Improving fluid intelligence with training on working memory
Susanne M. Jaeggi*†‡, Martin Buschkuehl*†‡, John Jonides*, and Walter J. Perrig.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 May 13; 105(19): 6829–6833.
Published online 2008 April 28: http://alumni.media.mit.edu/~adamb/papers/jaeggi.pdf
*Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, East Hall, 530 Church Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1043; and †Department of Psychology, University of Bern, Muesmattstrasse 45, 3012 Bern, Switzerland.
Intelligence is a controversial concept – being very difficult to define. Recently, researchers have been interested in a concept called “Fluid Intelligence” – which refers to the ability to reason and solve problems in new situations, without relying on previous experience or knowledge. This particular form of intelligence has been linked with professional success and is considered highly important to learning.
A question often asked about cognitive training is whether it helps improve performance in new situations (called transfer) – and not just in the training exercises themselves.
This study by MIT presents evidence that rigorous training of working memory transfers to tasks that are completely different, that require fluid intelligence. This strong training effect was not affected by any individual differences in intelligence.
Another interested aspect of this study is how the amount of training affected the degree of improvement. This further strengthens the case that cognitive training can help improve important aspects of intelligence needed for succeeding achieving our personal best!