Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

The Hired Girl

Laura Amy Schlitz

Raise your IQ with the Dual N-back Exercise

Raise your IQ with the Dual N-back Exercise
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When it comes to brain power, more is better. Good thing you’re not stuck with what you have. A team of British researchers have confirmed that you can actually increase your IQ, and that your brain will respond to this increase by changing its structure. Talk about the ultimate feat of re-programming.

Where to begin? A boost in your IQ is as close as the nearest computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Play this game

Games of strategy, like chess, have long been thought to have a positive effect on IQ— like any intellectual activity that involves logic and reasoning. Yet no one’s actually proven as much in a laboratory setting.

But there is one game that’s been shown to increase IQ. By how much? In one test, by an average of 16 percent with just 15 minutes daily game-playing for a month. In another, by an average of 40 percent after study participants played the game for 25 minutes a day over a period of just 19 days.

60second Einstein: The Dual N-Back Exercise

Yes, that’s what the game’s called: the “Dual N-Back Exercise.” If that doesn’t sound like a great name for a game, maybe that’s because it’s not a great game. In fact, it’s not a lot of fun, even though it can be weirdly habit-forming. Then again, what’s a 40 percent increase in your IQ worth to you?

diagram of dual n-back exercise with a lookback of two steps

Here's how the Dual N-back Exercise works. But be prepared: Just reading this might raise your IQ. Just writing it definitely raised ours. Ready?

OK. Envision something that looks like a tic-tac-toe board on your computer screen. A colored square appears every few seconds in a different part of the board. You hear a random letter spoken with the appearance of each colored square.

Your mission: When prompted, do two things. First, identify whether the square you see is in the same location as the square you saw several appearances ago. And you’ll also have to decide whether the letter you hear spoken is the same letter you heard spoken the same number of appearances ago.

Maybe it sounds easy enough for two appearances (the “N” in “N-Back” refers to the number of appearances back you’re supposed to remember). But how about five? Or 20? Here’s a link to the Dual N-Back exercise so you can find out for yourself.

Now that you've got that Ferrari engine-of-a-brain revving, make sure it's got the fuel it needs to run at peak potential: High octane eats for the mind-on-the-go.

How many "Ns" have you conquered in "N-back"? Let us know!

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