A new spin-out company from NUI Maynooth has demonstrated that it is possible to increase intelligence levels and has developed an online programme which can measurably increase intellectual ability.
The company, ‘Raise Your IQ’, has developed the ‘SMART’ (Strengthening Mental Abilities with Relational Training) programme which equips the user with the cognitive skills which lay the foundation for better intelligent reasoning and thinking and increases intelligence levels. Unlike ‘brain training’ products on the market which merely enhance memory, SMART improves the ability to reason logically and think clearly, so it also leads to improvements in verbal ability, perceptual reasoning and speed of information processing.
The system has been trialled in Irish schools with the latest research showing primary school students experienced an average IQ rise of 23 points. An increase in IQ above 10 points represents a significant increase in intellectual ability. Evidence shows that increases in the IQ levels of SMART participants are still in place four years later.
The latest trials were conducted with 15 students from Rathmore National School in Athboy, Co Meath where students took training exercises two to three times weekly for over four months. SMART training helps to improve skills such as vocabulary, abstract thinking, concentration, memory, judgement, task management, alertness to detail, eye-hand coordination, non-verbal reasoning, planning ability and processing speed for information.
Results from the latest trial included: Average IQ rise among students of 23 points; The average IQ of the children before their SMART training was 97 (Average). After training it was 120 (Superior Intellectual Functioning); In two cases, diagnoses of dyslexia were revised following improvements in reading skills that resulted from SMART training; Lowest IQ level rose from 84 before training to 106 following the training; Highest IQ level rose from 119 before training to 140 following the training; Two children moved from the low average range into the average range; Four children moved from average to high average, one moved from high average to superior; four children moved from average to superior, two children moved from high average to exceptional intellectual functioning (gifted)
The SMART system is based on Relational Frame Theory, which has been developed over the past 20 years and concludes that the development of relational skills, i.e. understanding words and numbers in terms of how they are related to other words and numbers (the relational concepts of Same, Opposite, More than, Less than, Before, After, and so on) is critical to intellectual development.
Behavioural analysis research has shown that relational skills are fundamental to all the main features of intellectual development in education such as reading, writing, vocabulary, problem solving and mathematics.
The SMART programme was developed by Dr Bryan Roche, Lecturer in Psychology at NUI Maynooth and Dr Sarah Cassidy, Psychologist and Licensed Psychometrician (see full biogs below), who designed a series of training programmes (55 in total) packaged into an online game where users acquire points as they advance through the levels. The team is currently launching the programme internationally to the general public. The online intelligence training sector is worth around €1 Billlion and is growing rapidly.
The SMART programme and the research basis for it, has been endorsed by leading American psychologist, Dr Steven C. Hayes, (developer of Acceptance & Commitment therapy) one of the world’s most respected behavioural researchers, author of 35 books and over 500 scientific articles and recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the U.S. Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies.
Discussing SMART training, Dr Bryan Roche, Lecturer in Psychology at NUI Maynooth said, “Much of what we need to know in order to solve problems cannot be figured out by the brain on its own and involves skills rather than mere brain mass. The skills that make up intelligence - relational skills - must be learned and even a brain that is highly developed has to learn how to solve problems. The SMART system, unlike some ‘brain training’ games, does not work by merely enhancing memory, it improves the ability to reason logically and think clearly, so it also leads to improvements in verbal ability, perceptual reasoning and speed of information processing. The programme we have developed teaches a range of basic “relational skills” that facilitate more intelligent thinking. Relational skills were first discovered by psychologists using a theory known as Relational Frame Theory, which over the past two decades has revolutionised the way we think about learning and intelligence.”
Speaking at the launch of the SMART programme today, Dr Sarah Cassidy, Psychologist and Licensed Psychometrician said, “The SMART programme can have a positive and lasting impact among students globally and we expect significant adoption of the programme by schools and families across the world. The online system is designed to be very user friendly and cost-effective, so that it can be employed in the classroom by teachers or at home by students in their own time. The results and feedback which we received throughout our research have been very impressive, with improvements across all students who participated in the trials. These improvements change the entire educational outlook of the children involved and the findings represent a genuine breakthrough for educational psychologists.”
Mr John Chambers, Chief Technical Officer, Raise your IQ said, “We have developed an online system which is user-friendly and enjoyable for both adults and children. The website measures the user’s IQ, then tracks their success as they complete the exercises, and finally evaluates their IQ again at the end of the process. We’ve used all the latest ‘gamification’ techniques in developing our Raise your IQ education system and the feedback we have from our users is extremely positive.”
Discussing Raise Your IQ, Owen Laverty, Commercialisation Office, NUI Maynooth said, “Raise Your IQ has developed a system which can make a real and lasting impact on our intellectual development. The online programme they have developed is the result of years of extensive research, trials and study and it is great to witness it making such a positive difference in the real world setting of the classroom. At NUI Maynooth we provide the support and investment to nurture our leading researchers so that their concepts come to fruition and develop into solid businesses with export potential. Raise Your IQ is a great example of the success stories NUI Maynooth is proud to be associated with.”
The SMART programme is suitable for both adults and children and is designed to improve performance in school, at work and in normal day-to-day decision making and problem solving.