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Mind Control Science writer Dan Hurley talks untapped intelligence and how to harness it

Can you really make yourself smarter?

For hundreds of years, psychologists insisted it was impossible to increase fluid intelligence, or your capacity to learn new concepts. But recent scientific discoveries suggest quite the opposite. Before this new research came to light, the only answer for improving our ability was “work harder,” but, as it turns out, there are specific steps we each can take to train our brains.

What are some ways to improve intelligence?

One effective method is to play computerized games—sometimes called N-back games—that engage your working memory, forcing you to think on your feet. For example, if I were to read you four numbers and then ask you to repeat them backwards, you would be using your working memory. Lumosity is one of the most popular sources for such games, but you can also download other apps for your phone or computer by doing a Google search for “N-back games.”

Any other ways to boost brain function?

Physical exercise has been proven to enhance cognitive ability. There’s some debate over which is better: cardiovascular training or strength training. I say try both. The important thing is to constantly push your limits and challenge yourself in new ways. If you’re a runner, add weights to your workout regimen. Another thing that seems to be good for our brains is learning to play a new musical instrument.

Anything else?

It’s been suggested that mindful meditation improves brain function because, in doing it, you have to stay focused. With any of these methods, though, the most important thing to remember is that you have to stick with them to reap real benefits. It’s natural to want to give up, but pushing yourself to keep going is part of the brain-boosting process.



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