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Understanding IQ

Understanding IQ

A lot has changed regarding IQ since the term was first coined by German psychologist William Stern. There’s the Flynn effect: The fact that average scores for many groups have been rising by about three points per decade since the early 20th century. There’s the testing itself, which has changed countless times since the original concept of measuring intelligence was introduced. And finally, there’s the relatively new discovery of neuroplasticity – the idea that IQ can increase because the brain is capable of changing at any age.


Today’s concept of IQ is simply a measurement of cognitive skills. These include things like visual processing, logic & reasoning, auditory processing, memory, attention, and processing speed. Unlike subject matter exams, which test your knowledge of specific content, such as history facts and math formulas, IQ tests measure the strength of the brain skills needed to learn, process, apply, and remember those facts and formulas.


There are a variety of modern-day tests used to measure IQ. Some of the more common tests include the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Test, the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (and the Weschler Adult Intelligence Scale), and the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Cognitive Abilities.


Although you’ll always find arguments against even the most commonly accepted ways to increase IQ, a few seem to keep the experts in agreement.

There are have been countless studies on the correlation between young children receiving voice or music lessons (e.g., piano) and increased IQ. One 2004 study published in “Psychological Science” found that six-year-olds who received musical training had an average increase of 7 IQ points.

Physical health has been linked to IQ in numerous ways. A woman’s health during pregnancy has been proven to affect the baby’s brain development and IQ. Insufficient vitamins and minerals, exposure to toxins, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and stroke all have correlations to decreased cognitive skills, making exercise, good nutrition, and controlling insulin, cholesterol, and blood pressure vital.

Personal brain training (as opposed to tutoring) has created significant gains in the cognitive skills which make up intelligence. LearningRx cognitive skills training, for example, raised IQ by an average of 14 points for 18,000 students between 2008 and 2015. How? The one-on-one nonacademic training uses customized procedures that may strengthen the brain’s core mental abilities. And because each session can be adjusted to the participant’s needs and progress, personal brain training may produce big improvements quickly.

To learn more about 1-on-1 brain training, visit