Friday, May 2, 2008

Memory training

Wow, this is radical. Some researchers think they can increase fluid intelligence (the component of IQ which is generally considered to be immutable) by strengthening related neural circuitry. Dosage-dependent, too--the more you practice, the more benefit accrues, up to the point tested (19 days of training). If true, and if this can be done reliably, this is potentially great news--one of the dilemmas America is grappling with is how to ensure that everybody is productive (and feels useful) in a technological economy, and it would be nice to have a backup plan in case those who say that "everybody needs a college education" are actually correct. Raising fluid intelligence would let "everybody" have a college education without needing to lower education standards (for certain approximate values of "everybody").

On the other hand, a story this sensational is subject to distortion, so I don't take it too seriously. As a scientist, that is. As a human being, I wonder if I should be exercising my short-term memory. Actually, I'm tempted to write myself a "memory flashcard" program from the description in the experiment and run it on myself for a while.


"The presentation or 'gift' of the Holy Ghost simply confers upon a man the right to receive at any time, when he is worthy of it and desires it, the power and light of truth of the Holy Ghost, although he may often be left to his own spirit and judgment." --Joseph F. Smith (manual, p. 69)

Be pretty if you are,
Be witty if you can,
But be cheerful if it kills you.

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