For centuries, researchers believed it was impossible to improve our intelligence. That intelligence was something unchangeable and inherent. But a study called dual n-back is debunking this theory once and for all.
Researchers used to believe only skills such as processing speed could be improved through brain training. The counterargument to this assumption comes from researchers at the University of Michigan who set out to analyze the question:
Is it possible to improve your IQ?
Dr. Susanne Jaeggi and her team all agree: Our intelligence can be trained!  They delivered the counterevidence to previous scientific hypotheses. Their tests were based on the challenging but effective exercise named dual n-back. This exercise helps us to train our memory, which influences our fluid intelligence. The fluid intelligence is part of our general intelligence. The following skills are operated by our fluid intelligence:
About 70 grown-ups participated in the dual n-back study. At first, they had to complete a pre-test (IQ-test) to measure their fluid intelligence. The pre-test is suitable for measuring fluid intelligence. To draw comparative conclusions, there was a group that did not follow through with any training, while another group trained with this exercise for 8 to 19 days.
After the training, the participants’ intelligence was once again tested. The results were positive. The group that had been training achieve better results in the intelligence test than the group that hadn’t been training. The results also showed that those that had been training for a longer time, achieved better results than those that had only been training for a short amount of time. Thus, the increase of fluid intelligence depends on how long of a time span a person trains. More training days led to a more an increase in IQ.
The fact that fluid intelligence can be improved has been supported by many follow-up studies, e.g. a large-scale brain training study at the Max-Planck-Institute for Human Development.
Whether it is at school, at work, and in our everyday life. The n-back training concept offers great potential for the improvement of brain performance.
How to play Dual n-back?
The test is called dual n-back. N-back is a memory test where n refers on how many previous stimuli will be remembered. Dual n-back test your verbal auditory stimulus and spatial visual stimulus at the same time. Two memory tests are run at the same time and previous auditory and spatial targets are to be remembered.
The Dual N-Back game field is a square separated into 9 smaller squares with lines (3×3).
During the game, the image is shown in one of the game squares.
Your task is to identify a match of the current position of the image to the position shown one (or two) step earlier. If there was a match, press the corresponding match key. Same thing for the auditory letters. Just listen and try to remember the letters from the previous steps.