What Does Make Kids Smarter?

(Besides Reading & Playing & No/Low TV)

Brain Exercise

"From the perspective of our brain, learning and doing are just two different verbs that refer to the same mental process."

But brain researchers have discovered that when we consciously develop new habits, we create parallel synaptic paths, and even entirely new brain cells, that can jump our trains of thought onto new, innovative tracks.

"Six Ways to Boost Brainpower" - Scientific American Mind (Feb 2009)

Board Games & Math

Learning to juggle boosts brain power at least temporarily

According to some recently published research by Carol Dweck, knowing about brain plasticity makes kids smarter

More on Carol Dweck's Research Showing Impact of Brain Plasticity

From brain-boosting games to vocab-building tricks, we've got all the know-how you need to raise one smart cookie.

Top 10 Websites and Games for Brain Exercise

Mental Exercise for a Better Brain - The Franklin Institute


See tvSmarter's new Playing vs TV page


See tvSmarter's Reading vs TV page

"You can teach an old dog new tricks, say UCLA scientists who found that middle-aged and older adults with little Internet experience were able to trigger key centers in the brain that control decision-making and complex reasoning after just one week of surfing the Web." - Physorg.com (Oct 2009)

"Does absurdist literature make you smarter? Giraffe carpet cleaner, it does!" - Alternet (Dec 2009)  and  Pacific Standard (Sept 2009)

Enriched Environment

"On the other hand, enriched animal environments—enclosures that simulate the complexity of a natural habitat—lead to dramatic increases in both neurogenesis and the density of neuronal dendrites, the branches that connect one neuron to another. Complex surroundings create a complex brain. - SEED Magazine (Feb 2006)

"Both control and SE rats exposed to the enriched environment performed significantly better than the nonenriched group in the water maze." - Neurology (2002)

"If new neurons are being formed every day in our brain, how can we hold onto these cells and not let them simply die away? The answer has been lurking around in the scientific literature since the 1970's when Michael Kaplan reported that an enriched environment enhances the number of new neurons. In animals, placing them in cages full of interesting toys or giving them learning tasks promotes the survival of these newborn cells." - Psycholodgy Today Blog (Jan 2011)

"What do we mean by "enrichment'' for the rats who have served as the animal of choice for most of these studies? Thirty six Long-Evans rats were sorted into three experimental conditions using 12 animals in each group: 1) enriched 2) standard or 3) impoverished environments. All animals had free access to food and water and similar lighting conditions. Eventually, it was determined that animals maintained in their respective environments from the age of 30 days to 60 days developed the most extensive cerebral cortical changes. For the enriched environment, the 12 animals lived together in a large cage ( 70 x 70 x 46 cm) and were provided 5-6 objects to explore and climb upon (e.g., wheels, ladders, small mazes). The objects were changed two to three times a week to provide newness and challenge; the frequent replacement of objects is an essential component of the enriched condition. The combination of "friends'' and "toys'' was established early on by Krech as vital to qualify the experiential environment as "enriched.'' (Krech et al. 1960). For the standard environment, the animals were housed 3 to a small cage ( 20 x 20 x 32 cm) with no exploratory objects. For the impoverished environment, one animal remained alone in a small cage with no exploratory objects."  -  Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências (June 2001)

Parental Involvement

"Over a three-year period, Hart and Risley painstakingly recorded one full hour of every word spoken at home between parent and child in 42 families, with children from 7 months to 36 months of age. The researchers found that the words parents speak directly to their children average from 2,153 words per hour all the way down to 616 words per hour. That may not seem like much, but that could add up to a 30 million word gap by age 3."


More on the 30 Million Word Gap by Age 3

Parents, children lose art of conversation

Studies of high achieving students show that their parents are often much more involved talking to their children about and helping or finding help for homework.

Newly published research in the journal Science confirms that institutionalized orphans placed into foster care have much better intellectual development than those who remain behind. The authors say the results have implications for countries "grappling with how best to care for abandoned, orphaned and maltreated young children."

America's Smallest School: The Family - This Policy Information Report pulls together many of the measures that reflect what goes on outside school and within the realm of the home in terms of educational achievement. Topics include television watching, homework, parent involvement, family resources, absence from school, and reading at home.


"Touch After Birth Boosts Executive Function At Age 10" - Psychology Today  (Dec 2013)

Self-Regulation & Executive Function

Self-discipline is a form of freedom. Freedom from laziness and lethargy, freedom from expectations and demands of others, freedom from weakness and fear. —H.A. Dorfman

"It's not how smart students are but how motivated they are and how they study that determines their growth in math achievement. That's the main finding of a new study that appears in the journal Child Development." - E! Science News  (Dec 2012)

"Games that Improve Kids’ Executive Function (ability to pay attention, remember rules and exhibit self-control)"  -  Play Works (Aug 2012)

"Many large-scale analyses, however, suggest that a mere 25 percent of the differences between individuals in job performance—and a third of the difference in grade point average—can be attributed to IQ (personality factors, creativity and luck are said to contribute to the other 75 percent). Angela Duckworth, a graduate student at Penn who, together with Seligman, has conducted several key studies on grit, argues that the precise number isn't as important as knowing that intelligence accounts for only a fraction of success."  -  Psycholodgy Today (July 2012)

"The Neuroscience Behind the Marshmallow Test"  -  Psycholodgy Today (March 2012)

"Could the Marshmallow Test Be the New Credit Score?"  -  Psycholodgy Today (Dec 2011)

"The Hungry Mind... Hard work does have an enormous impact on achievement, but hard work requires a very special engine. Achievement is built on discipline, but discipline is built on delight in the exhausting processes of learning. There's a pulsing excitement, a fierce determination, a focus that floods one's attention. This drive, partly anticipation, partly curiosity can be called "mind hunger.""  -  Psycholodgy Today (Dec 2011)

"Working memory, housed in the prefrontal cortex, is strongly related to executive control. People with less working memory have poor executive functioning and training working memory improves executive control. Because of this, Katrijn Houben and her colleagues at Maastricht University in the Netherlands set out to test whether strengthening people's working memory might help them control their impulses."  -  Psychology Today (July 2011)

"The books authors go on to describe the enormous behavior differences between children in the Tools classrooms and those in regular classrooms: "From the teachers in the regular classrooms, the principal got reports of extremely disruptive behavior almost every day...but those kinds of reports never came from the Tools classes.""  -  Psychology Today (May 2011)

"In fact, poor children who scored best on measures of self-control were more likely than others to become wealthy in later life."  -  Time.com (Jan 2011)

"Parenting: Do You Want a Gifted or Hard-working Child?" - Psycholodgy Today Blog (Nov 2009)

"They and their classmates are enrolled in Tools of the Mind, a relatively new program dedicated to improving the self-regulation abilities of young children, starting as early as age 3." - The New York Times (Sept 2009)

"The new focus on grit is part of a larger scientific attempt to study the personality traits that best predict achievement in the real world. While researchers have long focused on measurements of intelligence, such as the IQ test, as the crucial marker of future success, these scientists point out that most of the variation in individual achievement - what makes one person successful, while another might struggle - has nothing to do with being smart. Instead, it largely depends on personality traits such as grit and conscientiousness. It's not that intelligence isn't really important - Newton was clearly a genius - but that having a high IQ is not nearly enough." - The Frontal Cortex (August 2009)

"A new study provides further evidence for the important role of mindfulness in self-regulatory success." - Psycholodgy Today Blog (July 2009)

"Early childhood development researchers have discovered that a simple, five-minute self-regulation game not only can predict end-of-year achievement in math, literacy and vocabulary, but also was associated with the equivalent of several months of additional learning in kindergarten." - Science Daily (June 2009)

"Children high on attention - defined as staying focused on a task and persisting at problem solving - had better health as adults, as did children low on distress-proneness" - Psycholodgy Today Blog (May 2009)

"Eight tips to strengthen willpower" - Psycholodgy Today Blog (March 2009)

"Willpower is like a muscle" - Psycholodgy Today (Feb 2009)

"Aspects of personality can be even more important than IQ when it comes to predicting workplace performance and academic success." - BPS Reseach (Oct 2008)

Self-Regulation, Creative Play, and Television - NPR (Feb 2008) via Unplug Your Kids (Feb 2008)  more at  tvSmarter blog (Feb 2008)  see also "Fairies and Philosophy" -  Unplug Your Kids (March 2008)

"Self-regulation Abilities, Beyond Intelligence, Play Major Role In Early Achievement" - Science Daily (March 2007)

"Self-Discipline May Beat Smarts as Key to Success" -  Washington Post (Jan 2006)

"High IQ: Not as good for you as you thought"  -  Cognitive Daily (Dec 2005)

Working Memory

"Working memory is a better predictor of academic success than IQ" - Psychology Today (Dec 2010)

"We tested transfer to measures of working memory (e.g., Reading Span), everyday cognitive functioning [the Test of Everyday Attention (TEA) and the California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT)], and other tasks of interest. Relative to controls, trained participants showed transfer improvements in Reading Span and the number of repetitions on the CVLT. Training group participants were also significantly more likely to self-report improvements in everyday attention. Our findings support the use of ecological tasks as a measure of transfer in an older adult population. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2011 APA, all rights reserved)" - APA Psycnet (June 2011)

"We trained elementary and middle school children by means of a videogame-like working memory task. We found that only children who considerably improved on the training task showed a performance increase on untrained fluid intelligence tasks. This improvement was larger than the improvement of a control group who trained on a knowledge-based task that did not engage working memory; further, this differential pattern remained intact even after a 3-mo hiatus from training." - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (June 2011)


"A researcher from Dartmouth College has found that just 12 minutes of aerobic exercise improves cognitive function in children and adolescents. Interestingly, low-income children and adolescents saw the greatest improvement to both selective visual attention and reading comprehension after bouts of aerobic activity." - Psychology Today (June 2014)

"Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have found more evidence that physical activity is beneficial for brain health and cognition. The findings were published December 2, 2013 online in Behavioural Brain Research. The new study suggests that certain hormones, which are increased during exercise, may help improve memory." - Psychology Today (Dec 2013)

"Scientists Discover Why Exercise Makes You Smarter. Researchers have found an exercise-induced molecule that improves cognition." - Psychology Today (Oct 2013)

"Better Motor Skills Linked to Higher Academic Scores" - Psychology Today (Oct 2013)

"In what may be the most entertaining experiment in the developmental literature, babies who are spun in a chair—20 times twice a week, for a month—score higher on later motor development measures than babies who are not. It only looks like silliness. It is actually vestibular simulation." - Slate (April 2013)  and  Science (June 1977)

"Aerobic fitness linked to better academic performance. " - Psychology Today (Feb 2013)

"Thanks to brain-imaging studies in humans and neurochemical studies in animals, scientists have found evidence that exercise actually makes a stronger brain. Physical exertion induces the cells in the brain to reinforce old connections between neurons and to forge new connections. This denser neuron network is better able to process and store information, essentially resulting in a smarter brain."  -  Psycholodgy Today (June 2012)

"Go for a brisk walk before studying and your memory of the material is likely to benefit."  -  BP Research (Aug 2011)

"Looking for a way to boost your brain? Guess what! The solution may be right at your feet. A moderate amount of walking on a daily basis can help strengthen your brain and maybe even your memory. There's encouraging news from a controlled study on the walking-brain-memory connection in older adults. The research, led by University of Pittsburgh psychologist Kirk Erickson, was published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."  -  Psychology Today Blog (Feb 2011)

"Aerobic exercise may protect against binge-like patterns of cocaine use, suggests a new study. Rats allowed access to running wheels self-administered less cocaine than did rats that were not."  -  Science Daily (Nov 2010)

"The research team discovered that the hippocampus (part of the brain inside the temporal lobe that plays an important part in memory and learning) tended to be significantly larger in the kids who were physically fit. What's more, the fit children performed better on a memory test than youngsters the same age who were out of shape."  -  Natural News (Oct 2010)

"College students who want to boost their grades can start by boosting their level of exercise, new research suggests." - The New York Times (June 2010)

"Children who had the best average scores in standardized tests in reading, math, science and social studies were fit at the start and end of the study, researchers found. The next best group, academically, in all four subjects, was made up of children who were not fit in fifth grade but had become fit by seventh grade. The children who had lost their fitness levels between fifth and seventh grades were third in academic performance. Children who were not physically fit in either the fifth or seventh grades had the lowest academic performance." - Science Daily (March 2010)

"Older women who did an hour or two of strength training exercises each week had improved cognitive function a year later, scoring higher on tests of the brain processes responsible for planning and executing tasks, a new study has found." - The New York Times (Jan 2010)

"Physical Activity May Strengthen Children's Ability To Pay Attention" - Science Daily (April 2009)

"Exercise boosts brainpower by building new brain cells in a brain region linked with memory and memory loss, U.S. researchers reported on Monday." - Reuters (March 2007)

"Allow a laboratory mouse to run as much as it likes, and its brainpower improves. Force it to run harder than it otherwise might, and its thinking improves even more." - New York Times Blogs (Sept 2009)

"Preschool children who were enrolled in a creative dance movement program as part of their Head Start experience had greater gains in social competence and more reductions in behavior problems than children who were given a cognitively-based program of learning to control attention that did not include a body sense component." - Psychology Today (Oct 2009)

"Cardiovascular Fitness is Linked to Intelligence" - Psychology Today (Dec 2009)

"Research Finds Vigorous Exercise Equals Better Academics" - Science Daily (Aug 2006)


"Study ties troubled sleep to lower brain volume " - Raw Story (March 2014)

"Using Sleep to Improve Your Game" - Psychology Today (Oct 2012)

"The researchers found that there was a significant blunting in the ability of those who had been tested while sleep deprived to distinguish between angry and happy facial expressions in the moderate intensity range. This difference disappeared after recovery sleep, and was greater in women than in men." - Psycholodgy Today (March 2010)

"But a new study presented at the 2009 meeting of the Society for Neuroscience shows how disrupting your sleep cycle can interfere with your health and cognitive function... A recent article in the New York Times reported on a study from Stanford showing that sleeping 10 hours a night improved the performance of athletes. The interesting thing about this study was how great everyone felt sleeping 10 hours a day-as if they had never known what their actual potential was when they were sleep-deprived." - Psycholodgy Today (Oct 2009)

"Sleep helps people learn complicated tasks" - E! Science News (Nov 2008)

Healthy Food

"The damage added sugar does to our bodies begins in our brains." - Psychology Today (April 2012)

"Considering all these factors together, we found that dietary omega-3 significantly increased cognitive test scores for both sexes; and the boost was twice as great in girls as in boys.  We also found that having more omega-6 in the diet led to lower test scores in the girls.  For girls with high omega-3 and low omega-6 levels, test scores were fifteen percent higher than those with high omega-6 and low omega-3."  -  Psychology Today (Dec 2011)

"Healthy diets build healthy kids, right? Apparently, a good diet builds a healthy brain as well. According to France 24 International News, toddlers who eat a diet high in processed foods and sugars may have a slightly lower IQ later in life, according to a study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health."  -  Alternet (Feb 2011)

"Junk food and fast food negatively affect the brain's synapses, said Gómez-Pinilla, who eats fast food less often since conducting this research. Brain synapses and several molecules related to learning and memory are adversely affected by unhealthy diets, he said."  -  UCLA Newsroom (July 2008)

"To investigate, she fed one group of rats a diet high in trans fat and compared them with another group fed a diet that was just as greasy but low in trans fat. Six weeks later, she tested the animals in a water maze, the rodent equivalent of a final exam in organic chemistry. "The trans-fat group made many more errors," says Granholm, especially when she used more difficult mazes."  -  Psychology Today (March 2005)


"Researchers in Germany have found that when the human brain is in a resting state—like daydreaming or mind wandering—that patterns of neuronal activity which represent past events reappear spontaneously. The researchers believe that these 'daydream induced' neuronal recurrences are necessary to consolidate short-term memories to long-term memory." - Psychology Today (Dec 2013)

"We don't have to promote either working memory skills or imagination and daydreaming. We can promote both. And in so doing, we are promoting true creativity -- creativity that is both novel and useful." - Psychology Today (Feb 2011)

"Study confirms robust daydreaming and superior intelligence are connected." - Psycholodgy Today (Jan 2010)

"Study confirms robust daydreaming and superior intelligence are connected." - The Frontal Cortex (Sept 2008)


"In this week's post, I want to elaborate on how external incentives such as rewards can hurt motivation in those who are already interested in an activity." - Psycholodgy Today (June 2009)

"Each one of us has stories of the positives and negatives of rewards. Part of the answer lies in whether an individual is motivated to take part in an activity. As we saw last week, if the answer is ‘yes', rewards can be dangerous. If the answer is ‘no', then a reward may be just what the doctor prescribed." - Psycholodgy Today  (July 2009)

"Tom and I were observing a difference between what Jack had learned and what he was motivated to do." - Psycholodgy Today (July 2009)


Arts & Cognition

"The team of multidisciplinary researchers studied a group of MSU Honors College graduates from 1990 to 1995 who majored in science, technology, engineering or mathematics, or STEM. They found of that group, those who own businesses or patents received up to eight times more exposure to the arts as children than the general public. “The most interesting finding was the importance of sustained participation in those activities,” said Rex LaMore, director of MSU’s Center for Community and Economic Development. “If you started as a young child and continued in your adult years, you’re more likely to be an inventor as measured by the number of patents generated, businesses formed or articles published. And that was something we were surprised to discover.” - Michigan State University (Oct 2013)  and  Psychology Today (Oct 2013)

"Most would think that firing the security staff of a poorly performing, inner-city school is a dangerous idea. But at Orchard Gardens pilot school in Roxbury, Mass., eliminating security and replacing it with a corps of art teachers has sparked a dramatic turnaround, NBC News reports." - Huffington Post (May 2013)  and  MSN News (May 2013) 

"The Amateur License: Making a Hobby of Creativity. Amateur arts and crafts affect personal and professional creativity." - Psychology Today (Feb 2010)

George Washington Carver: "Carver's second strategy was to treat the making of all things as something he could and should master. He was a music major in college; he learned to paint so well that his paintings were exhibited at international exhibitions; he made his own paints; he sewed, knitted, and crocheted his own clothes while working his way through school; he took up weaving baskets and rugs and doing woodwork; he mastered botany and agriculture to the extent that he made fundamental contributions to each; and so on. Carver would probably have agreed with the sentiment that there is nothing you can know that isn't useful." - Psychology Today (Aug 2010)

"Arts and crafts underpin innovation in science and technology. Indeed, many scientists and inventors, some among the most eminent, have nurtured their professional creativity with arts and crafts avocations. Statistical studies corroborate the link between arts and crafts practice and scientific creativity." - Psychology Today (May 2010)

"Michael Posner and Brenda Patoine make a neuroscientific case for arts education. They argue that teaching kids to make art has lasting cognitive benefits" - The Frontal Cortex (Nov 2009)

"Arts and Crafts: Keys to Scientific Creativity" - Psychology Today (March 2009)

"Children motivated in the arts develop attention skills and strategies for memory retrieval that also apply to other subject areas." - Science Daily (March 2008)

"Robert Root-Bernstein, Ph.D., a professor of physiology at Michigan State University, recently compared the hobbies of 134 Nobel laureates in chemistry to the hobbies of a control group of scientists in the Sigma Xi society. Root-Bernstein found that the Nobelists were highly accomplished outside the lab. More than half had at least one artistic avocation, and almost all had an enduring hobby, from chess to insect collecting. One-quarter of the Nobelists were musicians, and 18 percent practiced visual arts such as drawing or painting. Writing and poetry were also well represented, especially compared to the Sigma Xi members, among whom less than 1 percent engaged in any hobbies." - Psychology Today (Jan 2003)


"Kids who took music lessons developed better memories for words than kids who took an extra science class or had no extra lessons." - Psychology Today (Jan 2013)  and  Pacific Standard (Jan 2013)

"Doing well on spelling tests isn't the only benefit to music training. It seems that students who have music training do better on their math tests, too. That's what Cheek and Smith found in 1999, when they tested young musicians and non-musicians using the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills. Those 8th graders with at least two years of music lessons performed better on the math portions of the test that those who didn't."  -  Psychology Today (Sept 2011)

"...LeDoux reflects on why so many scientists are drawn to music, and he talks about the benefits that performing music has brought to his own life and work. "Playing music makes me a healthier, happier person," he says. "It not only connects me with others in a unique way, it also makes connections in my own mind, drawing up emotions and thoughts I didn’t know I had.""  -  BP Research (July 2011)

"Many researchers contend that music ranks number 1 when it comes to cognitive enhancement and development--for old and young alike."  -  Psychology Today (May 2011)

"As you might expect, before comparing the groups, the researchers thought to control for every possible condition of importance, including the obvious ones of intelligence, physical exercise, and education. The results provided clear superiority of the highly active musicians in several areas including spatial (nonverbal) memory, processing speed, and cognitive flexibility. The more the years of practice the individual engaged in, the better the cognitive performance."  -  Psychology Today (May 2011)

"In 2004, E. Glenn Schellenberg of the University of Toronto at Mississauga published results from a randomized, controlled study showing that the IQ scores of 72 children who were enrolled in a yearlong music training program increased significantly compared with 36 children who received no training and 36 children who took drama lessons. (The IQ scores of children taking drama lessons did not increase, but these children did improve more than the other groups on ratings of selected social skills." - The Frontal Cortex (May 2010)

"For more long-lasting effects, however, research shows that learning how to make music is more important for positive long-term changes than just listening to music. Music instruction literally changes the brain, possibly increasing the corpus callosum (the bit of the brain that enables cross-talk between the two hemispheres of the brain). Music instruction may increase working memory, and boost specific skills that are directly related to music such as fine motor skill." - Psychology Today (April 2010)

"Musicians have better memory -- not just for music, but words and pictures too" - Cognitive Daily (May 2009)

"Children exposed to a multi-year programme of music tuition involving training in increasingly complex rhythmic, tonal, and practical skills display superior cognitive performance in reading skills compared with their non-musically trained peers, according to a study published in the journal Psychology of Music." - Science Daily (March 2009)

"Adolescents Involved With Music Do Better In School." - Science Daily (Feb 2009)

"A Harvard-based study has found that children who study a musical instrument for at least three years outperform children with no instrumental training—not only in tests of auditory discrimination and finger dexterity (skills honed by the study of a musical instrument), but also on tests measuring verbal ability and visual pattern completion (skills not normally associated with music)." - Science Daily (Nov 2008)

"Children who received at least three years (M = 4.6 years) of instrumental music training outperformed their control counterparts on two outcomes closely related to music (auditory discrimination abilities and fine motor skills) and on two outcomes distantly related to music (vocabulary and nonverbal reasoning skills). Duration of training also predicted these outcomes." - Plos One (Oct 2008)

"Music training, with its pervasive effects on the nervous system's ability to process sight and sound, may be more important for enhancing verbal communication skills than learning phonics, according to a new Northwestern University study." - Science Daily (Sept 2007)

"Researchers have found the first evidence that young children who take music lessons show different brain development and improved memory over the course of a year compared to children who do not receive musical training." - Science Daily (Sept 2006)

"However, the kids who took music lessons did show a significantly greater IQ rise than both the kids in drama lessons or the kids with no lessons." - Cognitive Daily (June 2005)

"It's no secret that exercise improves mood, but new research suggests that working out to music may give exercisers a cognitive boost. Listening to music while exercising helped to increase scores on a verbal fluency test among cardiac rehabilitation patients." - Science Daily (March 2004)

"According to a new study, children with music training had significantly better verbal memory than their counterparts without such training. Plus, the longer the training, the better the verbal memory." - Science Daily (July 2003)

Music and the Mind


A Star Is Made - Deliberate Practice

Deliberate Practice - Frontal Cortex (July 2008)

Memory Training Shown to Turn Up Brainpower

"Mayo Clinic researchers found that healthy, older adults who participated in a computer-based training program to improve the speed and accuracy of brain processing showed twice the improvement in certain aspects of memory, compared to a control group." - Science Daily (Feb 2009)

Simple brain exercise can boost IQ

Plastic Brain Outsmarts Experts: Training Can Increase Fluid Intelligence, Once Thought To Be Fixed At Birth - Science Daily (June 2008)

"Amazingly, students predicted little or no learning improvement would occur with repeated study sessions, yet they actually showed large increases in actual learning with repeated study" - Psycholodgy Today (April 2010)

"A more interactive, discussion- and quiz-based style of university teaching brings dramatic benefits to science learning, according to a new study. The interactive approach takes its inspiration from psychologist Anders Ericsson's theory of "deliberate practice", a highly motivated and thorough form of learning."  -  BP Research (June 2011)

Practice Spread Out Over Months and Years

"Probing the longevity of knowledge, Bahrick tested 1,000 high school graduates to see how well they recalled their algebra. Some had completed the course as recently as a month before, others as long as 50 years earlier. He also determined how long each person had studied algebra, the grade received, and how much the skill was used over the course of adulthood."

"Surprisingly, a person's grasp of algebra at the time of testing did not depend on how long ago he'd taken the course--the determining factor was the duration of instruction. Those who had spent only a few months learning algebra forgot most of it within two or three years."

"In another study, Bahrick discovered that people who had taken several courses in Spanish, spread out over a couple of years, could recall, decades later, 60 percent or more of the vocabulary they learned. Those who took just one course retained only a trace after three years."

""This long-term residue of knowledge remains stable over the decades, independent of the age of the person and the age of the memory. No serious deficit appears until people get to their 50s and 60s, probably due to the degenerative processes of aging rather than a cognitive loss.""

"If you're 30 and want to learn to play the piano, you'd be better off taking one lesson a week for a year than two weekly lessons for six months. And, instead of practicing for seven hours on Sunday afternoons, practice one hour every day.""

- Psychology Today (Nov 1993)

"Adaptive training is a strategic form of study that ensures the learner spends more time focused on material they know less well and less time focused on already mastered material. This means that less familiar material is re-examined more frequently, while better mastered material is gradually left for longer and longer periods." - BPS Research (July 2009)


"Grading college students on quizzes given at the beginning of every class, rather than on midterms or a final exam, increases both attendance and overall performance, scientists reported Wednesday." - The New York Times (Nov 2013)   and  Plos One (Nov 2013) 

"The research, which originally was reported in Science, found that students who took a "retrieval practice" test recalled about 50% more of learned information after a week than students who used other learning methods, including just reading some text, studying a text in four consecutive brief sessions, or doing concept mapping, a much ballyhooed study technique involving drawing detailed diagrams linking ideas together" - Psychology Today (Jan 2011)


Researchers Find Link Between Improved Memory And The Use Of Neurofeedback - Science Daily (Jan 2003)

Researchers Find Way To Improve Musical Performance - Science Daily (Aug 2003)


"Adults assigned to the preschool program were 20 percent more likely to have graduated from high school and 19 percent less likely to have been arrested more than five times. They got much better grades, were more likely to remain married and were less dependent on welfare programs." - Frontal Cortex (July 2010)

"Those adults who did better in preschool were more likely to go to college, were less likely to be single parents, and were more likely to save for retirement than those with similar backgrounds who did not do as well in preschool. Teaching quality turned out to be a particularly important factor in preschool performance. Factors such as class size and the socioeconomic status of peers had an effect on preschool performance, but neither of these factors explained differences in preschool performance as much as good teaching." - Psychology Today (July 2010)


"When scientists began to study expertise, they first assumed that experts must be smarter or more talented than novices, but they quickly learned that the key difference between experts and novices is not mental power, but knowledge. Cognitive psychologists Michelene Chi, Marshall Farr, and Robert Glaser have defined an expert as somebody who has a great deal of highly organized domain-specific knowledge, where a domain is a network of knowledge, such as chess, mathematics, or music. For experts, knowledge has morphed from many pieces into a unified whole." - Psychology Today (Jan 2009)


"New research finds that mindfulness training leads to improved scores in tests of reading comprehension and working memory." - Alternet (April 2013)  and  The New York Times (April 2013)

"Three further studies showed that thinking or writing about their recent or distant ancestors led students to actually perform better on a range of intelligence tests..." - BPS (Dec 2010)

"According to Oscar Ybara, the lead researcher in the study, which will be published in the forthcoming per-reviewed journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, "simply talking to people the way you do when you're making friends, can provide mental benefits." In this study and in previous studies, Ybara contends that positive social interaction boosts the brain's executive function and subsequent performance on a variety of cognitive tasks.The researchers also found that just spending 10 minutes talking to another person improved their memory and performance on cognitive tests." - Psychology Today (Oct 2010)

"Learning to live in another culture has real benefits." - Psychology Today (June 2010)

"Brief Meditative Exercise Helps Cognition" - Science Daily (April 2010)

"How Nonsense Sharpens the Intellect" -  The New York Times (Oct 2009) 

"Learning from Mistakes" - The Frontal Cortex (Oct 2009)

See Multitasking (not multitasking makes you smarter)

See Video Games