March 8, 2011

Five principles for increasing cognitive ability

My view on intelligence and on talent in general has shifted a lot over the years. Maybe the first time I wrote about that was in my 2004 article The True Nature of Inteligence. It argued that while intelligence is generally viewed as intrapersonal, one-dimensional and unchangeable it could also be seen as interpersonal, multidimensional and developable. Many posts on this blog have referred to the developable aspect of intelligence. Have you seen my 2006 interview with Carol Dweck and my recent posts about talent (here and here)? While many people have started to think differently about intelligence I often still hear skeptical voices. For instance, many psychologists still (seem to) think that crystallized intelligence can be developed but fluid intelligence can't be (here is an explanation of those terms). But a study by Jaeggi, Buschkuehl, Jonides, and Perrig (2008) shows this is not true. Fluid intelligence is trainable too for anyone and the more you train, the more you gain. A new article in Scientific American by Andrea Kuszewski describes this study in some detail and she offers five principles for increasing cognitive ability:
  1. Seek Novelty
  2. Challenge Yourself
  3. Think Creatively
  4. Do Things The Hard Way
  5. Network


    1. Great article Coert. Thanks for posting this. I especially like the fact that the author shows how to change our lives in ways that lead to cognitive improvements instead of abstract exercises. Plus living in this way would lead to a more meaningful life. :)

    2. Thanks for the citation, it's a very useful finding that working memory can be improved in a way that contributes to fluid intelligence.


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