A new study reported at a recent Contextual Behavioral Science (Ireland) conference, found that an intensive online form of brain training called SMART brain training, lead to large increases in general intelligence (IQ) in a sample of 15 children, and to large increases in general scholastic ability in a further sample of 30 children.
The study reported by Dr. Sarah Cassidy of Maynooth University, and currently under peer-review for publication in the journal Learning & Individual Differences, was conducted across two public schools in the Republic of Ireland. It involved two cohorts of children engaging in regular online training in a novel and unique form of brain training called Relational Skills training. SMART stands for Strengthening Mental Abilities with Relational Training, and was developed by Dr. Sarah Cassidy and Dr. Bryan Roche at Maynooth University over the past decade, based on research from several laboratories extending back a further decade. It is now available for trial use by the public for free at RaiseYourIQ.com.
Dr. Sarah Cassidy presented her findings at the CBS conference, Dublin, Ireland, reporting on the results of the latest study on SMART training, December 4th 2014.
The first experiment in the study focused only on improvements in general intelligence among 11-12 year old children, as measured by standard IQ tests. It is the second study (the first was published in 2011) to find large increases in general intelligence for every one of the participants in the study who engaged in SMART Brain Training. Despite scepticism regarding the usefulness of “brain training”, the SMART system appears at this stage to be capable of delivering on the promise of achieving real IQ gains for its users. It appears to do this because it is very unlike any other system of brain training. According to Dr Roche, “Other forms of brain training focus largely on working memory, and some complex tasks that are only indirectly related to intellectual development. The SMART system emerged from behavioral and educational research and focuses on the building block skills underlying intelligence itself. Once you improve your relational skills, just about every intellectual task comes easier, and the findings of this new study bear that out”.
Children in the first experiment of the study experienced an average IQ rise of 23 points, with the smallest being 14 points. These types of increases are very rarely heard of in clinical or educational settings regardless of the efforts made by teachers or clinicians to enhance a child’s intellectual ability. These increases are also large enough to change the classification of a child as of below average intelligence to being above average.
A second experiment of the study involved using the educational DATS assessment system to measure improvements in arithmetic, verbal and general educational ability as a result of the SMART training. A sample of 30 15-17 year old children conducted their online SMART brain training exercises at school several times per week for sessions of around 45 minutes. The results of the three-month training trial showed that all that the group had improved significantly on all three measures. This is an important finding because it addresses a criticism of brain training, that its benefits do not transfer to everyday life. This study reports that in fact SMART brain training can increase the ability of a child to perform at school.
The new SMART training method is based on the learning principles of behavioral psychology and modern theory of language and cognition known as Relational Frame Theory. SMART training is available for users to test for free at RaiseYourIQ.com