• The Overflowing Brain:Information Overload and the Limits of Working Memory by Torkel Klingburg


  • Research conducted by Harvard.

A program was drawn up by teachers and scientists to train thirteen and fourteen years old schoolchildren in "observation skills and classification, deductive or inductive reasoning, critical use of language, problem solving, inventiveness and decision making." The experimental group comprised 463 pupils who tool special classes for full academic year, and the control group of 432 pupils, who received the normal curriculum. A large number of tests done before and after the study period to measure general intellectual functions, such as problem solving and logical reasoning.

The results were very positive for most of the tests. The group that had received the special training improved their mean performance by roughly 10 percent. Put more crassly, this means that, accounting for the normal yearly progress of the control group, the experimental group increased its IQ by 10 percent. It also seemed as if all pupils improved to the same extent, irrespective of age, sex and initial test results, implying that the special education was not only of benefit to those who scored low on the pre-study test.

Another example of the effects of training is a study showing how Israeli underachievers could improve their IQs by taking a problem solving course knows as instrumental enrichment. Interestingly enough, the differences between the experimental group and the control group did not disappear once the training had come to an end. In fact, the effects of the training escalated from year to year. This can be interpreted as the result of a positive feedback loop - improved abilities give more intellectual stimulation, which in turn fuels the abilities. A child who improves his problem solving skills will find it easier to do his math homework. This will encourage him to spend more time with math, which in turn will bring about an even greater improvement of his problem solving skills. One they have undergone intensive training programs, children become more effective readers; they consequently spend ore time reading every day, which in turn hones their reading skills even more.

Project Intelligence: R J Hernstein, RS Nickerson, M de Sanchez et al., Teaching Thinking Skills" American Psychologist 41 page 1283

The Israeli training study: R Feuerstein, MB Hoffman, Y Rand et al, Learning to Learn: Mediated Experiences and Instrumental Enrichment, Special Services in the Schools, 39 pages 49-82