A Faster Brain = A Smarter Brain?
I was reading an article the other day about a new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience that measured brain speed and intelligence, and found a correlation between the two. The more intelligent people in the study had faster brains. You can read more about this study on NPR.
According to the authors, brain speed is partly dependent on your genes. But you can also speed up your brain by exercising it.
This got me thinking about our brain fitness programs, all of which are clinically proven to speed up brain processing (the Brain Fitness Program speeds up auditory processing, InSight and DriveSharp speed up visual processing). Does that mean they also make people more intelligent? We have never claimed that they do, nor has that specific question been posed in our studies. But the conclusion that could be drawn from the UCLA study might be Yes.
That said, I’m not sure what it means to be “more intelligent.” The UCLA authors used standard IQ tests in their study. But it seems to me that there are many ways to be intelligent, most of which aren’t captured in an IQ test. If you follow the logic in the UCLA study, you might be led to believe that younger people (under 40) are typically more intelligent than older people (over 60). Why? Because on average, they have significantly faster brains. Makes me wonder where the wisdom of age and experience fits in in this conception of “intelligence.”
Don’t get me wrong–I firmly believe the advantages to a fast brain are too many to count. A fast brain helps you keep up with everything going on in our fast-paced modern world, which enables you to react to it and remember it later. Certainly a slower brain is less sharp. But less smart? I’m not convinced the authors really measured that.