Increasing the Intelligence that Predicts Your Success

There are different types of intelligence that human beings possess, but “fluid intelligence” is the one that predicts success in business and academics, when a person tests high in it.

Fluid intelligence is your capacity to solve novel problems, learn from experience, reason things out accurately, detect errors, connect the dots, and to get to the heart of the matter quickly.

Who wouldn’t want to increase their measure of that kind of intelligence?

Well, there is new evidence that suggests you can. Science once believed that fluid intelligence was inherited and couldn’t be increased, but  mounting evidence has caused some in science to reconsider.

The evidence indicates that you can raise your fluid intelligence by playing a specially designed computer game called the N-back game for 15 – 25 minutes a day, five days a week.  It’s found to improve scores on tests of fluid intelligence in as little as four weeks.

One version of the game is accessible for free on the internet at

Here’s how the test works: Every few seconds, a cartoon like image (a cat, a fish, a baseball, etc.) appears on screen and then moves to the next image.  You click on the current image whenever it repeats what you saw 2 picture ago.  If you get to Level 3, you click when the current picture repeats what you saw 3 pictures ago, and so on, up through higher levels of difficulty.  It sounds simple and it is, but deceptively so.

Take note: not everyone agrees that the N-back test works in raising fluid intelligence. Randall Engle, a respected intelligence researcher at Georgia Tech doesn’t think so. He said in a  New York Times article on intelligence, “There have been hundreds of other attempts to increase intelligence over the years, with little or no — just no — success.”  However, Silvia Bunge of the University of California, Berkeley would beg to differ. Using an array of cognitive games with inner city kids, she  reported a 10 point increase on nonverbal I.Q. test scores.  It would seem the evidence is mounting.