Monday 3 March 2014

Become an instant expert on intelligence


Readers will know that I sometimes toy with the idea of writing a “Boost your IQ” book, which will also have an associated training course, expensive test materials, and very possibly lengthy seminars in international beach resorts. Trouble is, one would have to write the damn thing.

Then, whilst going through Linda Gottfredson’s website on another matter, I remembered she had written a very good “Instant Expert” piece in 2011 for the New Scientist, which covers all the main findings: the different types of intelligence; what intelligence tests measure; what is intelligence; quantifying intelligence; age effects; brain localisation; what makes someone smart; nature and nurture; realising your assets; simplifying your world; boosting brainpower (YES); cognitive enhancement; and are we getting smarter.

This publication is guaranteed to boost your intelligence, so long as you accept that increasing your knowledge might count as boosting your crystallized intelligence. What is more, it is freely available on her website. I understand that, on the basis of effort justification, you would like to pay a large sum of money and do N-back training for 20 hours, but why not take the intelligent short cut, and spend 20 minutes reading it, and then send it to a colleague who claims not to understand the concept?


  1. OTOH, we have things to LOWER one's intelligence (environmental/cortical insult via drug use, head injury, poor sleep, etc.) the good news is: as genetic as intelligence is - one can safely play video games all day long, watch tv, movies, etc. with no fear of lowering IQ :) But, it's likely those at the high end of the gene pool would get bored with an overdose of those activities. or would they? perhaps those things remove some smart competition from participation in science, etc.

  2. Blogging..... what does that do to intelligence, and productivity? Sorry, can't talk.

  3. Well-Meaning Amateur7 March 2014 at 17:52

    Thanks for drawing attention to this piece. I always enjoy reading Prof. Gottfredson. However, I do question her assertion that Adderall and similar drugs "do not increase intelligence, they only enhance certain aspects of cognition such as memory or alertness." If they increase your processing speed, don't they increase your intelligence (albeit temporarily)?

  4. A temporary increase in alertness can also be obtained by a 40 minute nap. Intelligence needs to last longer than temporarily, so I don't think that brief busts of concentration are the same as the sustained power of problem solving. However, if the effect lasted longer..... and boosted scores in high g tasks, then the picture would look very different.

  5. Linda Gottfredson is so dumb I couldn't finish one paragraph.

    btw, herr professor doktor steve hsu will find nothing. i knew that going in. but it's a free complete genome.

    ROT ON!