Can a person's IQ worsen

Research: IQ changes in adolescence - can intelligence be trained?

The IQ is not fixed in a person, as previously assumed. In adolescents, the IQ can change significantly again - during puberty. This means that the IQ can get better or worse. British researchers have found this out. So far, as researchers write in the journal "Nature", it has been assumed that the IQ will remain stable and constant over the course of an individual's life, they write in the journal "Nature". But now, both in terms of linguistic and non-linguistic intelligence, changes of up to 20 points have been found in both directions. 33 teenagers, ages 12 to 16, were tested by the researchers for the study. Four years later, this young person was asked - surprisingly - to take another IQ test. At both examination appointments, the scientists also took high-resolution images of the adolescents' brain structure using magnetic resonance imaging.

Can intelligence be trained?

It is not yet clear why the IQ of young people has changed so significantly, say the researchers. We also don't know why the value rose for some while it fell sharply for others. It is possible that this simply reflects natural differences in development. According to the researchers, it is also conceivable that education plays a role in changing IQ values. That would mean that intelligence could be "trained" in a similar way to physical fitness. To what extent the variability of the IQ now found in young people also applies to adults, must now be researched in further studies, say the scientists. "This level of plasticity could perhaps persist throughout life," they suggest. It is just as conceivable, however, that the teenage years are an exception in this regard.

Relationship between changes in performance and changes in brain structure

The changes in the teenagers' IQ scores were also reflected in their brain structure, the researchers report. "We have found a clear correlation between these changes in performance and changes in brain structure. Therefore, we can say with some certainty that these changes in IQ are real," says lead author Sue Ramsden of University College London. In the opinion of the scientists, the new findings are also of great importance for the performance evaluation and classification of children during their school days. "We have a tendency to determine the further educational path of children relatively early in life," says Ramsden. But now it has been shown that the intelligence of these children is still developing. "We should be careful about writing off supposedly underperformers at an early stage, as their IQ can have improved significantly only a few years later," warns the researcher.

As part of the study, the researchers determined the linguistic IQ for each test person. The method includes measurements of linguistic expression, general knowledge and memory, and also mathematical skills. In addition, the participants completed tests of their non-linguistic IQ, in which they had to identify missing elements in a picture or solve a visual puzzle, for example. "It showed that changes in linguistic IQ were linked to changes in the density and volume of gray matter in the right motor cortex," the researchers write. This region of the cerebral cortex is responsible for the articulation of language. As the adolescents improved in non-verbal IQ, the density of brain matter increased in an area that coordinates hand movements. These relationships are clear evidence that the IQ changes cannot be measurement errors.dapd / AZ