How to improve your IQ

The IQ test is controversial because it supposedly measures how intellectually bright you are in comparison with the rest of the population. The first IQ (Intelligence Quotient) test originated in France and was the work of Alfred Binet who sought to find a way to differentiate between normal children and children who were struggling at school. It was later revised by Lewis Terman in the US and the Stanford-Binet IQ test was born.

Many people misunderstand the IQ scoring system which works on the principle that a score of 100 is average. A higher score means you are above average in comparison with the rest of the population and a score of less than 100 indicates that you are lower than average. It is reckoned that about half of the population will score between 90 and 110 on a standard IQ test. As a rough guide, the following scores indicate your score in relation to the rest of the population.

• Over 130 – Extremely bright, only 2% of the population achieve this score
• Between 120 and 130 – Very bright, probably around 7% of the population
• Between 110 and 120 – Bright, 16% of the population
• Between 90 and 110 – Average, makes up about half the population so 50%
• Between 80 and 90 – Low average, 16%
• Between 70 and 80 – Borderline, 7%
• Lower than 70 – Extremely low, about 2%

A word of warning however, IQs may be a measure of something, even if it’s only one’s ability to sit IQ tests, but are they a true reflection of intelligence per se? Probably not! Intelligence depends on many factors such as environment, community, genetics, background etc. It is worth remembering that Einstein himself was not considered “intelligent” by any standard whilst at school.

Even if we cannot accurately measure intelligence with 100% accuracy, we do know that we can improve it and at the same time increase our potential as a human being. Here’s how.

Give your brain the right fuel

Our brains rely on essential fatty acids to function effectively, particularly Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which is found in oily fish and fish oil. If we don’t get enough EPA then we will rely on inferior fuels that will clog up our brain engine and perhaps even cause it to malfunction. Eating a varied and balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables helps too, along with regular exercise to keep our bodies and our brains in good working order.

Indulge in music

Psychologist Frances Rauscher and her colleagues discovered over 10 years ago that listening to Mozart appeared to improve nerve signalling in the brain leading to increased mental ability. Other research has shown that children who received music lessons scored a few points higher on an IQ test than children who didn’t. If nothing else, music can help you to relax and de-stress which in itself can make you feel better and help your brain to work more efficiently.

Exercise your mind

Keeping your brain active on a regular basis will naturally improve your ability to process information. For example, quizzes, puzzles, even bingo can keep your mental faculties tuned up and in good working order. Some studies have shown that mental workouts can increase IQ scores by up to 8%.

Get enough sleep

Regular good quality sleep is essential for effective brain function. No one can operate to the best of their ability if deprived of sleep for any length of time. Sleeping allows your brain to process information, solve problems and tidy up the mess left behind by all those seemingly insignificant and fleeting thoughts that pass through your mind throughout the day. It is said that Dmitri Mendeleev, the Russian chemist, dreamt the answer to the periodic table of elements one night after spending hours trying to work out the problem during the day so make sure you get enough sleep.

Finally - think positive

Your brain will listen to the messages you give it and take action. If you are telling yourself you are incapable, tired, anxious, fearful, you will fail that test or not get that job and so on, your brain will act accordingly and send out all those signals to your body to perpetuate your state of mind. Imagine then what you could do if you told your brain to send out different messages? Thinking positive works, try it.