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Q: Evidence that Intelligence Can Be Increased ( Answered,   2 Comments )
Subject: Evidence that Intelligence Can Be Increased
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: nukdae-ga
List Price: $200.00
Posted: 19 Jul 2004 14:26 PDT
Expires: 18 Aug 2004 14:26 PDT
Question ID: 376332
I'm trying to find research that proves that one can in fact increase
their intelligence (through exercise, activity, drugs, etc ... with
emphasis on activity and exercise [mental and physical]).

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 23 Jul 2004 08:30 PDT

As pinkfreud's comment notes, there is a good deal of information and
research that links increased academic performance to activities like
exercise, etc.

Overall performance on tests, tasks and the like, is related to -- but
different from -- the concept of inherent intelligence.

Can you let us know in a bit more detail just what you mean by
"intelligence" and what sort of information you're looking for?

Would an update of the type of studies that pinkfreud linked to meet your needs?  

Or are you interested ONLY in studies relating activities such as
exercise, to (for example) IQ test scores and other measures of

The better we understand what you're after, the more likely it is we can help.



Clarification of Question by nukdae-ga on 23 Jul 2004 14:46 PDT
Hi Pafalafa,

Superb question.

I haven't lookedat pinkfreud's research yet, so I can not comment on that.

"What is intelligence" is quite a question indeed.  You state that
performance on tests is unrelated "inherent intelligence," but that
also depends on the defintion of "inherent intelligence ..."  If one's
definition is based on the performance on an IQ test, I suppose there
would be a direct correlation, then.

However, I suppose it comes down to for me is success.  Can we show a
correlation between certain mental exercises and job success, wealth,

If we can also show that certain exercises result in higher IQ scores,
that is good as well (because many place quite a bit of stock in that
I have seen).

I hope that clarifies things.  If you have any further questions,
please do not hesitate to ask.  I appreciate you taking the care to
clarify things.



Request for Question Clarification by nancylynn-ga on 25 Jul 2004 16:28 PDT
I've also been looking into your original question. I've found some
resources pertaining to "smart drugs," (Pinkfreud has kindly provided
you with some information on that), nutrition, study techniques,
exercise, etc., that (at least, supposedly) boost intelligence levels.

However, your response to my friend pafalafa's question is a little
confusing. Are you primarily interested in methods to boost, or
maximize, your intelligence (be it measured or inherent intelligence),
or are you primarily interested in learning about strategies for
attaining career and life "success"?

Do you mean you want to learn about understanding yourself -- how to
gain insight into yourself -- in order to pick a career that is
well-suited to you; learn how to make the right choices for yourself
in your personal life?

Your clarification strongly suggests you are mainly interested in the
realm of self-help, self-improvement -- understanding yourself and
making the most of your inherent traits/gifts?

I just want to make sure I'm on the right track before I proceed any further.

Best regards,
Google Answers Researcher

Clarification of Question by nukdae-ga on 27 Jul 2004 14:59 PDT
Hi Nancy,

Great question.

I apologize for making it confusing.

I suppose I should open up two questions here.  Frankly, either or
would satisfy me.  In fact, I'd like information on both.

It boils down to the definition of "intelligence" does it not?  It
depends on the definition to which you adhere.

The original request is for "evidence that intelligence can be
increased" so I suppose I should stay true to that and open up another

So, let's keep a strict definition for this thread: evidence that
intelligence can be *measurably* increased - and how it can be done. 
(You said "be it measured or inherent" but I don't see those as being
mutually exclusive.  If it's inherent it doesn't mean it can't be


If you would like to answer other aspects of this question, I'm happy
to post another one with a separate and clear question.

For example, are there things (exercises, practices, drugs, etc.)
which will lead to greater success in life?

Success in life can be defined as: greater earnings and/or overall happiness.

Happiness I suppose could be measured by one's lack of tendency for
depression, etc.



P.S. If you need further clarification, or if you'd like me to open
another question, I'd be happy to.

Clarification of Question by nukdae-ga on 27 Jul 2004 15:01 PDT
Ah, one more thing ...

By exercise, I'm also referring to "mental exercise."

For example, performing certain types of calculations, solving puzzles, etc ...


Request for Question Clarification by nancylynn-ga on 28 Jul 2004 06:26 PDT

OK, I'll limit this answer to resources that have been shown to
increase intelligence -- methods, drugs, etc., that have been studied
and for which there's some evidence to back up claims.

If you'd like to open another question pertaining to self-help; "learn
about understanding yourself -- how to gain insight into yourself --
in order to pick a career that is well-suited to you; learn how to
make the right choices for yourself in your personal life?"

Then, yes, feel free to open another question. (I can definitely find
more resources on that issue!) If you'd like me to answer it, you can
put "For nancylynn-ga" in the title.


Clarification of Question by nukdae-ga on 28 Jul 2004 14:10 PDT
Hi Nancylynn-ga,

Great!  Let's try to focus on stuff that wasn't covered in the two
posts from pinkfreud-ga.

I look forward to your answer.

I'll also post up another question, but it won't be exactly as you phrased it.



Request for Question Clarification by adiloren-ga on 29 Jul 2004 09:21 PDT
Nancy, are you still going to take this question? If not, I have some
good info on it. Just let me know.


Request for Question Clarification by nancylynn-ga on 29 Jul 2004 11:35 PDT
Sorry for the delay in responding; I've had an unusually hectic week, I'm afraid.

Yes, that will be fine if you post another question separately.
Meanwhile, I'll get to work on this one! I probably won't post an
answer until next week, as I may well need to contact some experts on
this matter.


Clarification of Question by nukdae-ga on 29 Jul 2004 13:47 PDT
Hi Anthony,

Once Nancy answers this, if you have additional info please let me
know and I'll post up another question on your specifications.  Can
you write the question as you'd like to answer it?


Subject: Re: Evidence that Intelligence Can Be Increased
Answered By: nancylynn-ga on 02 Aug 2004 09:06 PDT
Initially, I stumbled onto various concoctions that promised to boost
intelligence. Fortunately, I was soon able to find reputable research
and ideas -- connected to your primary interest in mental exercises --
and I've come up with some findings and suggestions I think you can
put to good use!


Your hunch about "mental" exercise was correct. Brain "workouts"
enhance cognitive abilities, much like strengthening and flexing
muscles improves physical endurance and performance.

"Get smart: use your mind or lose it - wellness: supplements and
functional foods; improves concentration and
mental-processing speed," by Joe Lewandowski, published in the Jan.
2004 issue of Better

" . . . Karlene Ball, a psychology professor at the University of
Alabama at Birmingham, worked as a lead researcher in a major
federally funded study of people aged 64-96. The study proved beyond a
doubt that the cognitive functions of the elderly can be enhanced
through demanding activities that forced them to reason and react
quickly. . . ."

The article recommends a site called

". . focuses on improving concentration and
mental-processing speed, explains Bruce Friedman, a Los Angeles
businessman who owns the site. . . .'What we're enabling you to do is
process and retrieve information ... in a much more efficient manner.
This is not entertainment. These exercises have been developed to
improve your cognitive
processes.' "

You can check out at:
which bills itself as "the world's first virtual mental gymnasium!"
This is a subscription-based service with a variety of membership
packages, including one month for $7.95  and one year for $39.95.

From the Franklin Institute (science museum) in Philadelphia:
See "The Human Brain" page:
" Your brain is a thinking organ that learns and grows by interacting
with the world through perception and action. Mental stimulation
improves brain function and actually protects against cognitive
decline, as does physical exercise.

Scroll down to the sub-header "NeurobicsT":

Designed by Dr. Lawrence C. Katz, professor of neurobiology at Duke
University Medical Center, "NeurobicsT is a unique system of brain
exercises using your five physical senses and your emotional sense in
unexpected ways that encourage you to shake up your everyday routines.
They are designed to help your brain manufacture its own nutrients
that strengthen, preserve, and grow brain."

"Neurobic Exercises" include:

"Get dressed with your eyes closed
Wash your hair with your eyes closed
Share a meal and use only visual cues to communicate. No talking.
Combine two senses:
Listen to music and smell flowers
Listen to the rain and tap your fingers
Watch clouds and play with modeling clay at the same time
Break routines:
Go to work on a new route
Eat with your opposite hand
Shop at new grocery store"

These brain exercises are also noted in the July 20, 2004 issue of Forbes:

Back at:
you'll also see several abstracts on how travel, reading, and playing
games like bingo, can increase brain power.

"Travel is another good way to stimulate your brain. It worked for our
ancestors, the early Homo sapiens. Their nomadic lifestyle provided a
tremendous stimulation for their brains that led to the development of
superior tools and survival skills."

" 'Read, read, read," says Dr. Amir Soas of Case Western Reserve
University Medical School in Cleveland. Do crossword puzzles. Play
Scrabble. Start a new hobby or learn to speak a foreign language."

"A cognitive psychologist in England found that when elderly people
regularly played bingo, it helped minimize their memory loss and
bolster their hand-eye coordination. Bingo seemed to help players of
all ages remain mentally sharp."

Additional brain exercises, compiled by Rhonda Cloos for the e-zine

Tips include:

"Next time you balance your check book, do it in your head or on
paper. Add those numbers, compare balances, until the totals are
correct (or as close as you'll accept). You may actually feel the
numbers whizzing through your mind as you calculate."

"Do crosswords and word jumbles daily. . . . Play board games,
charades, and word games. Any games that force you to use math and
language skills are tapping into those areas of your brain that may
need some stirring."

"Take up a hobby that forces you to think outside the box. Some
examples include learning a foreign language which is very different
from English, such as Russian. Or learn how to read music."

You might want to check out the book "The Einstein Factor : A Proven
New Method for Increasing Your Intelligence," by Dr. Wim Wenger and
Richard Poe. (Published by Prima Lifestyles; October 18, 1995.) The
book promises to:

"Improve your memory
·Read faster and learn more quickly
·Solve problems like a genius
·Score higher on tests
·Build self-esteem
·Induce a state of total creative absorption
·Access powerful subconscious insights through visualization
·Increase your intelligence"

According to, the co-author Wim Wenders, Ph.D., "conducts
seminars and courses at major universities and corporations." (I wasn't able
to find much additional information on him.)

You can read about the book here:
And note the rave review there from  "Duncan Maxwell Anderson, senior
editor, Success" magazine.

Wenger pioneered  the "Image Streaming technique," which you can read here

You can also read some feedback on Image Streaming technique and Einstein
Factor here:

Read more about Wenger's theories at Genius By Design:

All I can tell you about Wenger is that he is a Ph.D -- I didn't find
any studies that back his theses, but many people have had success
with them, so you may want to check it out.


The site
features a plethora of studies regarding the correlations between music and
mental acuity.

Some of the research archived there includes abstracts from the study "Active
Music Making Expands the Brain," published in Nature magazine, April 23,

"Researchers at the University of Munster in Germany reported their
discovery music lessons in childhood actually enlarge the brain. An
area used to analyze the pitch of a musical note is enlarged 25% in
musicians, compared to people who have never played an instrument.  .
. . The researchers said that skilled musicians use more neurons for
processing sounds from a piano or better synchronize those sounds
because of their training."

You might be interested in these books, "Essential Musical
Intelligence: Using Music As Your Path to Healing, Creativity, and
Radiant Wholeness," by Louise Montello. (Published: Quest Books (IL);
April 1, 2002.)

"The Mozart Effect : Tapping the Power of Music to Heal the Body,
Strengthen the Mind, and Unlock the Creative Spirit," by Don Campbell.
(Publisher: Perennial Currents; September 18, 2001.) This is the
controversial theory that listening to classical music heightens
intelligence: "Supported by much anecdotal evidence, he proposes that
Classical music with a big "C" (the music of Mozart's period) can
reach out to those who are mentally isolated from their fellows, like
the autistic, and can help infants react and think better. (Will
prenatal music classes be the next big trend for yuppie babies?) In
addition, the music of Mozart contributes to the improved functioning
of the higher cerebellar functions, including the ability to deal with
logical and mathematical concepts, while contemporary rock actually
decreases mental acuity."

See the homepage for Mozart Effect:

The Mozart Effect theory has come under fire:

" The claims that Campbell makes for music are of an almost rococo
flamboyance. And like the rococo, just about as substantive. [Campbell
claims music can cure just about anything that ails you.] His evidence
is usually anecdotal, and even this he misinterprets. Some things he
gets completely wrong. . . . " From "The Skeptic" by  Robert Todd

But the April 2004 edition of contends "New research
has revealed a   revealed a molecular basis for the "Mozart effect" -
the observation that a brief stint of Mozart, but not other music, may
improve learning and memory. . . ."


"Essential fatty acids improve babies' IQs":

"Boost your brain power: herbs to improve your memory and mental acuity -
The Herbalist," from Vegetarian Times,  March, 1996, written by  Kathi

" . . .The ability of herbs to improve mental capacity isn't just folk
wisdom; modern clinical studies have found that the 'four Gs'--gingko, Panax
ginseng (which includes Korean, Chinese and American ginsengs), Siberian
ginseng and gotu kola--can indeed enhance concentration, aptitude, alertness
and even intelligence. Scientists haven't discovered all the ways herbs
increase brain power, but we do know that ginkgo, Panax ginseng and Siberian
ginseng increase the activity of some of the brain's neurotransmitters,
chemicals that transmit messages from one nerve cell to another. Some
herbs--such as rosemary--work their magic through their fragrance alone . .
. ."

"How to eat smart," by Randy Blaun and Andreas Wiesenack, from the May 01
'96 issue of Psychology Today:
Archived at Keep Media:
(You can sign in for a free trial in order to read the whole article; or dig
up this issue at your local library.)

"Nutritional neuroscience, as it's called, is barely in its infancy. But
it's already turning up some very heady findings. Among them:

"Mood and mental performance are powerfully influenced by the B vitamins.
Unfortunately, marginal deficiency in many B vitamins is widespread in North
America." [You can find "Complete B" vitamins at any drug, grocery, or
health store.]

"A diet high in saturated fat not only can make you depressed and downright
anti-social, it can also impair general mental performance. So will a diet
high in total fat and one that is deficient in essential fatty acids (EFAs).
. . . . All brain cell membranes continuously need to refresh themselves
with a new supply of fatty acids. Preliminary research suggests that EFAs,
particularly n-3s--are best suited for optimal brain function. "

See a list of foods high in EFA's at Vanderbilt University's WellSource:

Scroll about halfway down the page to :
Foods containing high concentrations of EFAs (which are also
recommended for heart health: "Oils such as flaxseed, canola, soy,
walnut, and cod liver oil, Soybeans, Seeds such as flaxseed and
pumpkin, Walnuts, Dark green leafy vegetables, Raw nuts and seeds,
Legumes, eggs high in omega-3 (produced by chickens fed a high
flaxseed diet)."

Foods highest in EFA n-3: are "found primarily in
cold-water fish such as salmon and sardines." 

Also See Smart Publications' "Protect Your Heart and Brain":

Good General Resource:

The following site is a great round-up of ideas and suggestions:
Intelligence Amplification:

Search Strings:

increasing intelligence
increasing IQ intelligence
improving mental acuity
brain exercises
foods AND boost OR increase AND  acuity OR intelligence

I hope my research is of help to you. Please post a "Request For
Clarification," if you have any questions, or need help navigating any
of the above links.

Google Answers Researcher

Clarification of Answer by nancylynn-ga on 02 Aug 2004 14:48 PDT
Hello again Nukdae:

Gee, I guess I need to increase MY intelligence. I forgot that you'd
originally also asked for information on a link between physical
activity and increased mental acuity.

From the July 22, 2002 edition of the New York Daily News:

"The Brain Workout," by Judi Sheppard Missett:

" . . .Mentally and emotionally, exercise is a natural stress reducer,
self-esteem-booster and anti-depressant. But here's a benefit that is
often overlooked: Exercise stimulates mental acuity, as well. The
biological changes prompted by exercise improve our 'capacity to
master new, and remember old, information,' says Dr. John J. Ratey,
Harvard University professor of clinical psychiatry and author of 'A
User's Guide to the Brain.' Ratey explains that 'physical movements
call upon many of the same neurons used for reading, writing and math'
and that 'physically active people reported an increase in academic
abilities, memory retrieval and cognitive abilities.' "

You can learn more about Ratey's book (Btw, I'm a fan of some of Dr.
Ratey's previous books) at
(Publisher: Vintage Books, USA; January 8, 2002). 

Also see:

July 23, 2002 article at

"Train Your Brain With Exercise: Not only is exercise smart for your
heart and weight, but it can make you smarter and better at what you
do," by  Star Lawrence.{5FE84E90-BC77-4056-A91C-9531713CA348}

"Christin Anderson, MS, wellness and fitness coordinator of the
University of San Francisco, explains that exercise affects many sites
within the nervous system and sets off pleasure chemicals such as
serotonin and dopamine that make us feel calm, happy, and euphoric.
"In other words, if you don't want to wait for those good feelings to
come by accident (if they do), you can bring them on by exercising.
" 'When one exercises," Anderson says, 'you can think more clearly,
perform better, and your morale is better. This is pure science --
stimulate your nervous system and function at a higher level.' "
On page 2 see the sub-header " If You Want to Try Exercise as a Brain Trainer."  
"Ratey recommends 8 to 12 minutes a day of sweating and breathing-hard
exercise (60% of maximum heart rate) for brain training.
"Anderson says a minimum would be 30 minutes of moderate exercise,
walking, hiking, or swimming, three times a week. Half an hour to an
hour, four to five times a week would be even better."

January 30 (appears to be 2004) ABC News online article, "Jogging the
Mind: New Evidence Proves Exercise Keeps the Mind Sharp, by Lee Dye:

"New research shows that physical fitness can actually affect the
structure of the human brain . . . for the first time scientists have
literally looked inside the human brain . . . ."

"The researchers used high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging to
study the brains of 55 volunteers between the ages of 56 and 79. They
found that those who were physically fit had lost far less of their
brain's gray and white matter than those who got very little

I hope this additional information is of help!

Subject: Re: Evidence that Intelligence Can Be Increased
From: pinkfreud-ga on 19 Jul 2004 14:40 PDT
You might find some of the material in this answer to be of interest:
Subject: Re: Evidence that Intelligence Can Be Increased
From: pinkfreud-ga on 25 Jul 2004 14:11 PDT
This answer may also be of interest to you:

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