Can You Increase Your IQ?

Stay in school (or just play some memory games).

Brian Palmer

A new study suggests that a person’s intelligence quotient can change during his or her teenage years, and those fluctuations are related to physical changes in the structure of the brain. Scientists have been arguing for years over whether a person’s IQ is fixed. Is there a proven way to increase your IQ score?

Yes, but increasing actual intelligence is much more difficult. There’s a really easy way to improve your performance on IQ tests: Take lots of them. Researchers call this the “practice effect,” and it’s pretty foolproof. But there’s a catch. IQ tests are intended to measure something known in the field of psychometrics as g, or general intelligence. The link between IQ tests and the fabled g has been established through decades of longitudinal studies showing that those who do well on IQ tests get better grades, perform better on the SATs, and make more money. The problem with improving your IQ scores by taking the test over and over is that the practice effect breaks the correlation between IQ and g. Practicing only makes you better at the test; it doesn’t make you smarter.

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