Can you boost your IQ? The evidence says yes

It’s an age-old question studied by researchers for more than a century:  Is there anyone to make your-self smarter?

In the early days of this inquiry, researchers were certain the answer was no.  But studies over the past two decade have proven otherwise.  Yes, you can raise your intelligence quotient, or IQ.   In fact, the very question was covered in a recent Wall Street Journal article.

While I didn’t manage to track down a systematic review of the topic, I did find a body of literature pointing to methods for improving your IQ.  One study that followed 250 adults over the course of six years found that people in jobs involving complex relationships, elaborate systems or difficult problems tend to perform better over time on cognitive tests.

Likewise, the work of Cornell Professor Steve Ceci has found that schooling raises IQ by several points a year, mainly because students are exposed to information and problem-solving often included in cognitive tests.

In another recent study, British students were given IQ tests and brain scans at ages 12 to 16 and again four years later. The students with significant improvements in IQ – 15 points or more – showed changes in gray matter in areas corresponding with their improvements.

Alas, the issue is complicated.  Another recent study tested adults using at Wii video game, reading and reference ability. While the participants showed improvements in what they practiced, their new-found skills didn’t transfer well to other areas, suggesting that learning for adults may be more narrow than for young adults and children.

Clearly, more research is needed. But it seems that we can say definitely that if you practice something – whether physical or mental – you will see improvements in that specific area.


  1. Leila says:


    I just found your article through google search engine, as I was looking for information on if it is possible to boost your IQ.

    Last night I completed an IQ test after drinking half a bottle of wine, and I scored 128 on my first test, then I sobered up a bit and tried a different one to check the score, which I scored 133 on.

    I had to share this with you, because back in 2008 I used to do online IQ tests with one of my colleagues just for a laugh during our lunch break, and I would average around 113. So in the past 6 years my IQ has increased by 20 points!

    I’m a designer, and back in 2008 I was doing purely design, but now my job is more developed and as well as designing I have to send up to 60 emails a day and manage a team of two. In addition to the change in job role, I’ve also been taking DHA oil tablets (seaweed oil specifically for the brain), as I was classified as dyslexic when I was at college and I thought it would help with my emails.

    So either of the two points mentioned above could be responsible for the increase in my IQ, and I thought it would be beneficial for me to share this with you – all in the name of research!

    Please don’t hesitate to contact me.


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