Landmark study from February 2018 shows that brain training increases fluid intelligence General knowledge


ON Study released this month in the renowned magazine intelligence has shown:

  • Cognitive training in combination with physical activity leads to an increase in flowing intelligence (visuospatial reasoning) – a key measure for IQ.
  • Fitness training alone has not strengthened the performance of liquid intelligence.
  • The benefits of mindfulness training for fluid intelligence were different.

The research team came to the following conclusion:

“Because fluid intelligence testing results predict realistic outcomes across the lifespan, enhancing intelligence through multimodal intervention, which is also effective in young, healthy adults, is a promising way to improve reasoning and decision making in daily life . “

ultimately: The strongest case so far that working memory and executive control training (as implemented in HighIQPro) in combination with training leads to an increase in IQ with an effect size that indicates a practical impact in daily life.

In contrast to studies that show no results from brain training, this training method is similar IQ Mindware apps – implements a multimodal approach – combines dual-n-back training (working memory) with executive control training in combination with the Neuroplasticity benefits of exercise,

The study

The study was carried out by a strong team of researchers from various disciplines (psychology, neuroscience, bioengineering, mechanical engineering and industry) using the strictest methods available.

The study was a comprehensive 4-month randomized controlled trial in which 424 healthy adults (ages 18–43 years, 50% Caucasians) were divided into four groups:

(1) Fitness training

(2) fitness training and computer-assisted cognitive training

(3) fitness, cognitive training and mindfulness meditation

(4) Active control

Fitness training

  • Warm up (10 min)
  • Intervals of speed and restoration of static walking or running (10 min)
  • Intensive cardio resistance / aerobic training (30 minutes)
  • Yoga / stretching (10 min)

Computer based training

  • 2 working memory games (including the Dual-N-Back)
  • 3 executive control games (e.g. attention flexibility and strategic planning)
  • 1 visual brain game

HighIQPro implements all three of these training types (dual N-back, input and output gating for managers and problems with logical thinking).

mindfulness meditation

  • Breathing exercises (5 min)
  • Guided meditation (5 min)
  • Gentle movement / stretching (15 min)
  • Two quiet meditation periods (15 minutes each)

Active control

  • Change detection
  • Visual search tasks

IQ measures

  • LSAT – standardized performance test to determine admission to the law faculty and to evaluate the logical reasoning. This is a measure of verbal fluid intelligence.
  • Figure series – Develop a rule to complete a series of figures. This is a measure of the visuospatial reasoning.

These are standard Fluid Reasoning (IQ) tests used by professional psychologists and educators.


The training results are shown in the following figure. Where there is a star there is a statistically significant change in fluid intelligence. The Fit Group are those who have only done fitness training. The Fit-MF Group are those who have done fitness and cognitive training. The Fit MF Mind Group has fitness, cognitive training and mindfulness training.

All groups improved their visuospatial fluid intelligence (Figure Series). All brain training groups performed better than the control group, but one group – which performed both cognitive training and fitness training – significantly better than the control group. “Significance” is a strict statistical criterion that assures us that the gains were not test-related Practice effects or Placebo effects in terms of expectations about the benefits of training or additional trust.

The “effect size” is really significant. Dual N-back training results in an effect size of only 0.14 (ref) in combination with leadership training (as in HighIQPro) and practice gets to the point 0.55 This is defined as a “large” effect size – much larger than the effectiveness of most drugs on the market for various diseases.

Results of brain training for liquid intelligence

Why didn’t mindfulness in the mix help increase IQ?

The authors say that the benefits of mindfulness for the individual are divided: some benefit and show significant IQ increases compared to the control group, while others do not.

“Within the Fit-MF-Mind group, the patients reacted differently to the intervention, and those who showed relatively higher increases in the figure series also performed better in the new Gf tests after the intervention. Mindfulness is expected to require cognitive and attention resources, which are also required when performing tasks, and it looks like individuals differ in their ability to adapt to these requirements and to benefit from the exercise. “


These results are consistent with previous results and help to confirm studies that do not show IQ gains through working memory training if clearly the right type of brain training helps significantly. We now know the following.

  • Combine Brain training to control the executive with working memory training (Dual-N-Back) is more effective in increasing IQ than both.
  • Visuospatial Intelligence benefits from training, while verbal thinking does not.
  • Combine Brain training with exercise improves IQ gains.

A fantastic result for those of us who have invested time in developing brain training interventions to increase IQ.



Example of a fluid reasoning test of the type found in visuospatial IQ tests.


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