It looks like a misguided website in general.
A few comments on the article’s statements:
I don’t deny photographic/eidetic memory is possible. I don’t doubt that some people, such as the late super-savant Kim Peek, can do this. However, I am much more skeptical that such a skill can be taught, and if so, that is not just a function of IQ (or some other innate, biological trait).
Photographic memory probably doesn’t exist, and most people can learn the techniques to a useful extent. Not everyone can be a world-class memory champion, but any competitive sport is like that.
–Using a mnemonic device (such as a ‘memory palace’) still requires one memorize the mnemonic. If I ask you to memorize ten historical dates, a trick may be to associate these dates with a mental visualization, but you must still remember ten associations, which is still not easy.
I think that most people can learn to read letters as words, so most people have the potential to learn to read numbers as words too. They are just different symbols. (Not everyone has the motivation though.)
–Memory training has never been replicated under a controlled environment with multiple subjects, and then the results published in a reputable journal (and then the results successfully replicated by other researchers). The very few studies that exist only have one or two subjects.
Anyone who uses the techniques knows that they work. It just takes a few afternoons of practice to see results. It doesn’t require a scientist.
Without controlling for IQ is is impossible to know if feats of memory are really just feats of IQ, or a specific skill that can be learned (I am very certain it is the former).
It’s definitely a skill that is learned. You can’t put people in a room, line them up by IQ score, and then predict how many digits they are going to memorize on that alone.
–One study showed that that training is non-transferable. This means if one learns a sequence of numbers, the skill fails when one tries to recite them backwards or a new set of numbers.
Most people can recall the numbers backwards too.
Furthermore, I have yet to see a study that demonstrates a so-called ‘meta technique’ that could allow anyone to quickly memorize and recall anything, such as a list of complicated legal or medical terminology. So for example, a technique that works for number recall, and then afterwards, legal jargon.
Memory palaces and peg lists? You can’t memorize notes as quickly as numbers, but you can increase your memorization ability by using the techniques. Another example is here.
–If the above were possible (if it were actually possible, regardless of IQ, to develop a meta-technique to retain and recall information quickly), the economic consequences would be huge. Productivity would surge. Students would be able to learn material as fast as they can read it, without having to spend hours re-reading, making notes, and highlighting.
That isn’t how the techniques work. They aren’t effortless, but they are more effective than not using the techniques, and when it comes to certain kinds of information, like numbers, they work extremely well.
An IQ of 160 is so uncommon that most people in their lifetime will never encounter someone so intelligent, and is considered upper threshold for the reliability of IQ testing. …I think there is a trend or problem of super-geniuses, such as Cal Newport (a Ph.D. from MIT, which is as smart as it gets) who try to promote this mythos that average people can do that they do, which may be inspiring, but possibly unrealistic and not backed by science.
The obsession with IQ on that site is misguided. The most interesting thing I’ve noticed about IQ scores is that they don’t mean that a person has critical thinking skills, knowledge about the world, or good ideas. It’s just a measurement of a certain kind of cognitive processing ability. It doesn’t measure all kinds of cognitive ability (social information processing is one example). Not all kinds of cognitive ability are immutable. Not all measures of a person’s worth have anything to do with IQ.
I wouldn’t take that site too seriously. Besides being wrong about many things on that page, it puts way too much emphasis on IQ scores in general, appears to advocate for eugenics, and the site’s name alludes to a backwards movement that believes democracy is bad.