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Can You Increase Your IQ? 21 Smart Ways You Can

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Can you increase your IQ?


Like many things in life, we can improve our natural ability for most things.

We just need to work on it.

Increasing our IQ is no different.

Let’s jump in and find out how.

What is IQ?

The term IQ was first coined by Germain psychologist William Stern in 1912. In German, it meant Intelligenzquotient.

IQ, which is short for intelligence quotient in today’s language, is a measure of someone’s reasoning ability.

It is intended to gauge how well someone can apply logic and information to answer questions or make predictions.

IQ tests are able to measure this by testing short and long-term memory.

It can also measure the ability of people to solve puzzles and relay information they’ve just heard and how quickly they are able to do this.

How is IQ Calculated?

Originally, IQ was represented as a ratio of mental age to chronological age x 100.

This means if someone is 10 years old, and has a mental age of 10, their IQ will be 100.

If their mental age is higher (13) than their chronological age (10), their IQ would be 130.

The reverse of this is also true. 

If someone’s mental age is lower than their chronological age, their IQ will be lower than 100.

Nowadays, an IQ test involves comparing the score against other individuals in the same age group.

This method involves the psychometricians using standardization to make it possible to compare and interpret the IQ scores.

This is done by administering the IQ test to a representative sample.

Then they use these scores to build a universal standard by which individual IQ scores can be compared.

As the medium score is 100, it is easy to compare individual test scores against the medium to see where the score falls on the normal distribution chart.

50% of the scores will be both above and below the medium score.

Today, there are many different variations of IQ tests. 

They have their nuances but will all measure mathematical ability, language skills, memory, reasoning skills, and information-processing speed.

The scores on the individual components are then used to form the overall IQ score.

The most common IQ tests today are:

  • The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children
  • The Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children
  • The Differential Ability Scales
  • The Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales
  • The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale for Adults
  • The Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities
  • The Cognitive Assessment System

What Is IQ Range?

You take an IQ test, find out you have a score of 110. Then what?

The IQ range is a way of determining where you are in comparison to other people who have taken an IQ test.

Luckily, Resing and Blok created an IQ scale chart which gives us a very clear view of IQ score ranges and what they mean.

This chart gives you some way to see how you stack up against other people.

The average IQ score will always be 100, and your personal score tells you your IQ ranking compared to that.

As you can see, using the above example of an IQ score 110 you would be considered having average intelligence.

The following graph from Very Well also gives a good representation of where you might be against your peers.

A score of 70 or less indicates the presence of a developmental or learning disability.

Above 130 indicates giftedness.

Somewhere between 70 and 130 is considered ‘normal’.

Can You Increase Your IQ? What The Science Says

There have been several scientific studies that show IQ can improve over time.

More specifically, verbal and non-verbal intelligence can change significantly.

A 2011 study published in the journal Nature followed 33 adolescents over a four year period.

The results from the IQ tests taken during this period changed significantly.

The study showed variations in IQ scores of 20 plus points for both verbal and non-verbal intelligence.

Another scientific piece of research published in 2016 shows that significant improvement in IQ scores (28 points) can be achieved through online skills training.

How To Increase Your IQ?

Now we have provided a bit of background and looked at how an IQ score is measured and confirmed it is possible to increase your IQ, let’s figure out how to increase your IQ.

This part of the post will show you 21 ways it is possible.

1. Improve Relational Skills

Lots of studies from psychologists show that there is a very strong correlation between relational skills and IQ scores.

Some of the most notable are O’Hora, Pelaez & Barnes-Holmes; 2005, O’Toole & Barnes-Holmes; 2009 and Cassidy, Roche & Hayes; 2011.

Relational skills can be taught, and therefore increase our IQ.

Relational skills are just the understanding of a few mathematical relationships between objects or concepts.

2. Language Ability

It is common thinking that if you come from a language-rich environment, you will have a higher intellect.

Research shows that having a good grasp of language helps with many cognitive tasks we encounter in everyday life.

A really simple way to increase your language ability is to read more.

By reading more you will broaden your knowledge of language and increase your vocabulary.

It’s also good practice to make sure you research any words you don’t know the meaning of.

Carry a dictionary or quickly type the word into Google.

Photo by Leonardo Toshiro Okubo on Unsplash

3. Buy The Book: Boost Your IQ

We just said reading is good for boosting your IQ.

Well, how about reading a book called Boost Your IQ. Surely there can’t be many things better than this.

This book was written by lots of Mensa cleverclogs.

If you didn’t know, to get into Mensa you need an IQ score in the top 2%.

These are clever people, so it’s probably wise to read this book if you want to learn how to increase your IQ.

4. Healthy Eating & Exercise

It probably feels like everyone tells us to exercise and eat well.

Well, it’s for good reason. Science supports the advice.

Now, there is specific research that suggests people who have a healthy diet and do regular vigorous exercise have both higher IQ scores and better memory.

Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine have fairly recently released a report confirming that physical activity is good for brain health and cognition. 

There are also numerous studies that show specific foods can have a role in raising our IQ.

Specifically, the science confirms that spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, berries and omega 3 oils improve brain function and memory.

I think it’s fair to say most of us don’t a good associate diet with better health.

It’s time we do if we want a higher IQ.

5. Run Sprints

We just looked at the general benefits of exercise.

However, if you want to turbocharge your increase in IQ, try out some sprints.

A Swedish study has shown that cardiovascular exercise can raise your verbal intelligence by 50%.

That is an extremely positive result from the research.

Photo by Braden Collum on Unsplash

6. Have A Growth Mindset

Using your mindset in the right way can be a great way to improve your IQ.

The power of a growth mindset and how it matters on a physiological level is a fairly recent discovery.

By truly believing you can learn more, you will improve your performance in almost any learning environment.

By persisting when things get difficult will build that inner strength and correct mindset to push you to keep learning.

7. Try The Brain Game Dual n Back

A study released in 2008 shows that playing the game dual n back can improve short term memory and fluid intelligence.

This is important as it was previously thought that fluid intelligence was unchangeable.

The findings have been backed up by other studies with very strong positive results.

Check out this article which explains Dual n Back in more detail.

It is essentially a continuous performance task that measures a part of working memory and working memory capacity.

8. Get Outside Your Comfort Zone

Stability shuts down your brain’s learning ability.

By pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zone it increases our brain’s ability to learn new things outside our current skill set.

It doesn’t necessarily matter what it is you do, just try out some different activities.

This will force your brain to learn in a new way and expand your brain’s neural networks.

9. Learn An Instrument

Learning a new instrument is like giving your brain a full-body workout.

This has been proven in lots of studies using FMRI scans.

It basically means that playing an instrument lights up your whole brain and has lasting positive effects on maths and reasoning skills.

Another study has shown that learning an instrument can raise your IQ score by 7 points.

There is probably a good reason why the rich often send their children off to learn an instrument.

Photo by Dominik Scythe on Unsplash

10. Take Creatine

For those that go to the gym and lift weights, you are probably familiar with creatine.

However, you are probably less familiar with its benefits on the brain.

Research from the University of Sydney revealed that if you take 5g of creatine daily, you are able to increase your IQ by 15 points over a six-week period.

The reason.

It lifts the energy levels available for computation in the brain.

11. Start To Meditate

There are lots of studies out there now that say meditating for just 20 minutes a day can improve your mood and lower your stress level.

However, they also show that meditating improves efficiency when it comes to deep cognitive processing.

This is a fundamental part of fluid intelligence and what helps you to become more creative.

Try 20 minutes of meditating every day for 30 days and see how you feel.

Download our habit tracker to help you stay on track.

12. Enough Sleep Each Night

A study from Loughborough University has revealed that for every hour less than the recommended eight of hours sleep a night we need, it knocks one whole point of your IQ score.

The report also says that regularly getting two hours less sleep a night can result in someone with average IQ to become ‘borderline retarded’.

Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

13. Learn a New Language

Being able to speak another language is not only impressive when you go on holiday, but it can also help to make your brain grow.

This is due to a thickening of your cortical and increase in the volume of your hippocampus from learning something complex.

In simple terms, it means that the language centers in the brain are expanding.

Download the app Duolingo and start learning a language today.

14. Drink Caffeine

Caffeine has been scientifically proven to help improve your cognitive functions.

The studies show that people who get a regular caffeine fix are able to concentrate better, have better memory, and handle stressful situations better.

Try adding a cup of coffee to your daily routine if you don’t already.

15. Play Chess

Chess is a complex game, and generally doing something complex is good for the brain.

Chess can help to improve your problem-solving skills and stimulates both sides of the brain.

This helps to strengthen your corpus callosum.

The corpus callosum connects the two hemispheres of the brain.

A 2013 study found Albert Einstein’s high intelligence may be linked to the fact that his brain hemispheres were extremely well-connected.

Photo by Hassan Pasha on Unsplash

16. Take Deep Breaths

The science states that low oxygen levels in the blood can decrease brain function.

A simple way to remedy this is to take deep breaths.

By breathing deeply through the nose you can immediately improve your brain function.

Deep breaths put more oxygen in your blood, and hence, more in the brain too.

17. Keep a Journal

Writing in a journal has so many benefits.

Catherine M. Cox, studied the habits of around 300 of the world’s geniuses, such as Einstein, Newton and Thomas Jefferson.

The findings revealed that they all keep journals. 

It’s estimated that Eddison wrote 3 million pages over his lifetime.

If journaling is good enough for some of the smartest people ever to live, it’s something everyone should consider doing.

18. Improve Your Memory

Memory activities obviously help your memory but they also have an impact on reasoning and language skills.

Memory games are commonly used in research studies to examine how memory can relate to object knowledge and language.

As reasoning and language are both used as intelligence measures, if you are able to develop your memory, it can improve your intelligence.

Try out some of these activities:

  • Jigsaw puzzle
  • Sudoku
  • Crossword puzzles

19. Executive Control Functions

Executive control is the ability to be able to control complex cognitive activities.

Research shows that executive function is strongly linked to fluid reasoning, an area of human intelligence.

Some activities to train executive control are:

  • Scrabble
  • Brainteasers
  • Pictionary

20. Visuospatial Reasoning Activities

Visuospatial reasoning involves the mental processes related to physical representations.

A study published in Science Direct found that improving visuospatial reasoning led to an increase in IQ scores.

During the study, memory and executive control activities were used to help improve the visuospatial reasoning in the participants.

21. Continued Education

Any form of education is critical to improving human intelligence.

In a big study of over 600,000 participants researchers found that for every additional year of formal education, the participants experienced an IQ score increase of between one to five points.

To Sum Up

Now if someone asks you if you can increase your IQ, your answer is a resounding yes. 

Better still, you will be able to show them many ways in which you can.

I would love to hear if there is anything else you think should be added to the list.

If so, drop them in the comments below.

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Last Updated on August 16, 2020 by TheGrowthReactor

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