IQ – short for Intelligence Quotient – is a way of measuring a person’s intelligence, and an IQ test can help to work out exactly what a person’s intelligence is, using a number of mental exercises to measure their mental agility. It’s easy to think of your intelligence as a fixed number once you reach a certain age, but there’s actually plenty of activities that are proven to significantly improve your IQ. From learning languages to meditation, here’s what to try to get those numbers up.
A study by the University of Zurich, indicated that learning a musical instrument can raise IQ in humans of all ages, by significant levels – the average Brit has an IQ between 90 and 110, but just playing something like the guitar can raise your IQ by around seven points, or even more. But just because your smarter, that’s no excuse to start strumming Wonderwall at house parties. Ever.
We all know the benefits meditation has on improving your mood and lowering your stress levels, but it might surprise you to learn that taking time out of your day – as little as 20 minutes – will also boost a range of cognitive abilities, such as mental clarity, stability, and creativity, as well as improving the amount of time someone can hold their focus. So swap out the 20 minutes looking at your phone before bed with a spot of meditation and you’ll feel calmer whilst also getting smarter. Give HeadSpace a go to get you started.
Learn A Language
Great news for those who find themselves picking up languages easily: neuroscientific research suggests that learning new languages makes your brain grow. The reason for this is because you’re having to learn a completely new set of rules that are intrinsically complex – you’re having to relearn things like grammar that is different to your native language. This increases the volume of your ‘hippocampus’, the part of your brain that is important in forming memories. This expansion means the language centres also grow, which will help with other functions involved in languages, like reading and problem-solving.
As if we needed any more reasons to exercise regularly: turns out, working out plays a significant role in raising your IQ. A 2009 Swedish study showed aerobic exercise can improve your verbal intelligence by 50%, and was associated with better cognitive scores. Meanwhile, muscle building was also associated with intelligence, but the connection was far weaker. So if you want to be smarter, go for a jog.
Take Up Chess
Chess might be a complex game, but it’s one worth sticking with. Because it’s so intricate, it really flexes the corpus callosum – known as the anatomical marker of intelligence – and improves your problem-solving skills and concentration. In fact, according to a Venezuelan study children who took chess classes for 14 weeks found themselves with significantly increased IQs.
The corpus callosum connects the two hemispheres. Experts believe that the reason Einstein was so smart was that his were particularly well-developed, meaning he could access both parts at the same time rather than just one or the other.
Add Creatine To Your Diet
Known primarily as a popular sports supplement, studies have shown that creatine can significantly increase muscle mass and strength. But research has also shown that if you take 5g of creatine a day, you can bump up your IQ by a massive 15 points. This is because it’s key in lifting the energy levels that your brain needs to process information. And the best bit? You can make it happen in just six weeks.
Try The Mensa App
If you’re keen to join Mensa – the high IQ society that only accepts those whose IQ lies in the top 2% - then they have a couple of apps that could help. The Mensa Brain Training app has challenging exercises developed by industry professionals, which will enhance fluid intelligence. Then, their Mensa Brain Test sees how much you’ve learnt, putting your problem-solving skills under the microscope using a series of logic, mathematics, language and visual tests.