I’ve heard it said that intelligence comes from solving problems. So yes, doing mental calculations will improve your intelligence. It will do a lot more than just passively watching TV.
Perhaps you might like to read or listen to some books called: The Brain That Changes Itself and The Woman Who Changed Her Brain. Both explain neuroplasticity - ie how the brain can change and develop.
The best way to improve your IQ score is to practice IQ test questions. Whether that would make you smarter in general, I don’t know.
I wonder about that IQ score and what it measures. We’ve had a couple of exchanges and that was not my impression at all. IMO IQ tests, test a kind of quick wit. To do well on those questions you got to see it in a snap. Some people are slow thinkers, not stupid, just slow often more accurate. Some people don’t test well. They underperform.
Do you like to read? Do you read for fun? If that’s available, I highly recommend taking up reading as a way of improving your intellect. Your verbal skills will improve and language is the basis for more thought. Your ability to think abstractly will improve. You will be exposed to new situations and ideas and want to think about them. And you will learn stuff. Read what you like, better writing is better but the most important is to read and enjoy it.
There are no known ways of actually increasing your intelligence. Like being tall, or like being a world class athlete these things are gifts. Can’t turn a Pug into a Pitbull. BUT, most people don’t use their gifts and a hard worker can often outperform most who have not put the work in. For example, I will never be incredibly strong,. but after 3 years of regular weight lifting I was stronger than anyone who didn’t lift weights. Strong guys who lifted weights for 3 years like I did were crazy stupid strong but I made couch sitters look very very weak.
There are a huge range of talents, strengths, and disabilities here and they have always been supportive of anyone that wants to try. Mnemonics rely on our monkey abilities to remember where bananas can be found and where the lions were. By thinking in concrete pictures and using our monkey brain we avoid the problem of not being smart enough to remember a bunch of useless abstract crap; lists, numbers, names.
Try practicing the memory techniques. You will be very surprised how incredibly smart your monkey brain is. I was shocked how easy it was to remember things when I did. It didn’t make me any smarter but it did make me realize that I had taken a knife to a gun fight for most of my life as a student.
When you say “Below average”: The average IQ is 100.
I’ve taught math at all levels to all sorts of people. In my experience, people with IQ 100 don’t get logarithms. It’s too many steps into abstraction. And most people would not even try to tackle the example you were reading. Your question about it sat in the forum with no response for a while - why would that be? You got stuck on an algebraic manipulation. Don’t you think you will spot that trick next time it comes up?
Those that will involve mental calculations will be improved.
Solving problems is not going to raise your intelligence much or quickly but within domain will raise your score on an IQ test.
However as with memory techniques any problem solving techniques you learn must be actively applied to reflect a gain on supposed tests or particular situations. This gain can be severe, e.g if you learned to do mental higher mathematics , any IQ test with a pattern can be cheated by simply applying a suitable mathematical operation if you have learned it, at that to a complexity far above what you would get to with much added speed and generation.
If you are given a short term memory test and use mnemonics you might as well get a world record score on the test, this doesn’t apply generally because you used mnemonics for that example however it does apply generally if you can use mnemonics for every example of what the test was attempting to reflect. Hence instead of trying to learn IQ tests to globally improve your score on IQ tests, improve your heuristic of determining the correct answer in a test. The answers tend to be simple, when you get the answer your computational ability can see how you got to it, all you are really not seeing if you do not get to it is the route which isn’t particularly bound by speed as it is by choice and perhaps an understanding of what makes a choice correct. If your heuristic generally applies to problems your general ability to solve problems is enhanced.
As to why I said mental calculation can but most likely won’t improve your logic is because you have to be actively thinking how you can effectively calculate faster/to-whatever-goal or well apply logic to it. If you are simply computing all day, it won’t really provide a large gain. There is a difference between applying the same logic and applying logic generally.
You could also study mathematical logic, or really logic in general, I don’t think it really gets better then that for improving your logic.
A comment on this also referring to my initial statements, or well rather to visualize it:
Imagine you had two balls and inside each ball there were many other balls of different colors.
Now assume that some of the balls of colors in the first ball were in the second ball.
You now know that some of the same things in the first ball are in the second ball even though they are different. So what does this mean? Well it means that by having the first ball you can learn a bunch about the second ball. First they are all balls by seeing one you know everything about the second ball besides what you haven’t seen in the first ball. What you don’t know isn’t actually the balls you haven’t seen it is merely the difference of the balls you haven’t seen to the others as you know it is still a ball.
You may now be thinking what is this trying to say, well this same reasoning I put out here is contained in things that are much larger and complicated. This example indirectly proves that by doing anything really depending on how you look at it and what you pick up, you can learn and improve on part of something you actually want to do that at first seems completely unrelated. This partly is a benefit of seeing things abstractly, you may be doing calculations but if you look at it abstractly what you are doing includes:
learning,mastery,memory,computation,logic,thought,problem solving,intelligence and the list goes on depending on how you look and go about it.
If you are simply computing sums, you are simply learning to compute sums, you could be picking up more below this but you could also be picking up more by involving more things.
I’ve taught calculus many times. If you can grasp the concept of logarithms, you have all the necessary cognitive equipment. IMO it comes down to two things, strong algebra skills and a willingness to work hard with your brain.
Skill in algebra is only a matter of practice - a lot of consistent practice. Everytime you get stuck, you learn a new trick and you get a bit smarter. You also learn to expect what kind of moves are made. Part of the reason I got that identity when you didn’t is that I expected it. I knew what to look for - that’s just experience. There was day when I would try to read proofs ask “what the hell are they doing this for?”.
I’ll elaborate a bit on what @RobertFontaine said: Slow people have an advantage, - they are used to working hard for their skills. Naturally intelligent people have a lot of trouble with this. They are used to having things come easy but whatever your talent, the last few miles are always hard work and they often stall there. There are a lot of people with strong natural talents who don’t do the work to develop them. I myself have been overtaken by colleagues who were not as bright as me but worked harder and longer.
Where you start from is not that important. It’s how far you go that matters.
I believe developing skill with math - to any degree will have a “knock on effect”. There will be significant benefits. But you ask will it. I don’t make that promise. And I don’t know enough. I believe it’s a very good thing to do for your brain and once you get a little bit of skill, it’s fun even deeply rewarding.
What do you mean there no know ways to increase intelligence. Intelligence is hard to define. Is intelligence the ability to get along, or the ability to figure things out? And how does experience affect intelligence? Can a 15-year-old be more intelligent than a 50-year-old, given that the 50-year-old had the say IQ score when the 50-year-old was 15? I give this reply a thumbs up because the analysis on what to do with memory improvement techniques is awsome. I especially like that Robert Fontaine included how the brain can change; brain plasticity.
IQ statistically provides one of the strongest known indicators of future success. If I had only one tool I could use in hiring I would use an IQ test. IQ is not improvable through training. In this specific area, it is as genetic as eye color. Brain plasticity is not Intelligence. Yes, you can learn and happily, you can learn after the point that your brain has completed maturing BUT you cannot increase or modify your Intelligence via any known method. Mnemonics, skills development, hard work may all help you perform better in a situation but they won’t increase your intelligence. Intelligence is not hard to define. It has a clear and specific meaning. It is a highly inheritable trait and there is no drug or exercise that you can do to increase yours. You have to race what you brung. There is a misconception that you can be anything that you want to be. It is false. If you are short you cannot be tall. If you are uncoordinated you cannot be a world class gymnast and If you are mentally average you will not be a rocket scientist.
Intelligence is normally distributed around 100. There are a few populations with above average averages like the Ashkenazi. If you want to be a nobel laureate I highly recommend selecting your parents from the Ashkenazi stock. They score 0.75 to 1.0 standard deviations above the general European average, corresponding to an IQ 112-115. More importantly for such a small population they have a disproportionate number of off the scale genius. I think there are asian populations with averages sitting around 108. Not as dramatic with outliers though.
Stepping back, 68 percent of scores fall within one standard deviation of the mean (that is, between 85 and 115). This is what defines “normal” although I strongly believe that anyone much under 90 is going to have problems being taught to do repetitive labour. The intelligence gap is a real problem for a society that is rapidly removing manual labour as an effective way of putting food on the table.
The Worldwide Pattern of IQ Scores: East Asians average higher on IQ tests than Whites, both in the U.S. and in Asia, even though IQ tests were developed for use in the Euro-American culture. Around the world, the average IQ for East Asians centers around 106; for Whites, about 100; and for Blacks about 85 in the U.S. and 70 in sub-Saharan Africa.
As individuals, our intelligence is what it is but the genetic component is incredibly strong and all statistical data bears this out.
Please avoid playing race cards etc… I am neither Japanese nor Ashkenazi. I do worry about how we are going to manage in a society that requires a 135 IQ to work an information based career to pay the mortgage and food. What will 98% of the population do?
| IQ Range|Classification|
| 140 and over - Genius or near genius |
| 120-140 - Very superior intelligence |
| 110-120 - Superior intelligence |
| 90-110 - Normal or average intelligence |
These are very generous ranges. I would not call 140 genius and I would have a very tough time appreciating 90 as normal.
One thing I’d like to say is that it’s been shown that those who live in poverty show some dramatic drops in their IQ ratings. Is it no wonder then why African Americans and Sub Saharan Africans have such low IQ scores? Take them out of poverty and their IQ scores go up unsurprisingly.
Lastly, automation need not hurt people, so long as we provide for them. We can currently give millions of those in poverty a good standard of living without working. Alas, we won’t. What a shame.
I’ve come to the conclusion that IQ tests are a pretty blunt tool for defining and assessing intelligence. I have some friends who were in the bottom class at school (lowest of 7) and they struggled with reading. Now both of them are multi-millionaires through hard work and brains.
On the other end I know people who have high IQ but are spectrum-y and in some ways functionally retarded.
I’ve heard the arguments about IQ tests from Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris et al but I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s only useful in a very broad sense. I know too many people who demonstrate superior brain development in particular areas - like people who can compute incredible amounts of social information or display vastly superior physically abilities or demonstrate their brain development through music or art.
A test that relies on reading ability or deciphering squiggles doesn’t account for them so I hold the idea of IQ lightly. Consequently I find that I am surrounded by very intelligent people who demonstrate it in their own ways.
IQ’s are a useful indicator of success in our society. That’s pretty solid. What exactly IQ tests measure is still unclear. Nor is it clear how much is due to nurture and how much to nature. You can however improve your IQ score. Simply by practicing those kinds of questions you will become more efficient at setting up the problems and the kinds of answers that are expected. Any test can be gamed to some extent.
As an Ashekenazi Jew of high intelligence with two sons who are college profs I am very skeptical about the idea that Jews have some common genetic factor which naturally boosts their intelligence. I might be inclined to believe a similar claim about a genetically homogeneous group but the European Jews and Jews in general are about the most diverse ethnic group you can find. My dad looked like an Arab. Dark skin, hooked nose always randomly selected at airport lines. I look generically ‘Mediterranean’. Two of my sons are blond haired and blue eyed. While there is a strong semitic presence in the gene pool, Ashkenazi Jews tend to look like the countries they come from. Part of my family came from Poland where you find blue eyes and blond hair. My two blond boys are at least as bright as I am.
It is hard for outsiders to appreciate the extreme value that Jewish culture places on learning. Academic achievement is valued too but it’s the scholarship that’s revered. In Orthodox communities rich merchants woo the best Talmudic scholars to marry their daughters - even though the man may never earn a penny. I started reading books off my Dad’s shelf when I was 7. That’s what everybody else was doing. My wife and I moved across the country and changed jobs in an effort to find the best schools for our kids. We were prepared to mortgage our entire financial future to get them into the right colleges. Home life was discussion about what you had learned and what you thought about it. I’ve met many very intelligent people who never had a chance for an education. This just can’t happen in traditional Jewish culture. It’s very unusual to find a Jewish mind that hasn’t had the opportunity and encouragement to develop.
Not only do the demographics not make sense, it’s very hard to see past this curtain of extreme cultural pressure and argue that it has some genetic basis. It also fails to give credit for the work that was done. If the Jews are to be noticed for this, I would rather that it be held up as an example of the difference cultural support can make to a child’s development.
It has not much helped the Jews to be singled out for their intelligence. It adds to the narrative that they are tricky, don’t deal with them - they will outsmart you and to the general image that they are somehow different from the rest of the human race. There’s something non human in the mix. Despite their renowned academic prowess they were denied entry to many subjects in American colleges even up to the 60’s. It was political pressure, not SAT scores that changed that.
I see the world through a different lens from most. Except for handful that migrated to South Africa, my entire European family went into Hitler’s camps and never came out. Many turned in by lifelong friends and neighbors who felt they were different enough that they could be disposed of like vermin. I lived through a war in which the stated intention of the invading armies was to exterminate us and our children. That day will come again. Time is not on our side. In these black times, when the world has gone mad and bad, any attention paid to the Jews is very unsettling.
Funny enough, in the 1900s-1920s Ashekenazi Jews tested below average on IQ tests. But as their material conditions improved, their IQ scores “magically” went up. A similar effect has been noticed in Kenyan children within a timeframe of 14 years, too small a time for one to conclude significant genetic change.
I have heard it said IQ cannot be improved. I’m a bit skeptical of that but perhaps so. What does that mean for you? It certainly doesn’t mean you can’t get smarter at math if you work at it. I’m sure you can improve your memory with techniques offered here. You can do a lot for your brain just by reading prose, preferably fiction or biographies. Books of facts are good but not the same thing at all. There is something important about following a story.
If you are enjoying the math, you should celebrate that and go with it. I said it before, most people turn their eyes away from anything that looks like math.