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Boost Your IQ for $75
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boost your iq brain

You may wonder why I have stooped to the filthy practice of ripping off the gullible public. Although described as gullible, they are bright enough to know that there is advantage to being brighter, and are willing to pay for intelligence boosting techniques. Their gullibility, such as it is, is based on believing that most people are honest, and that nice people would not be offering brain training unless it honestly conferred an advantage.

As we know only too well, these training techniques don’t work, and at best have only very limited and circumscribed benefits. Furthermore, there are so many salesmen offering such training courses that you may wish to restrain me not on moral grounds but simply because my efforts will be wasted. The most plausible salesmen, traffickers in hope, have already got the ear of governments, and ready access to taxpayer’s funds, so I am far too late to make my millions.

Thank you, but in this case the $75 is going the other way. That is to say, will intelligence test-taking performance increase if people are paid $75 to do well on the test? This is an interesting question, because critics of intelligence testing have argued that some groups get low scores because they are not interested in the test, and can’t see the point of solving the problems. Perhaps so, although if you don’t get motivated by trying to solve problems that might be diagnostic in itself.

Gilles Gignac decided to have a look at this argument, seeing whether the offer of winning $75 Australian dollars boosted intelligence test scores in university students. For once, I am not too bothered by the subjects being university students, because they tend to have modest funds and healthy appetites. $75 buys 30 tinnies of beer, or 13 bottles of cheapish wine. Enough said.

A moderate financial incentive can increase effort, but not intelligence test performance in adult volunteers. Gilles E. Gignac, School of Psychology, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia, Australia
British Journal of Psychology (2018)
OI:10.1111/bjop.12288

https://sci-hub.tw/10.1111/bjop.12288

The setup was detailed, using a counter-balance design, and the end results are pretty clear:

We conducted an experiment with 99 adult volunteers who completed a battery of intelligence tests under two conditions: no financial incentive and financial incentive (counterbalanced). We also measured self-reported test-taking importance and effort at time 1 and time 2. The financial incentive was observed to impact test-taking effort statistically significantly. By contrast, no statistically significant effects were observed for the intelligence test performance scores. Finally, the intelligence test scores were found to correlate positively with both test-taking importance (rc=.28) and effort (rc=.37), although only effort correlated uniquely with intelligence (partial rc=.26). In conjunction with other empirical research, it is concluded that a financial incentive can increase test-taking effort. However, the potential effects on intelligence test performance in adult volunteers seem limited.

There is one set of tasks where being paid to do them seems to have an effect. These are simple, repetitive processing tasks, as shown in Table 1 below.

Boost IQ 75

By the way, this is not to say that processing tasks are a bad measure of intelligence. Under normal circumstances they work fine, but they can be influence by rewards in a way that more g loaded tasks cannot be.

Conclusion

Clear evidence for the contention that intelligence test scores are, to some appreciable degree, invalid due to individual differences in test-taking motivation remains to be reported, at least for adult volunteer samples. Consequently, the substantial validity coefficients reported in the literature supporting the interpretation of IQ scores may not be as biased upwardly as some have suggested, based on analyses of non-adult samples (e.g., Duckworth et al., 2011). As absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, we encourage more research to help understand precisely why test-taking motivation and intelligence test scores are correlated positively in both children and adults.

One reason why test-taking motivation is correlated with intelligence test scores may be that bright people like solving problems. If they have to take a test, they look forward to it, knowing they usually do well, and are interested in finding out precisely how well they do. Less able students don’t like tests, and particularly get discouraged when they relate to difficult subjects.

 
• Category: Science 
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  1. I was expecting an advertisement for racetams and other nootropics. In any event, people these days are as likely to be interested in maintaining brain function as improving it.

    The Russians have a nootropic called Semax which is legal in Ukraine, but hard to get here in the US.

    So I use a pinch of theanine and a pinch of aniracetam in the morning coffee along with some liquid B12. Seems to help.

  2. res says:

    I suspect you (and Gignac) are generally right about this, but I am bothered that I saw no discussion of restriction of range in this paper. Undergraduates are good subjects in terms of motivation, but IMHO they make a poor sample here because they are biased towards higher IQ and towards familiarity with taking tests.

    Have you reviewed Duckworth et al. (2011) anywhere? http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1018601108
    The major difference there is it is largely based on children. Any thoughts on how that might impact results?

    This seems especially relevant:

    The effect of incentives was greater for individuals of below-average baseline IQ: Qbetween(1) = 9.76, P = 0.002. In 23 samples with IQ scores below the mean, the effect size was large: g = 0.94 (95% CI = 0.54, 1.35). In contrast, in 23 samples of above-average IQ, the effect was small: g = 0.26 (95% CI = 0.10, 0.41). A similar analysis in which baseline IQ scores (available for 43 of 46 samples) were treated as a continuous moderator indicated that a 1 SD increase in IQ is associated with about two-thirds of an SD decrease in the effect of incentives: b = −0.04, P < 0.001.

    Also this, though the effect size for large incentives is big enough to make me suspicious.

    As predicted, a systematic dose–response relationship was observed between incentive size and IQ score gain: Qbetween(2) = 28.95, P < 0.001. Excluding three samples for which incentive size was not reported, large incentives produced a very large effect [g = 1.63 (95% CI = 1.15, 2.10)], whereas medium [g = 0.58 (95% CI = 0.37, 0.79)] and small [g = 0.16 (95% CI = −0.09, 0.41)] incentives produced smaller effects.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  3. Hubbub says:

    Only $75? What a deal! My check’s in the mail – Priority Rush, please!

  4. @res

    Thanks. Restriction of range might decrease a correlational study, but if motivation is a major factor then there should be an increase even in a group of above average people. I think Duckworth’s findings are consistent with some effects on those who have been discouraged because they know they aren’t very good at solving things. However, that doesn’t invalidate all intellectual and scholastic tests on them.

    • Replies: @res
  5. res says:
    @James Thompson

    However, that doesn’t invalidate all intellectual and scholastic tests on them.

    Agreed. One of my concerns is for identifying ability in places where it is relatively uncommon and may even be actively discouraged. One way of doing that might be to look for children who have ever scored well and giving them additional, incentivized, testing to see whether that time was a fluke. Any other ideas?

    Another concern is the issue of getting better baselines for looking at things like IQ potential (e.g. post-Flynn effect and fully motivated) and how that relates to country potential. I suspect the best way to do this will end up being PGS. Seeing a major disconnect between IQ PGS (once they reach, say, the accuracy of height PGS) and test results seems like a good place to try environmental interventions. Of course, it is very likely this would be politically impossible.

  6. dearieme says:

    “Boost Your IQ for $75″ is not too different from the rubbish we were told as schoolboys – Latin will teach you to think more clearly. It was dishonest too: what they really meant was that you won’t get into university unless you’ve passed your Latin exams.

    As for the motivation test – seems OK to me. It has the advantage that I don’t think the result is bleedin’ obvious in advance.

  7. hyperbola says:

    With 99 volunteers does this study fall in the 50% of psychology studies that are reproducible. Even the abstract seems to have obvious contrdictions

    the intelligence test scores were found to correlate positively with both test-taking importance (rc=.28) and effort (rc=.37), although only effort correlated uniquely with intelligence (partial rc=.26).

    The financial incentive was observed to impact test-taking effort statistically significantly. By contrast, no statistically significant effects were observed for the intelligence test performance scores.

  8. Realist says:
    @dearieme

    Einstein never took an IQ test, so his IQ is unknown.

    • Replies: @dearieme
    , @Father O'Hara
  9. dearieme says:
    @Realist

    That’s what I assumed. I did once see an “expert” estimate JFK’s IQ as 150. He had taken a test: 119. He’d just have squeezed into the second top class at my secondary school. In those days that meant that he would have been seen as not remotely university material.

    • Replies: @Realist
  10. Anon[275] • Disclaimer says:

    There’s a whole genre of similar non-replicable studies about women or blacks taking STEMy tests or IQ tests after being told that “their kind” tend not to do so well on them, or alternately, tend to do well. The discredited theory of “stereotype threat” is this kind of thing.

    On the other hand, what do you think about the recent ambient temperature study: that a hot room lowers IQ test results? Since the range of temperatures was within the range you might find in classrooms domestically and especially internationally, it made me think that simple physical discomfort might need to be taken into account during intelligence tests.

    • Replies: @FKA Max
  11. As we know only too well, these training techniques don’t work, and at best have only very limited and circumscribed benefits.

    Someone once lent me a book by H. J. Eysenck that consisted of IQ tests. As I worked through the book, I found my scores improved – and not by a small amount.

    Should it be a surprise that experience in answering the type of questions used in these tests leads to an improvement in score? Has IQ testing methodology improved since Eysenck’s day?

    • Replies: @James Thompson
    , @dearieme
  12. Realist says:
    @dearieme

    That’s what I assumed. I did once see an “expert” estimate JFK’s IQ as 150. He had taken a test: 119. He’d just have squeezed into the second top class at my secondary school. In those days that meant that he would have been seen as not remotely university material.

    And Kennedy may well have not been university material….his daddy had money. Same as now.
    The problem with ‘expert’ estimates of IQ is if they liked an individual’s personality or politics they gave them a high score, otherwise not so much.

  13. @James N. Kennett

    One can “teach to the test” in both intellectual and scholastic tests. The real test is if you do better on other, and different types of test. So, if repeated practice on matrices-type tests led to a high score on the verbal Similarities test, about categorizing, then that would be interesting. Doesn’t happen.

    • Replies: @James N. Kennett
  14. dearieme says:
    @James N. Kennett

    Eysenck always said that a bit of practice would improve your score on an IQ test but that the effect would soon saturate. He advocated that all people taking an important test – such as the old English “11 plus” – be given a useful amount of practice.

  15. @James Thompson

    In other words, you can’t really boost your IQ but you can game the IQ test. $15 for a book of tests that will boost your result by 15 points is not a bad deal!

  16. FKA Max says:
    @Anon

    On the other hand, what do you think about the recent ambient temperature study: that a hot room lowers IQ test results?

    The Scientific Case For Cold Showers
    Chilly water increases blood circulation, releases endorphins, and could make you a more productive human—if you can handle it.

    [MORE]

    A 2007 study https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17993252 published by a molecular biologist named Nikolai Shevchuk found evidence that cold showers can help treat depression symptoms, and, if used regularly, might even be more effective than prescription antidepressants. “The mechanism that can probably explain the immediate mood-lifting effect of immersion in cold water or cold shower is probably the stimulation of the dopaminergic transmission in the mesocorticolimbic and nigrostriatal pathway,” Shevchuk said in a 2008 podcast with Neuroscene. “These dopaminergic pathways are known to be involved in the regulation of emotions. There is a lot of research linking these brain areas to depression.”

    https://www.fastcompany.com/3043767/the-scientific-case-for-cold-showers

    What a cold shower does to you

    – Your body responds to the initial shock of the temperature by quickening your breath. The goal is to deliver more oxygen to the heart, which has to pump a little harder because the cold makes blood vessels constrict and increases blood pressure. Your brain, however, ends up getting extra oxygen, too, not just because you’re taking in more air, but because the body redirects blood flow away from outer blood vessels and into deeper ones as a way to minimize heat loss and protect your organs.
    – Receptors in your skin interact with peripheral nerve endings to send electrical impulses to the brain. Research indicates that this activity stimulates the areas of the brain responsible for regulating mood, causing an increase in neurotransmitters. Levels of certain stress hormones, such as noradrenaline, also go up.

    https://www.inc.com/wanda-thibodeaux/science-says-do-this-in-the-shower-to-supercharge-your-day.html

    Mr. Thompson,

    I think this could be a great and fun study design. IQ test people who took a cold shower before taking the test and compare their results to a control group who did not take a cold shower before taking the test.

    This technique/strategy could/would, basically and potentially, boost one’s IQ for free.

  17. @Realist

    He obviously had a high IQ,but his work wasn’t really based on IQ,but on a more subconscious inspiration type of thinking,was it not? More creative than logical. Amirite?

    • Replies: @Realist
  18. Realist says:
    @Father O'Hara

    He obviously had a high IQ,but his work wasn’t really based on IQ,but on a more subconscious inspiration type of thinking,was it not?

    Yes, his IQ was very high. My point was we don’t know how high. Strong reasons for his success were his inquisitiveness, intuitiveness, imagination and intelligence. He used mathematics as a tool…not a basis for his theories. This is something missing in most of today’s physicists, and I feel the main reason for the lack of success in current physics. Many theories in physics today are formed from equations devoid of physical logic giving such nonsensical concepts as string theory and emergent gravity theory among others.

  19. dearieme says:

    Einstein seems to me to have chosen his field remarkably well. He was not good enough at maths ever to be a mathematician (as he said himself) and there’s no sign he could ever have been an experimental physicist. Theoretical physics suited him to perfection.

    Although lots of people enjoy pointing out that Special Relativity was much less original than he liked to boast, as far as I know General Relativity came as a complete revelation to physicists, out of the blue.

    As a theoretical physicist he seems to me to come second only to Newton, ahead even of Maxwell. What is perhaps more striking is that in an era with armies of theoretical physicists, when science has become a set of mass production trades, there has been nobody since that you’d mention in the same breath. And yet it’s been a century since his great work.

    By the way, I learnt only recently that he never did manage to come up with a successful proof of E = mc^2. Happily other people did.

  20. Thomm says:

    The thing about this is, you have to be smart enough to use these techniques on the test.

    Since White Trashionalists have IQs of 70, this won’t help them go any higher than 70, because there is nothing to work with.

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