Thursday, October 20, 2011

Intelligence in Teenagers Can Increase or Decrease Over Time

I always thought that intelligence was fixed, but apparently there is hope for teenagers (mine included).

Cognitive abilities can increase or decrease during the teenage years and it's important to keep children mentally active and off the couch. I've often "preached" how some people give up on certain kids, but these findings demonstrate how important it is that we challenge every student. Will this affect how you teach?

In the article, As Brain Changes, So Can IQ, published in the Wall Street Journal by Robert Lee Hotz, the author states, "the new findings by researchers at University College London, reported online in Nature, suggest that IQ, often used to predict school performance and job prospects, may be more malleable than previously believed—and more susceptible to outside influences, such as tutoring or neglect." As the article states:
A teenager's IQ can rise or fall as many as 20 points in just a few years, a brain-scanning team found in a study published Wednesday that suggests a young person's intelligence measure isn't as fixed as once thought.

The researchers also found that shifts in IQ scores corresponded to small physical changes in brain areas related to intellectual skills, though they weren't able to show a clear cause and effect.
"If the finding is true, it could signal environmental factors that are changing the brain and intelligence over a relatively short period," said psychologist Robert Plomin at Kings College in London, who studies the genetics of intelligence and wasn't involved in the research. "That is quite astounding.".....
...."An important aspect of the results is that cognitive abilities can increase or decrease," said Oklahoma State University psychometrician Robert Sternberg, a past president of the American Psychological Association who wasn't part of the study. "Those who are mentally active will likely benefit. The couch potatoes among us who do not exercise themselves intellectually will pay a price."
Another great resource on this subject is: Larry Ferlazzo's: The Best Articles On The New Study Showing That Intelligence Is Not “Fixed”

I hope you will take the time to research this subject further:
Nature: Verbal and non-verbal intelligence changes in the teenage brain
The Atlantic: Study of the Day: IQ Rises and Falls During Teenage Years
The BBC: IQ in teenagers 'can change more than thought'
Education Week: Study: Adolescents Can See Dramatic IQ Changes
Science: IQ Is Not Fixed in the Teenage Brain
Science: What Does IQ Really Measure?
The Los Angeles Times: IQ changes in teens as brain changes, study finds
The Wall Street Journal: As Brain Changes, So Can IQ

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