Intelligence, they say, is something that all humans are born with. However, there are very persuasive arguments against the claim that all humans are born equal in terms of intelligence. If that were the case, then we’d likely see everyone sharing the same IQ, or intelligence quotient, level.
There are several elements or factors identified that explain the differences in people’s intelligence levels. Some point out genetics, where the offspring of two individuals with superior or above average intelligence is most likely to have the same, or even more superior, level of intelligence than that of his parents. There are schools of thought that say it is also influenced by the type of learning and development that we go through.
Perhaps one of the most persuasive arguments that back up the claim about people having varying levels of intelligence has something to do with intelligence being shaped greatly by genetics and the environment. This is the concept of “nature and nurture”.
By definition, intelligence refers to one’s capacity for learning, reasoning, understanding, and other similar forms of mental activity. It describes your ability to learn, understand, and process information, and even how you deal with new and even unfamiliar situations.
Some might say that intelligence also pertains on how you acquire knowledge but, in essence, how you apply that knowledge you have acquired is actually the part that fits the definition of intelligence.
Ask psychologists what intelligence is, and they’d probably launch into a long and seemingly complex discussion about your general cognitive problem-solving skills, followed by an even lengthier discussion on the several types or components of human intelligence. But that topic is for another day. For now, our focus is on intelligence as a human cognitive potential, and how it can be boosted or maximized.
We mentioned about intelligence being based on both nature AND nurture. The “nature” aspect holds that intelligence has a hereditary angle to it. Yes, it is inherited, and it is present in the natural genetic make-up of our bodies from the time we were conceived. However, the moment we are born, we start to interact with the outside world, and the numerous external factors on it. This is where the “nurture” part comes in.
Nurture takes into account how environmental influences – whether biological or socio-cultural – can shape and mold intelligence. Our intelligence levels are affected by our exposure to other people, to various circumstances, access to and availability of various resources and opportunities, and every single effort we consciously put into harnessing our intelligence.
What does this mean? Basically it is telling us that, even if you were born way “behind” other people in terms of your inherent intelligence, you can definitely “catch up” and probably even surpass them through nurturing your intelligence. We may not have been born equally intelligent, but we can do something to actually make it so.
Now, how can we “nurture” intelligence? You can probably come up with a long list of the things that you can do in order to maximize your cognitive potential and boost your intelligence. Go to school. Challenge yourself with new learning experiences. Constantly seeking knowledge.
But did you know that playing games has also been touted as one of the ways that can help boost your intelligence?
Yes, you read that right. Playing games can help you become more intelligent. But here’s the catch: to get the best results out of “playing”, you have to choose the games that you play. For your aim, which is to increase your intelligence level, we suggest you focus on playing intelligence games.
WHAT ARE INTELLIGENCE GAMES?
Brain teasers. Puzzles. Riddles. Logic quizzes and exercises.
You’ve probably heard of some, or all, of these before. You’ve probably even played them at least once in your life. You may not know it, but you may even play them on a regular basis.
These, my friends, are just some of the known forms or types of intelligence games. In fact, it is even safe to say that intelligence games include problem-solving exercises ‘in disguise’, meaning they are brain and mental exercises designed in the guise of entertaining you and letting you have fun in the process. Pretty smart, eh?
Playing intelligence games is seen as one of the more creative ways of boosting your cognitive potential. If you play them often (and properly, too) enough, you’d be able to enhance your intelligence levels.
To put it simply, intelligence games are those games that “exercise the brain” and, through that “exercise”, improve your intelligence.
You’ve heard of strategy games instrumental in improving one’s strategic thinking. It is that same principle that applies when it comes to intelligence games. The big question is this: how do these intelligence games work in giving your intelligence a boost?
INTELLIGENCE GAMES AND YOUR IQ
So we have established that there is a connection between playing games and your intelligence. What connection is that? How, exactly, can games help boost your intelligence?
Before we dive straight into that, it is important to recognize the distinction between crystallized intelligence and fluid intelligence, the two types of intelligence identified by psychologist Raymond Cattell.
Fluid intelligence is the ability to solve new problems and deal with new situations through the use of logic. Your ability to identify patterns and establish trends falls under this category. Cattell calls this your street smarts, so if you are someone who can navigate well using a map, or can easily familiarize yourself with a subway or transport system after just one or two uses, then you have high fluid intelligence.
Crystallized intelligence, on the other hand, is your ability to use the knowledge you have learned and the experiences you have gone through. This usually takes a length of time: you acquire knowledge, and with continuous application, you become adept or good at it, until it stabilizes or “crystallizes”. The knowledge you learned in school, and its application outside of school and later on in life, is a good example of crystallized intelligence.
Playing intelligence games helps in boosting both types of intelligence. They help boost your problem-solving abilities (fluid) as well as how you learn and improve along the way (crystallized).
Quizzes are undoubtedly the most straightforward form of brain games. Questions are asked, and you’d have to answer them correctly. But there are other forms or types of intelligence games that you can give a try.
Puzzles and Riddles
Puzzles and riddles are mostly logic-driven, meaning you have to draw on your logical well in order to solve them. Mazes, for example, may seem too elementary, but they can actually provide quite the exercise for the brain.
Riddles and trick questions also encourage you to think deeper and also strategize. Crossword puzzles and Sudoku are good examples of puzzles.
A huge part of your brain power has something to do with your memory, and there are a lot of intelligence games developed around this concept.
For example, you must have played matching games before. You’ll look at several pairs of images arranged randomly, and you’ll have to use your memory to match the images with their correct pairs.
There are also those types of games where the player will get one chance to take a look at several items, images, or shapes for a limited amount of time. When time’s up, the images are hidden, and the player will recall where they were located. Or the player will be asked to arrange the images in correct sequence based on his memory alone.
In a study where University of Michigan’s Dr. Susanne Jaggi Dual N-Back to boost memory power, it was revealed that players who regularly played the game for at least 25 minutes every day saw a 4-point increase in their IQ score.
Did you notice how some people are more gifted when it comes to word knowledge and vocabulary? It’s not just because they are read a lot, because it is also possible that they get to expand their word arsenal and vocabulary through playing word games. You’ll be surprised at the number of new words you will encounter for the first time if you are playing a word game.
Perhaps the most popular word game that is known to improve brain power is Scrabble. Other familiar games in this grouping include Word Search, Vocabulary games also fall under this category, and the prime example is the crossword puzzle.
Surprised to see this category among this list of types of intelligence games? Don’t be. Despite many arguments on the contrary, playing video games can actually be educational for kids and adults alike. Video games do have cognitive benefits, improving an individual’s basic mental abilities, such as concentration, perception, memory, and problem-solving.
Video games are likely to be included under the intelligence games category if their gameplays are designed to solicit keen attention from the players, and require them to employ strategy and quick-thinking.
HOW INTELLIGENCE GAMES CAN BOOST YOUR IQ
The benefits of playing intelligence games, as enumerated and discussed below, will contribute in the development and enhancement of your cognitive abilities and skills. Let’s get into the “how” of it.
1. Enhanced Visual Awareness
Observation is, arguably, one of the first ways for a person to acquire information and knowledge. Playing intelligence games – or games, in general – boosts one’s power of observation and, in the process, improves his visual awareness.
Visual acuity is vastly improved, so he is likely to be able to notice even the smallest detail. This improved vision will come in handy when it comes to even the most basic thinking processes.
In the research conducted by Eichenbaum, Bavelier and Green making use of action video games, the first cognitive benefit is the improvement in an individual’s basic visual processes, specifically contrast sensitivity, or the ability to distinguish even the most subtle differences in shades of the color gray.
2. Enhanced Levels of Attention
In the case of action video games that require vigilance of players and often necessitate split-second decisions to be made, one of the biggest benefits is enhanced spatial attention.
Even in the midst of a chaotic scene in a video game, you will be able to locate your target and keep track of it if it is in motion. You can train yourself to be more focused by playing an intelligence game that specifically aims at improving focus.
There was even a study where children with dyslexia showed vast improvement when they were made to play video games for at least 12 hours. This was credited to how the game commanded the visual attention of the subjects.
3. Enhanced Control and Flexibility
Being impulsive, especially in making decisions, is hardly what anyone would call an “intelligent” move. For example, playing video games will make you more visually adept, but you will also be more rational when deciding how to respond to the visual stimulus. Impulsiveness is reduced, and this will facilitate better decision-making.
Multi-tasking is another skill trained by intelligence games. This is most clearly demonstrated in the case of video games, where your attention is divided among controlling a joystick or a console, the action happening on the screen, and the commands that must be executed. The ability to multi-task is primarily spurred by the development of long-term focus, thanks to intelligence games.
If you are in control, you also become more flexible. Mental flexibility is enhanced, so you are able to switch between and among conflicting and demanding tasks.
4. Improved Memory
Memory games are excellent for training – what else? – memory. Granted, it is mostly the short-term memory that is trained in matching games, for example, but in the long run this makes your memory sharper and definitely more receptive to further training.
Thanks to memory games, you’ll be more able to retain more information in a short period of time.
5. Enhanced Analytical Skills
It’s a no-brainer, really. If you have enhanced focus and concentration, and your memory is sharp so you can be more efficient when you multi-task, then you’re in the best position to perform analysis and other thinking processes.
Decision-making also becomes faster, since you are able to process information faster, and you can use logic and reasoning more effectively.
6. Enhanced General Knowledge
Puzzles, quizzes and riddles can be founts of new and general information, which you can tuck away for future reference. Aside from that, puzzles are excellent ways to boost your vocabulary as well as improving your spelling and logic skills.
Take crossword puzzles and codewords, for example. These intelligence games are a source of various bits of information, and can add to what you already know.
TIPS ON MAXIMIZING THE BENEFITS OF INTELLIGENCE GAMES
Now you might be thinking along these lines: “I just spent the past several days playing every intelligence game I could find. That should be enough to give me a higher IQ on my next IQ test”. Or “I should just forget about reading my lessons or going to the library to the study, since I can raise my intelligence just be playing intelligence games”.
Well, there’s playing, and there is playing. Yes, it is also highly possible to play all intelligence games known to man and still find yourself dissatisfied with your level of cognitive potential the next time you tried to measure your intelligence. There is no 100% guarantee that solely playing intelligence games will boost your IQ or, even if it did raise it, there is no absolute certainty that that high level will be sustained.
It still needs a lot of work and effort. Here, let’s go over some tips that will allow you to maximize the intelligence-boosting of these types of games.
Train your brain often.
Or, at least, as regularly as you can, or as the circumstances allow. Practice, after all, makes perfect. Even the most skilled person can be rusty at something if he does not get to train or apply it on a regular basis.
What does this mean? It simply means that you should play intelligence games as often as you can. Make it a point to exercise your brain with these games as a way of giving your intelligence a regular training or workout.
If you have a busy schedule every day at work or at school, allotting several minutes during your break time, or after dinner, or before going to bed, will be a good start. Some may even choose to start their day with it. Sit down with a cup of coffee and the day’s paper, and try to answer the daily crossword.
A game of Sudoku after lunch is also a good way to avoid the effects of post-lunch food coma and ward off sleepiness during siesta hours, as some Latin countries call it.
Sometimes, complacency can be your downfall. You become too comfortable that you no longer feel inclined to put effort into something. So you scored really high on the latest IQ test you took; does that mean you’re going to be contented with that result? You already scored high, so there is no longer a point to learning or trying to boost your intelligence.
Well, keep in mind that intelligence levels are not constant. Just as it can be improved, it can also deteriorate, especially if you leave your brain in a stagnant state. If you’re smart, you’d find ways to further challenge yourself. You won’t stop looking for tougher hurdles to cross. As a simple example, let us say that you have a big book of crossword puzzles. You went through all the EASY ones.
The next logical step would be to work through all the puzzles rated with MEDIUM difficulty. Once you’re done, challenge yourself further by going for the HARD or DIFFICULT crossword puzzles.
Go to the next level when you could. There will come a point where you’d master crossword puzzles. What should you do next? Find another game more challenging than crossword.
Choose the games that you play.
Sometimes, it’s not just about how you play; it’s also about what you play. There are intelligence games that are worth your while, while there are some that… well, aren’t.
Depending on your level of intelligence, you might find some games to be boring or not challenging enough. That’s fine; it simply means you should look for more challenging ones.
That’s why there is a need to be picky with how you choose the intelligence games that you will play.
- Seek novelty. There are games that have so many similarities that they start to feel the same. This results to monotony, and you’ll be stuck with the same strategies and gameplay responses for every intelligence game you play. The great thing about the internet being there as a source of intelligence games is the wide variety on offer. Game developers seem to be creating new games every day, using various platforms, and this is definitely to the advantage of game lovers everywhere.
- Pay attention to the level of difficulty. Trust me, you will be bored if you are used to solving HARD crossword puzzles then you move on to solving the EASY level ones. Choose the intelligence games that will pose a challenge for you. The more challenging it is, the more motivated you will be in playing.
- Take advantage of technology. Again, this is related to the role the internet played with respect to how people now play games. Brain exercises and games can now be found on different platforms and compatible with various devices, allowing you more flexibility. You can even play these logic and intelligence games for free. That means you can play anywhere at any time, as long as you have the proper device and you also have connectivity.
Socialize through the intelligence games.
A huge contributing factor to one’s intelligence is interaction. Networking through intelligence games has its merits.
Socializing through intelligence games offer the advantage of exposing you to interactive situations, where you are likely to be faced with the unfamiliar and the unexpected. It is during these situations where you will be able to acquire new knowledge, or apply the knowledge you already have.
Again, the present generation ought to be really grateful, considering how social network platforms such as Facebook and Twitter now incorporate some of these games.
Intelligence games are generally favored by parents who are looking for effective ways to teach their young children. However, intelligence can still be molded even if you’re already well into adulthood. Aren’t you glad that there are intelligence games for all ages?