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Medical Can IQ be increased in an adult?

  1. Jul 23, 2015 #1
    When I was a senior in high school in 1999, I read a book titled A Complete idiot's guide to increasing your IQ. Of course, you can tell just from the title of the book that the author was claiming that one can increase one's IQ. But, more specifically, the author was claiming that an adult can increase an adult's IQ. The author claimed that when an adult thinks, more synaptic connections were made between the person's neurons. These synaptic connections apparently remain after the person stops thinking about whatever complex material the person was thinking about. The author claimed that synaptic connections are what makes a person intelligent. The author implied not just that an adult can score better on IQ tests, but that g ( Charles Spearman's general mental factor) can actually be increased in adults.

    I have also read Charles Murray's and Dick Hernstein's book The Bell Curve. Murray and Hernstein's position is that IQ becomes fixed and stable by the time a person is 18. Murray and Hernstein don't think that IQ can be improved.

    What do psychologists think about this? What is the consensus among psychologists as to the answer to the question : can IQ be increased in adults?

    When a person thinks about something complex, do new synaptic connections form? Do the new connections remain after the person stops thinking about the complex issue?
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  3. Jul 23, 2015 #2


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    I think that the consensus is that IQ tests measure how well you do on IQ tests and nothing else, so of course you can improve your score just as you can improve your SAT score by studying for the test.
  4. Jul 23, 2015 #3
    phinds, that IQ tests measure how well you do on IQ tests and nothing else might be the consensus among the public, but it's definitely not the consensus among psychologists.


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligence:_Knowns_and_Unknowns - Report issued by a task force acting under the auspices of the American Psychological Association verifies that the consensus among psychologists is that IQ tests measure g.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 23, 2015
  5. Jul 23, 2015 #4


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    You do realize that the only IQ tests that count are the ones given by trained psychologists, the online ones are just games. IQ tests were originally developed to test for mental retardation.

    I have been administered IQ tests at my school's request, and I do believe that the more you study things like what you would find on an SAT, the better you will do on certain parts of the tests, also if you do well on tests, you will do better than those that have a fear of tests. I think that learning to do well on the SAT could increase your IQ score, I have no idea by how much.

    You might be interested in reading what different experts have to say on IQ and SAT tests, this also gives background on the tests, how they were made, why they were made and what their purpose was. It's is very interesting and well worth reading.

  6. Jul 23, 2015 #5
    IQ tests are generally quite reliable.

    They trend how children will perform academically in math and language skills.
  7. Jul 23, 2015 #6
    Phinds, here is an exact quote from the APA's task force report to refute your assertion that the consensus among psychologists is that IQ tests measure how well one does on IQ tests and nothing else:
    "The relationship between test scores and school performance

    seems to be ubiquitous. Wherever it has been
    studied, children with high scores on tests of intelligence
    tend to learn more of what is taught in school than their
    lower-scoring peers."

    Evo and phinds, I defy you to present any evidence that shows that this is not the consensus among psychologists.
  8. Jul 23, 2015 #7
    tom aaron, yes, I agree with what you said on your first post on this thread, but what is your opinion about the questions I asked on my first post on this thread?
  9. Jul 23, 2015 #8


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    Why are you asking me? Did you read the information I posted?

    As for what Phinds is saying is that people that don't do well on tests in general will not perform well on an IQ test either. The IQ test *can* be an indicator of how well a child will do in school, but it can also be wrong. Sure a high score should equate to being able to understand better, but that doesn't mean that a child with a lower score can't do just as well, they just may not test well and the test may not be a true indicator of their actual IQ.

    Here is an article about how IQ doesn't always correlate with grades.


    Last edited: Jul 23, 2015
  10. Jul 23, 2015 #9
    For someone regularily posting just to critizie people for posting 'bad sources' and lecturing them about 'that is not how we do things here'. that interview is quite ironic. One of the people answering the question keeps making insinuations/taking veiled pot shots. At who, I can't tell.

    After reading that I can't say I learned anything about IQ tests.

    Also find the arguments that say that IQ tests can't test for intelligence because there's only week correlation between IQ and academic achievements, ironic
  11. Jul 23, 2015 #10


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    Frontline on PBS is a highly valued news source. The credentials of each poster is listed after their interview.

    Oh, FYI, I am a mentor here and it's my job to advise people of the rules.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2015
  12. Jul 23, 2015 #11
    Increased? Certainly in theory. With current technology I don't know. Perhaps marginally.

    There is nothing magical about brain biology. It's all chemistry. In theory that we could experiment with drugs that shut down parts of the brain and hyper sensitize others. New passageways might form...others strengthen. His might lead to higher IQ at the expense of some motor function or social skill.

    This is all one of those subjects that teeters on the edge of political correctness. The same people who claim to embrace science put human intelligence, race, etc. in some box marked 'except for', as if intelligence is some great mystery apart from biology. It's not. Natural selection is just as much a part of intelligence as determining the colour of ones eyes. Two high IQ adults are likely to have a child with high IQ. And the reverse.

    We aren't that far off from gene manipulation in the human embryo to enhance certain attributes. Perhaps in the next couple of decades there will be demand in China or India for services that increase a child's IQ by 10% or whatever. This could lead to an escalation in some intelligence war between countries or races.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2015
  13. Jul 23, 2015 #12


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    I was thinking of just increasing the IQ score, not actually changing a person's brain power/intelligence. I feel the reason I scored so high on IQ is because I self studied so much, and I did well on tests. I was driven to learn everything I could, I was an over achiever and my natural passion for learning was observed by my new teacher, which is why she insisted I be tested when I was 11. She disagreed with the route my other teachers had taken "just take her books away so she can't get ahead of the rest of the class".
  14. Jul 23, 2015 #13
    Fortunately, I never had a teacher discourage learning.

    A higher IQ is not the result of what has been learned. It's more the capacity to learn. Like the size of a hard drive on a computer. It might be full of information or empty.

    A higher IQ might make learning easier and thus a feeling of accomplishment. Being special. What are called overachievers likely get reward and increased self esteem. They like the 'A' or gold star. Not a lot different from a good athlete getting satisfaction from success in sports.
  15. Jul 23, 2015 #14


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    Have you been given an IQ test by a certified psychologist? There are different tests Weschler, Stanford-Binet, Raven Matrices, part of the tests are directly related to learned knowledge.

    IQ tests are not infallible.

    Of course they are, as you said, good indicators of someone getting a high score to be more capable, but that misses the point of when a low score doesn't indicate low capability.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2015
  16. Jul 23, 2015 #15


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    Kind of. An IQ test measures various cognitive abilities. It's true that the better your cognitive abilities, the more capable you are of learning new things, in general, but it is entirely possible to have an good IQ and yet be abysmal at certain things. An IQ test is much better at finding specific deficiencies than at predicting how 'smart' any particular person is.
  17. Jul 23, 2015 #16


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    Agree with Evo and Phinds on this one. IQ tests are meaningless outside of the tests designated role- of identifying learning disabilities. Even then, there are those who debate the validity: http://ldx.sagepub.com/content/22/8/469.short

    There is no difference between a person with an IQ of 100 or one with an IQ of 200, both people are capable and free of learning disability.

    Can you actually define intelligence? Is it a good short term memory? A good long term memory? An ability to readily identify heuristics? The ability to survive in the Amazon in a tribal setting or the ability to programming a computer? Can it be increased through training or hard work? I've never myself seen a satisfactory explanation of what intelligence is. If you can't define it, how are we measuring it?

    If IQ tests measure intelligence, why do socioeconomic and culture values play a role in how one does on the tests?



    My personal opinion on all this? Psychologists who advocate these test for general use are quacks. They have zero predictive power, just like so many of the social sciences that shape policy.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  18. Jul 24, 2015 #17


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    Part of the infamous 11+ exam for 11 year olds in the 1960's was essentially an intelligence test .

    We did many practice papers before the actual exam . The scores returned by the same pupils on different practice papers showed so much variation that they were meaningless .

    A good part of the total exam marks came from the actual test on exam day .
  19. Jul 24, 2015 #18
    IQ tests are bunkum

    I can score exceptionally well in IQ tests; because I am good at IQ tests.

    I tried to learn Japanese, got past GCSE level and stalled. I'm rubbish at languages (even my native tongue). I can't play a musical instrument. I can't climb mountains. I'm very average (for an engineer) at maths.

    A footballer has intelligence. Try to get an AI to play virtual football as well as Lionel Messi plays real football. Messi's brain is doing some amazing things - spatial awareness, predicting the future (trajectory of the ball, movement and thoughts of his opponents), controlling his limbs. Amazing.

    So yeah, peformance in an IQ test can be improved in some people with practice, just like football skills can be improved, or painting, or language, or music, or dexterity or all other things that the human (and animal) mind is involved in. Learning difficulties are when the person has below expected improvement: and depending upon the task, that expectation can be quite arbritary. We set standards on children's learning - should be able to read this book at age 11; do these maths problems at 13 etc. We don't set standards for things like hunting down and killing prey, because that is not what is required in our schools; but would be important if you grew up in the jungle.
  20. Jul 24, 2015 #19

    Intelligence isn't bunk. Its a product of evolution like any other feature. A human is more intelligent than a gorilla and a gorilla is more intelligent than a mouse.

    Intelligence isn't bestowed upon us by a god.

    And no, it is not environmental. It is part of our physical biology. No matter how you teach a squirrel or a chickadee, they are not capable of doing calculus.
  21. Jul 24, 2015 #20


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    What is intelligence?

    By the way, you basically didn't even reply to his post and instead made up this red herring about god and evolution.
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