Parents and teachers ask our psychologists is brain training suitable for children and students to help improve their IQ or to assist them in their education. The idea that our Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is an inherited trait that is fixed for life is a mistaken one.
In the context of mainstream education, a recent study conducted in Norway by Christian N. Brinch and Taryn Ann Galloway involved examining the effects of an increase in the duration of compulsory schooling in Norway in the 1960s. This change lengthened the minimum time in education for all Norwegians from 7 to 9 years. The researchers used the records of cognitive ability taken by the military for all eligible males at age 19 to calculate the IQ of each individual in the study. This allowed them to show that IQ had risen by 0.6 of a point on average for all Norwegian males over the period of study, but had risen by 3.7 points for every extra year of education received.
In my own research, we have been trying to identify those building blocks that underlie all of those skills that are measured on IQ tests. This includes abstract logical reasoning, verbal and mathematical ability. Our research, in the field of Relational Frame Theory, has shown that understanding relations, such as more than, less than, opposite, same, before, after, here-there, amongst others, is crucial for our intellectual development in just about every sphere. One recent pilot study we published (Cassidy, Roche & Hayes, 2011, The Psychological Record) showed that we can raise IQ scores considerably, by training children in relational skills tasks over a period of months. One participant subset consisted of eight educationally challenged children with an average IQ of 82 (measured using the WISC IV), which was well below the average score of around 100. Following the intervention, these IQs were moved to an average of 96 points, well within the average IQ range.
The RaiseYourIQ intellectual skills intervention is called SMART training (Strengthening Mental Abilities with Relational Training). We do not teach children and students anything that they can use in their examinations (e.g., how to multiply, the capital of Canada). Instead a RaiseYourIQ course will teach the foundational reasoning skills crucial to vocabulary acquisition and mathematical reasoning. In effect, we are giving brain training for kids, students and adults the tools to learn more effectively. Moreover our training re-mediates deficits in these skills bases that cannot be taught at school efficiently without extensive one-to-one assistance, plus SMART can even help children to catch up to and even surpass the population average in intellectual ability. The SMART brain training course can act as a springboard from which future learning occurs across all age groups.