Working Memory - The Key to Intelligence

Source: Nature Neuroscience, volume 7

Your IQ was once thought to be purely determined by genetics, and that your score was fixed. However research is finally starting to show that this just isn’t true.

Recent research has shown that the basis of intelligence may be a brain function called working memory. If you improve your working memory, then, you will presumably increase your intelligence, and measurements of it, such as IQ.
Working memory is like the working space of the brain, the place where tools and materials are gathered to make things. To put it simply, the more you can hold, the more you can think.

At the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, a team led by Torkel Klingberg found evidence that neural systems underlying working memory grow in response to training. Training consisted of tasks like memorizing the position of dots on a grid. After five weeks of such training, brain activity increased in the ares of the brain associated with this type of memory.

When the group had children do these types of mental exercises, they found cognitive improvements not related to the training. They also recorded an average increase of 8% in IQ test scores of the participants. Klingberg thinks that training of your working memory may be the key to increasing your brainpower.

 

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