ is not set in stone. In fact, you can take steps to improve your IQ over time with some learning opportunities and activities. If you want to increase your IQ, here are some ways to do so:

Try new things

The phrase, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks" is entirely false. In fact, acquiring new knowledge and skills is a crucial step towards upping your overall IQ. One way to do this is to take on a language you have never tried before. Start by studying vocabulary words and learning beginning phrases like, "Where is the bathroom?" and "My name is ____." You could even learn a language with your family! It is a great way for kids to improve their IQs as well as work on English skills.

Gaining a new physical skill can also bump up your IQ. While you may not think beginning to play soccer, for example, can help your smarts, the game is not just about running and kicking. Sports teach physical skills but also improve critical thinking, logical reasoning and cooperation.
Playing an instrument can also prove useful. Even if you have never looked at a music note in your life, beginning to learn now may help you improve cognitive thinking and memory. Try a woodwind instrument like the flute or saxophone, or go for a stringed one such as the guitar or ukulele. Musical knowledge and skills only improve through practice, so don't learn one chord and expect your IQ to rise. Instead, dedicate a period of time each day to learn new chords and notes and practice songs.

Read

A study at Emory University noted that reading novels can improve overall brain function and connectivity. Reading fiction can help people mentally put themselves in the place of the protagonist as the character navigates his world. The very act of understanding the English language as you read also improves IQ, especially if you read books that include words you do not yet know. That does not mean you should go out and try to read the dictionary or an encyclopedia from cover to cover. Instead, read books at your reading level, and slowly work your way up to more difficult books. Use context clues in the sentence around words you do not know to guess what they mean. Then, compare your thoughts with the actual definition. This is a great way to learn - you will be more likely to remember new words if you have first guessed their meaning as you will recall how right or totally wrong you were.

Be creative

Taking time to be creative can benefit people as artistic endeavors are connected to the more logical thinking left side of the brain. An article in Scientific American noted that creative thinking tends to involve switching from conventional and unconventional thought, or one side of the brain to the other. Let's say that you decide to use child's building toys to create a castle, for example. You are paying attention to the color schemes to keep your architecture looking uniform while also making some areas, like turrets and the mote, stand out. This is artistic. You are also using math to ensure the sides are symmetrical as you select pieces and connectors. You are gaining problem-solving skills as well as learning how to innovate, both crucial parts of higher IQs.

Get moving

Try this little experiment: Take an online IQ test at home. Write down your score. Then, partake in some high-intensity exercise like running, rowing or playing a game of soccer. Immediately after, take another IQ test. You may be surprised to learn that you earn a better score after exercising. Many studies state that post-workout brains are flooded with hormones that can improve memory and cognitive functioning. The hormones are potentially beneficial for the hippocampus, the part of the brain that controls memory and learning. Regular exercise can improve neuron growth, reducing stress, depression and anxiety which can all negatively impact your IQ and test-taking practices.

Try practice tests

Professor Alan S. Kaufman told Men's Health magazine that taking practice IQ tests can raise your score by up to two full points. Why does this help? Tests are often not just about the subject matter found in the questions. Instead, the actual act of taking the exam is also assessed. Taking practice versions of IQ tests can better prepare you for future tries as you will know what to expect and prepare for.

Also be sure that you have eaten a high-fiber meal within an hour or two of taking an IQ test. This will provide energy so you are at the top of your game and ready to show your real IQ.
... READ MORE
Why that social media IQ test is inaccurate
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2014 10:41 AM

Many people are curious what their IQ scores are, so when a five-minute IQ test circulated on social media, it was no surprise that it spread quickly. These short-and-sweet quizzes seem to pop up every now and then, giving Facebook users the chance to see how smart they are. The only problem is that these quick tests are inaccurate.

IQ scoring
The most recent social media phenomenon awarded an IQ score after the test taker completed a series of 18 questions. People could then post their scores to social media, sharing their perceived intelligence with their friends. However, according to The Mary Sue, the majority of people who took the quiz scored in the 125-134 range. If you know anything about how real IQ tests are scored, you know the majority of people get around 100.

IQ testing is a form of norm-reference test. In essence, the scores are compared to a median score that most people earn. The average intelligence falls around 100. People who are smarter or less smart than average score outside of the normal range. Outlier scores are comparable to a percentage. For instance, a person who scored 124 is estimated to be as intelligent as 6 percent of people.

The quiz alludes to the comparison structure of IQ scores. The quiz tells users how their score compares to the rest of the population. However, it still awards a few too many surprising results.

Testing time
Standard IQ tests, including the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-IV), take a decent amount of time to complete: anywhere from an hour to 90 minutes. Children's IQ tests may not take quite as long (about 40-60 minutes). Each contain a long list of questions that test a person's cognitive abilities based on things like memory. Completing only a few questions won't provide strong enough evidence for how intelligent the test taker is.

While taking a short quiz to fill up a few minutes can be fun, you shouldn't use the assessments as the end all be all. You'll only get an accurate reading of your IQ score by taking exams that are certified by a qualified psychologist. 

Improving your IQ
The quiz was spread on Facebook as an advertising tool. The company says it can help people improve their IQ. While the quiz provides an inaccurate IQ score, the idea that people can improve their intelligence is actually correct. IQ is fluid, and can be exercised. Children are able to improve their IQ the most, as their minds are still developing and learning. Adults can too, just not to such a great degree. 

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Genetic IQ tests to begin in China
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2014 13:51 PM

While some parents might wonder if their child will have a certain eye color, how tall the baby will grow up to be or if the newborn will have any life-threatening illnesses, other parents have jumped right to considering how high their baby can score on IQ tests. In order to meet this small but growing demand, a Chinese company called BGI has been developing a way to predict intelligence levels while the child is still in the embryonic stage.

Mapping the intelligence genomes
BGI has a number of researchers working in its cognitive genomics department seeking answers to questions such as why children can have higher IQ scores than their parents. BGI owns 178 sequencing machines and produces approximately 25 percent of the world's genomic data. The researchers have genetic material from a number of volunteers. The participants in BGI's genomic project are mainly individuals who have a high aptitude in mathematics or physics, Ph.D holders, and people who have near-perfect SAT or GRE scores. By pouring all this data into their sequencing machines, the scientists hope to find the key to genius-level intelligence.

The BGI scientists' theory revolves around the mapping of genius' genomes. Once the scientists complete the map, they aim to identify which of the genes influence intelligence. Researchers have used similar methods to isolate the genes that cause black hair or right-handedness.

Controversy and consequences of BGI research
The ethical ramifications of BGI's research are significant. Parents could potentially fertilize multiple embryos and select one that has the greatest potential for intelligence. Some Westerners shudder at the thought, but some citizens in Asia don't find BGI's work unsettling at all. According to Bowen Zhao, the head of the BGI cognitive genomics department, many Chinese people welcome the research. If BGI's project goes on as planned, people will have a chance to break cultural barriers and become successful through education and intelligence. 

Government support of cognitive genomics in China
The Chinese government demonstrated interest in BGI's project by giving the company $1.5 billion to fund further research. The act comes as a surprise given the Chinese's previous hesitance to share information and the company's future plans for the project. BGI previously stated that it will make all its data available to the public. The company did something similar when a strain of E. coli hit Germany in 2011, sequencing the strain in three days and tweeting details and information about the bacteria throughout the process.

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Improving critical thinking skills
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 29, 2014 13:38 PM

IQ assessments test verbal and mathematical skills, spatial abilities, pattern recognition and other cognitive functions. Although these categories might seem completely independent of one another, they actually have something in common: the use of critical thinking. People who score high on IQ tests have huge stores of knowledge as well as a keen sense of analysis that they can apply to many IQ questions. Here are a few daily exercises you can use to develop critical thinking skills in everyday life:

Identify goals
Throughout the day, you will be tasked with decision making. Determine the purpose or goal of each decision. You should try to be as clear and concise as possible when identifying your purpose. It is just a starting point for further analysis, not the final step of the process.

Find ways to make use of time
People often use the phrase "killing time" to describe a period when there is no productivity occurring at that moment. These are great opportunities to practice critical thinking skills. You can spend this time doing self-evaluations. Ask yourself questions like: At what point during the day did I really think through a decision? When did I make poor choices? What types of thoughts crossed my mind today? Did I do anything to get closer to my long-term goals?

Evaluate recurring biases
When people face a problem that is difficult to solve, they often look at it from only one perspective. They do not see the value in looking at the situation from two or even three different angles. The next time you are faced with a challenge, try to think how another person might see the problem. This could be a parent, role model, colleague or student. You could also use a famous person from history known for their intelligence. When you practice looking at a situation from different points of view, you don't let biases cloud your judgment. Take some time to think about each particular challenge. What assumptions are you making in the context of this problem? Removing biases from your thought process can really help you make rational decisions.

Solve a problem a day
Try to systematically work through a problem or challenge each day. Use logic to identify the different factors that play into the situation. Define the problem in a way that you can understand. Determine how the challenge relates to your goals, values and needs.

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London mayor's comments on IQ scores spur controversy
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2013 16:32 PM

Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, recently made some waves with his comments on IQ scores and his subsequent failure of an IQ test during a radio appearance. Johnson began a controversy when, during a speech in November, he seemed to mock the 16 percent of the population that have IQ scores below 85.

Johnson's comments came in the context of discussing redistribution of resources, and raised alarm among many people that he was taking a callous approach to economic inequality. But as distasteful as his statement was in a political and social sense, it also revealed the kind of misunderstanding of IQ tests that is shared by many people in the general population.

Johnson fails IQ test
Johnson attempted to defend his speech by going on a radio show to clarify his meaning. However, his appearance only served to inflame the controversy after he failed a three-question IQ test that was administered by one of the radio show's hosts.

The fact that Johnson struggled, despite a world-class education and the general opinion among those who know him that he is a particularly intelligent man, simply goes to show that there is more to an IQ test than the specific answers given to questions. It also shows that the way IQ tests are administered and assessed has very little to do with social or economic stratosphere. Instead, they are one tool, albeit an important one, in determining a person's overall capabilities.

Misunderstanding IQ
The most revealing aspect of Johnson's situation might be the fact that he seems to misunderstand the meaning of IQ tests, a misconception that many in the general public share. While IQ tests are important pieces of understanding someone's mind and abilities, they don't paint the whole picture. When it comes to understanding how human beings' minds work, we need to use every resource available, including IQ tests. However, it is one important piece of an intricate and expansive puzzle.

... READ MORE
People in love may have a harder time focusing
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2013 15:31 PM

It is common for people to say and do things when they are in love they probably wouldn't normally do. Recently, researcher Henk van Steenbergen, with help from colleagues at the University of Maryland and Leiden University, set out to see what effects romance has on the brain.

The researchers worked with 43 participants who had been in a relationship for less than half a year. Overall, they found that romantic feelings had an impact on these individuals' ability to focus, as the more in love they felt, the more likely they were to give attention to irrelevant information.

While it may be difficult for people to concentrate when they are dealing with new love, Van Steenbergen said they need to gain more control over their cognitive abilities if they are to make a relationship work.

"When you have just become involved in a romantic relationship you'll probably find it harder to focus on other things because you spend a large part of your cognitive resources on thinking of your beloved," said Van Steenbergen. "For long-lasting love in a long-term relationship, on the other hand, it seems crucial to have proper cognitive control."

With this information in mind, individuals who are in love and are curious to know how it has affected their cognitive abilities may want to take an IQ test. Doing so may help them determine whether romance has made them wiser or just another fool in love.

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Degeneration of brain structure could predict cognitive decline
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2013 10:32 AM

It is no secret that cognitive decline is a problem for many people as they get older. Those who are concerned about the quality of their cognitive abilities over time may take an IQ test every few years in the hopes they may spot the early signs of negative brain activity.

Based on the results of a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Davis Alzheimer's Disease Center, damage to a part of the brain known as the fornix holds clues to cognitive decline that could be many years away. The fornix, which is located deep inside the brain, carries messages to and from the hippocampus. Its degeneration was found to be related to cognitive decline among healthy individuals later in life.

"Our results suggest that fornix variables are measurable brain factors that precede the earliest clinically relevant deterioration of cognitive function among cognitively normal elderly individuals," said Evan Fletcher, a project scientist with UC Davis and the study's lead author.

It also helps for individuals to be aware of the other signs of cognitive problems to come. According to the Mayo Clinic, forgetting things, like keys and important dates, and displaying poor judgment are symptoms of mild cognitive impairment.

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Video game training found to improve older brains
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 05, 2013 10:02 AM

Some video games are designed to foster a fun experience, while others are meant to educate. One 3D video game, which was at the center of a recent University of California, San Francisco study, was specially designed to enhance older adults' cognitive abilities. Based on researchers' findings, playing this game can improve seniors' mental strength.

In the study, which was published in "Nature," researchers set out to see what impact playing their video game would have on participants between the ages of 60 and 85 years of age. Those who played the game had to navigate a race car around a winding track, while keeping an eye out for specific road signs. When these signs popped up, players were asked to press a button. Overall, the game required them to rapidly switch between tasks.

While the game was difficult, the participants received training to make multitasking easier on them. The training proved very effective, as they were able to perform better than individuals in their 20s who were playing the game for the first time.

Following the video game training, the participants saw improvements to their sustained attention and working memory. Ultimately, the study results show that the older brain can change.

If adults play video games regularly and are curious to learn how this hobby has affected their cognitive abilities, it may be time for them to take an IQ test.

... READ MORE
Playing 'StarCraft' may enhance people's cognitive abilities
THURSDAY, AUGUST 22, 2013 10:32 AM

Unless individuals are avid video game players, they may not be familiar with the Zerg and Protoss, two of the hostile alien races featured in the real-time strategy game "StarCraft." According to the game's website, the two races are at war. However, what the popular title's website does not tell people is that joining this conflict could make them smarter.

This is the conclusion researchers from Queen Mary University of London and University College London arrived at in a recent study. A total of 72 volunteers - all of which were female - were divided into three groups and told to play two games for a set period of time.

One group played "The Sims," a life simulation game, while the remaining two groups played two different versions of "StarCraft." The study participants played for 40 hours over a six-to-eight-week period, and underwent psychological testing before and after.

The researchers found that "StarCraft" players were better at performing cognitive flexibility tasks than players of "The Sims."

Based on the results of this study, players of "StarCraft" or similar games may want to take an IQ test and see what effects it has had on them.

... READ MORE

 

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Where will Your IQ Score Emerge on the Chart Below?

80-90 (below average)
90-110 (average intelligence)
111-121 (above average)
122-130 (highly intelligent)
131-141 (gifted)
142+ (genius - top 1%)

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