Brighter Brains: 225 Ways to Elevate or Injure IQ
Hank Pellissier: Author, Speaker, Teacher, and Futurist. He's a frequent contributor to GreatSchools.org, he's been a columnist for NYTimes.com and Salon.com, Managing Director of the Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technologies, and founder/director of The Kids' Co-op Inc. Hank's previous books include Invent Utopia Now and Why is the IQ of the Ashkenazi Jews So High? He's available for lectures. More
I am fascinated by the human brain, our three-pound organs that contain 100 billion neurons. We are lucky to have these wonderful thinking minds.
Why did I write this manual?
A 2011 University College London study published in Nature observing the change of IQ in a young adul t population discovered that, "a third of the teenagers had meaningful changes in I Q, and a handful showed dizzying climbs or plunges", by as much 21 points in four years .
I find this extraordinary. Twenty- one points can elevate a human from "average intelligence" to "gifted," from mentally retarded to near average… or vice- versa.
That study's revelation of brain "plasticity" joins multiple other reports that have recently redefined the brain's potential. Alfred Binet (co-creator of the first IQ test in 1905) believed our brain full y matured at 16 years of age, and dwindled after that . This opinion was the unanimous viewpoint for generations, with humanity stoically regarding intelligence as set in stone, but destined to start decaying in early adulthood.
Today that paradigm has been wholly upended. Neurogenesis can blossom inside our skulls at any age, or brain damage can horrifically afflict and impair us . IQ isn't just genetic; it's immensely influenced by "environmental factors," claim researchers like Richard Nisbett, author of Intelligence and How To Get It.
Hundreds of factors entice IQ to prosper or wither.
Do you think my focus on IQ is misguided? Do you think human "ethical behavior" and "happiness " is more important?
My answer to that is: increasing our intelligence will improve both human morality and our level of joyfulness. Here's why:
Morality: In The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Viol ence Has Declined, by Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker, the author presents statistics that demonstrate the dwindling of human brutality in recent history, especially since the Enlightenment. Pinker observes that the "Flynn effect " - the international rise of IQ in the last century, by as much as 30 points in the USA - correlates with a subsequent drop in violence. He claims that, "modern societies have been getting smarter, and all things being equal, a smarter world is a less violent one." Further explaining, he states "people with greater reasoning abilities commit fewer crimes…"
Happiness: A study from University College London, titled, "The relationship between happiness and intelligent quotient…" reports that "Happiness's significantly associated with IQ. Those in the lowest IQ range (70- 99) reported the lowest levels of happiness compared with the highest IQ group (120- 129)."
Satisfied? Ready to proceed?
This manual is designed to be of value to everyone, of any age, anywhere. The data can help readers from a multiplicity of backgrounds; it can guide you if:
* You are an expectant parent who wants to optimize prenatal and infancy cognitive conditions for your offspring
* You want to assist your school age children in academic success
* You are an adult who wants to boost your intellectual strength
* You are 55+ years old and you don't want your brainpower to dwindle, via Alzheimer's, dementia, etc.
* You are a policy-maker for a governmental organization that provides mental health or educational guidance to a community.
What's my goal?
I want to improve the average IQ of humans everywhere on Earth. Let's utilize what we've learned about brain health, by promoting social policies that elevate IQ. This will enable us to uplift humanity and create an improved future.