Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Improving Intelligence

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

Hi everyone,

Can I increase my IQ? I just Googled "increase IQ." and the first result told me I couldn't increase my IQ, while the second result gave me several ways I could. I don't really know for sure, but it seems to me that I should be able to get smarter. I CAN learn after all.

So, is IQ a static thing, or is it something I can increase? I'd love to become smarter, not just do better on IQ tests. It's not like I'm a complete idiot--I'm already pretty smart, but I don't quite get up to MENSA levels on my IQ tests. Any recommendations or ideas on how to improve IQ? Is it possible or not? If I CAN increase my IQ, where do I go to do so?

I'm sure I'm not the only one wondering about this. Let's get a real discussion going. Any ideas for mental improvement?

Thanks! B)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think there are books that are supposed to teach you how to take the test, and I think there are some general mental exercises you might be able to do like logic puzzles and geometry puzzles (e.g. Live Wire, Rubik's cubes, etc.). But I have also heard from an IQ administrator that your IQ cannot fluctuate more than a few points after about the age of 16.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From my limited experience, I think one can increase various mental capabilities through training and practice: memory, number skills, pattern-recognition, argument-formulation, and so on. Not sure what the upper limit would be, but it probably varies from person to person.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I find it extremely hard to beleive that IQ (not intelligence, which is different) cant increase. For instance, someone with a strong math background would almost certainly find the 'logic' based questions easier than someone without. Similarly, spatial intelligence can probably also be increased - when I first started playing Go (a board game), I found it very hard to visualise more than 2-3 moves ahead, but now that I've had a lot of practice, I can see quite a bit beyond this. Professional players can easily visualise 50-100 moves into the future (I would assume chess grandmasters are similar). This seems to suggest that IQ test-related things like rotating 3D objects can be improved with practice. It would be interesting to know if strong players of chess/go/other-games-requiring-mental-visualisation scored higher in spatial intelligence tests that the average person.

I'd be interested in viewing any research which claimed to demonstrate that IQ scores were static, because the idea just strikes me as absurd.

~

On a sidenote, WHY would you want to increase your IQ? Wouldnt it be better to focus on improving your mental capacity in areas which have tangible benefits, such as becoming a better critical thinker, or a better learner, or a better abstract reasoner, rather than focusing on improving your skill at solving toy puzzles with little real world relevance?

Edited by Hal
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Any ideas for mental improvement?

There's a book called "The Einstein Factor" by Win Wenger. It's about a method he has developed which is called Image Streaming which basically consist of closing your eyes and describing (speaking it out loud) what you see (in your mind's eye). This, according to Wenger, makes you more aware of things going on in your head which you are usually unconcious of (subconcious). He even has a study made by a professor of physics with his students, which showed that those who did 15 minutes of Image Streaming a day raised their IQ measurably.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Isn't IQ simply the measure of the capacity for a mind to learn? I have seen several things that are geared towards teaching people how to get better IQ testing scores, but most are related to showing how to answer what common IQ testing questions are. Isn't this simply an increase in knowledge instead of an increase in the capacity to learn?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good points, guys. I think we're all interested in becoming a little more intelligent.

Like I said in my earlier post, I'd really like to improve my mental abilities and actually become smarter. Kind of like you were saying about the game--you get to see a few moves ahead in your mind.

I don't care so much about the IQ tests themselves as much as what they measure: the ability and capacity to learn. You know what I mean--actual intelligence, however it is that that's defined. I think there's got to be some scientific way to develop intellectual skills, not just do better on IQ tests.

How do I develop thos critical thinking and analytical skills you're talking about? I think that's the heart of the matter. If I develop those skills, will that make me more intelligent, or do we get back to the "IQ is static" statement a lot of people seem to believe in.

Personally, I believe humans have such trememndous capacity for growth physically, spiritually, socially, and emotionally--why not intellcetually as well? Any other ideas to help develop these critical thinking skills and actually BECOME smarter, not just do better on tests?

Anyone else think the same way I do? Disagree? I'd like to know what the world at large thinks about the subject, plus I'd love some ideas on how to actually become smarter. I think it would improve everyone's life if we were all able to learn better and become smarter quicker.

Thanks for your suggestions and input! :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually this image streaming is supposed to raise actual intelligence. A raised IQ is just a nice side-effect.

Felix,

How exactly does "image streaming" help me develop intelligence? I think that may be something to help me long term. I want to increase my IQ, but in my mind that's just a side effect of the ultimate goal--increased intellectual ability. Where can I learn more about that? Do you know any good books or websites?

Anyone else have other ideas for how to actually become more intelligent? I don't want to just do better on tests. I want to truly develop my mental abilities. There's got to be something or a few things our there that will actually work.

Thanks! :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Crazycat,

First off, I should say that I don't think much of IQ tests in general, especially as a measure of intelligence. It is far to broad of a concept to be encapsulated by a relatively short test. Viewing the IQ test a a valid measure of inteligence would be like assuming that the meyers-briggs personality test told you everything important about a persons personality. I think the IQ test primarily measures your ability to recognize patterns. In a loose way, you could tie pattern recognition to the ability to integrate concepts, which is probably closer to a general definition of "intelligence", but I am not convinced that it does it the best way possible or even that it even does it well.

I think for us to find an accurate answer regarding how best to improve our intelligence, you might need to define the term-decide exactly what you mean by it. Webster says,

"1 a (1) : the ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations : REASON; also : the skilled use of reason (2) : the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one's environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria (as tests)"

Not sure that I like the definition, but it's a place to start. The first part-being able to deal with adversity- is probably tied to integration. A similiar circumstance occurs to something you had experienced before and if intelligent, you would be able to see the similarities and avoid the similiar problem. I'm thinking here of someone who involves themselves in bad relationships consistently and doesn't see the similiarities between the new person and the old until its too late.

The second part, skilled use of reason bothers me a little. Seems like they mean the Mr. Spock kind of logic/reason. While deductive logic has it's uses, mostly when arguing with or explaining things to others, induction is far more useful, and to me, more indicative of an intellectual. Induction is essentially the process of seeing few examples and extracting general principles from them. Ayn Rand was very good at this.

The 3rd part, the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate your environment seems to stem from a recognition of cause and effect. Knowledge is hiarchical, so the ability to manipulate your environment with knowledge is based on an understanding of knowledge as a relational subject. To be able to navigate up and down, and sideways through concepts from the very abstract to their concrete components is necessary. In ITOE ayn rand uses the furniture example to explain concept formation. "this chair im sitting on" is in the genus chairs, "chairs" are in the genus furniture, "furniture" is in the genus man-made objects, and so forth. So when confronted with a new object you haven't seen, you observe that it is man-made and used by people in their houses for setting things upon, and realize right away that it must be some type of furniture. Further observation would allow you to narrow it down further. I actually experienced this when I was fairly young and saw an "ergonomically correct" chair for the first time. It took me a moment to realize that it was for sitting on.

The last part of the definition, to think abstractly as measured by tests, seems to be referring, almost directly, to IQ tests and does us almost no good.

I'm not certain of this by any stretch of the imagination, but my hunch is that intelligence can be improved in all of it's different respects, but each talent would have to be worked on individually. I don't think there is any one activity that will make you smarter. As someone mentioned above, if you want improved memory, play memory games. If you want to improve your ability to stay focused, practice it by trying to stay focused on whatever you're working on for increasing amounts of time. To improve your linguistic talents, read a lot, to develop better visual/spacial understanding, use a rubicks cube,etc.

Additionally, I would point out that there is a lot of evidence to support general physical health as an improver of intelligence. So good cardio, diet, and good sleep patterns may be of help in a general way. Increasing oxygen to your brain causing it to be more efficient or whatever.

I don't believe in quick fixes in general and the question, "how do i get smarter?" sounds vaguely similiar to "how do I get rich?" which usually means, "How do I get rich without much effort or time?" My personal experience confirms the gale wynand notion that you become what you pretend to be, which is another way of saying practice it. He wanted to be wealthy and noticed that rich people always had books and read, so that's what he did. So applied to intelligence, do what you think smart people do and you'll probably move in that direction. In concrete terms, toss the tv and read more books. Engage yourself in games or activities which require your brain to be active rather then passive. Study things in depth-by which I mean to say, integrate everything you learn with your existing knowledge. When you learn a new fact or concept, don't just accept the fact, define it by it's genus and differentia, and try to form as many connections as possible to other aspects of reality that you are already familiar with. Speak to other people, learn from them-even dumb ones. Try to ask more questions then you give answers to. That sort if thing.

Regarding critical thinking skills I highly recommend a book entitled "how to think about weird things:critical thinking for a new age". Very helpful in that regard.

Best Regards,

Gordon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Aequalsa, thank you for your informative post. I think you're really on the right track when it comes to this topic. You've come up with some great suggestions, truly. I'll have to pick up that book on critical thinking.

I think a few concrete things will really help us to become smarter. Certainly, it couldn't hurt to turn off the TV a little more and actually engage ourselves in the process of learning. I agree that learning and intelligence are very hard to define and measure.

I found an interesting web page recently that hits on most of the subjects you addressed in your last post, including subjects like induction and memory capacity. The <link removed> is a non-profit organization that devotes itself to intellectual development. In fact, I found it funny that their <link removed> web page explains basically everything you just did. I think their research is probably aiming in the right direction, though I don't quite understand how they will come up with a concrete measure of learning progress. Imagine the usefulness of such a measure, if it could be implemented! Their work is certainly better than

the current IQ tests out there, though. At least the organization appears credible.

So, where do we go from here? I'd love to learn more about the connection between nutrition, exercise, and intellectual development. That'd be some fascinating research, if we could find it. Anybody have some juicy ideas?

Thanks! B)

Edited by softwareNerd
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, where do we go from here? I'd love to learn more about the connection between nutrition, exercise, and intellectual development. That'd be some fascinating research, if we could find it. Anybody have some juicy ideas?

Thanks! B)

You're welcome. Here is an article I read recently that deals with that. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/...60522150621.htm If I stumble across anything else I'll post it.

Thanks for the website, by the way. It does look like those fellows are on the right track. I am curious to see where they go with it. Some of the puzzles they plan seem well thought out in terms of being tightly concretized brain functions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Felix,

How exactly does "image streaming" help me develop intelligence? I think that may be something to help me long term. I want to increase my IQ, but in my mind that's just a side effect of the ultimate goal--increased intellectual ability. Where can I learn more about that? Do you know any good books or websites?

Image Streaming aims at improving your awareness of what's going on in your brain subconciously. This will increase creativity and thereby also intelligence/intellectual ability in general. You'd still have to learn what to do with it, though. That is: logical reasoning. Image Streaming only builds one of the legs your intellectual capacity is standing on, so to speak. It provides you with raw material. You still need logic to integrate your new findings.

Here's Win Wenger's homepage.

I would also recommend "The Einstein Factor", Wenger's book.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi everyone,

Can I increase my IQ?

Thanks! :o

Sure, CrazyCat--just let Ignatz throw a brick at your head. That should do the trick! :lol:

I believe the IQ test is intended to be a measurement for the capacity to learn things. So that's why it's (usually) relatively stable throughout a person's life-- short of a brain injury; acquisition, medical treatment, or outgrowing of a neurological disorder; or becoming the subject of a Flowers for Algernon type of experiment.

Edited by Bold Standard
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...