Improve brain power? Is it possible to improve brain power? That might mean different things to different people. A criminal may want to read minds, or develop super powers and a hero or heroine may want to do the same. My kids might want to score really well on their ISAT tests, or do well on play station.
No one has as yet discovered the key to super powers.
However, technology has helped us uncover some capacities of the human brain that were unknown not too long ago, and has helped us develop some tools that will help us enhance those capacities.
Those two capacities are neurogenesis and neuroplasticity, and they can be enhanced to increase IQ scores, which is a measure indicating improved brain power.
Neurogenesis is the term used to describe our brain's ability to grow new neurons, every day. Neuroplasticity is the term used to describe how our brains are rewiring themselves based on what we pay attention to, which can happen in moments.
One of the tools used to enhance neurogenesis and neuroplasticity is the dual n back task.
The research on Dual n Back task was published in 2008. The results indicate that a capacity of the brain called fluid intelligence can be increased by practicing the dual n back task. Fluid intelligence, in my rough approximation, is the intelligence we use to make our way in a problem solving situation where we have no previous experience to draw on.
For example, for me, a counselor, to try to approach mental health issues from a psychiatric point of view would definitely require some fluid intelligence, or if I were to learn a knew language or musical instrument, those tasks would require fluid intelligence. So I practice the dual n back task, to improve my brain power.
Two new discoveries coming from George Bush's Decade of the Brain, neuroplasticity and neurogenesis, are very important aspects of improving brain power.
Both can be encouraged and enhanced by undertaking novel learning experiences, like learning a new language, or even by using computerized brain fitness programs.
No one knew until a few years ago that our brains grow new neurons every day, if given a healthy environment, no toxins like ethyl alcohol or too frequent stress hormones, for example.
Those new neurons are encouraged by novel learning experiences, and some very interesting research has talked about the measureable impact of the Posit Science Brain Fitness Program.
There are two studies, one called ACTIVE, if my Boomer memory serves me right, and the other is the IMPACT study, both done using the Posit Science Brain Fitness Program.
The idea in the Posit Science program, is to train neurons involved in hearing so that they begin to fire in tight synchrony again for Senior Citizens, and the measurable impact is amazing.
Simon Evans, Ph.D. and Paul Burghardt, Ph.D. have written the book that explains the concepts I have touched on here, so to get the very readable take on improving brain power, please check out their e-book, Brainfit for Life.