Belfast Telegraph

Psychologists at an Irish university develop 'IQ booster'

By Katherine Donnelly

Psychologists at an Irish university have come up with a way for everyone to raise their IQ, for €15 a month.

Irish primary pupils who participated in a four-month programme experienced an average increase in intelligence levels of 23 points, confounding the view that an IQ can't improve.

Any IQ increase over 10 points represents a significant boost in intellectual ability.

The new SMART (Strengthening Mental Abilities with Relational Thinking) programme also has a lasting impact and the benefits from a four-month programme were still evident four years later.

Unlike 'brain-training' products, which are geared to enhancing memory, SMART improves the ability to reason logically and think clearly.

It's all thanks to ground-breaking research at NUI Maynooth, led by psychology lecturer Dr Bryan Roche and psychologist Dr Sarah Cassidy.

They have set up a company called Raise Your IQ and translated their research into a series of training programmes packaged into an online game, where users acquire points as they advance through the levels.

It is geared not only to students but anyone interested in improving normal day-to-day decision-making and problem-solving, who has half an hour to spend on the task a few times a week.

According to Dr Roche, SMART training helps to improve skills such as vocabulary, abstract thinking, concentration, memory, judgment, task management, alertness to details, eye-to-hand co-ordination, non-verbal reasoning, planning ability and processing speed for information.

Their most recent trials were conducted with 15 students at Rathmore National School, Athboy, Co Meath, who participated in training exercises two to three times weekly -- a total of about 120 minutes -- over four months.

Among the astonishing findings was an average IQ rise from 97, which is considered average, to 120, classified as superior intellectual functioning.

In two cases, diagnoses of dyslexia were revised following improvements in reading skills. The lowest IQ level rose from 84 before training to 106 following training, while the highest rose from 119 to 140.

Dr Roche explained the concept: "Much of what we need to know in order to solve problems cannot be figured out by the brain on its own and involved skills rather than mere brain mass.

"The skills that make up intelligence -- relational skills -- must be learnt and even a brain that is highly developed has to learn how to solve problems."

He said the programme taught a range of relational skills, which facilitated more intelligent thinking.

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