Drs. Silvia Bunge and Allyson Mackey set up a special afterschool program at a low-performing elementary school in Oakland. For eight weeks, twice a week, kids came into one of two rooms to play board games, video games, and card games. These are games available at most retailers, but they’d been chosen by Bunge and Mackey because they demanded very specific cognitive skills. One set of games – in one room – challenged the kids’ reasoning ability. The other set of games – in the other room – challenged those kids’ processing speed.
Before and after the training, the scholars measured relevant components of the children’s IQs. The scholars expected some modest improvement. But the results were staggering – the group that trained for reasoning ability saw their non-verbal intelligence scores leap 32%. The group that trained for processing speed saw their brain speed scores jump 27%. In just eight weeks – 20 hours total of training – the games had a drastic impact on the kids’ IQ.
Now, Mackey does warn that kids who already come from enriched home environments might already have these games, or something similar, and in many ways they might have already trained their brains. So while Mackey suspects all kids could benefit from the game training, not all kids would benefit so much, so quickly.
Nevertheless, it’s striking evidence that indeed, the brain is like a muscle. While every individual probably has upper limits to what we might be capable of, brain training – like weight training, or fitness training – can lift us towards those limits.
Po Bronson (Is the Brain like a muscle, really?)
This completely undermines the bell curve theory, which argues blacks are naturally dumber than other races using IQ scores to prove it. With this evidence, it becomes less about inherit intellectual ability and more about the lack of “brain training” present in predominately black schools.