If you want to strengthen intelligence, it makes good sense to first try and define what we mean by intelligence. How do you measure it and what precisely is it?

As it happens, the official answer at this moment is 'no one knows'. Intelligence is a highly abstract concept and effectively might not even be a useful term whatsoever.

Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences

Among the most useful measures of intelligence is IQ or Intelligence Quotient, which assesses our ability to use abstract reasoning and other forms of 'fluid intelligence' (fluid intelligence being distinct and dynamic from 'crystalized intelligence'-- which totals up to knowledge). IQ scores are allocated on the basis of national averages.

The problem with IQ is that it provides a single umbrella for 'intelligence' and doesn't consider the existence of multiple forms of intelligence. What if you're amazing at math or otherwise so good at English? What if you're fantastic with music but lack social skills?

We understand that language and math are handled by different brain regions (language is handled by Broca's Area, among other structures) therefore it's perfectly reasonable to image some may be more developed than others. This is often the case: Einstein was notoriously dyslexic.
This is where psychologist Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences come in.

He suggested the following 'aspects' of intelligence:

- Linguistic Intelligence.
- Logic Intelligence.
- Kinesthetic Intelligence.
- Spatial Intelligence.
- Musical Intelligence.
- Interpersonal Intelligence.
- Intrapersonal Intelligence.

Someone may be 'intelligent' in any one of these areas but less so in another and would still be considered intelligent. We call this the 'modular' view of intelligence.

Why do we have musical intelligence and not 'computer game' intelligence? It ignores possible connections between the different forms of intelligence and it ignores the underlying cognitive functions that might give rise to specific measurable abilities.

It's a step in the right direction, but not a comprehensive explanation of intelligence.

Whole Brain Connectivity and Plasticity

It would be fairly logical to assume that someone who we would generally consider for being intelligent might perform better than average in multiple of these categories.

Genius-- which is considered to describe a form of additional 'insight' and to be distinct from pure mastery-- likely comes from the ability to apply multiple perspectives and multiple schools of thought to a single problem.

More recent research shows that intelligence is predicted by 'whole brain connectivity'-- the ability of the brain to utilize considerable amounts of different brain areas at once in a cohesive manner. It even appears that connectivity between prefrontal regions may provide a basis for consciousness.

To be truly intelligent, you need to have better-than-average performance in multiple mental faculties and have better-than-average connectivity between those corresponding brain regions.

Ways to Become More Intelligent
How does this come about? Simple: through brain plasticity.

Brain plasticity describes the ability of our brain to grow, change and adapt shape? Greater plasticity means greater potential to learn. Greater potential to develop specific brain regions and the connectivity between them.

If you have greater plasticity during your development as a child and you are then given the opportunity to learn by being exposed to the right stimuli, then you will develop more areas of your brain and more connectivity between them.

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Intelligence = Adaptability + Opportunity

It's likely that genetic factors might influence greater plasticity in certain individuals, but better sleep, greater happiness, exercise, more focus and interest and certainly better nutrition will all contribute too. That's how you make a super-smart child but if you're already an adult and you feel you could have done better, then you have to scrutinize ways to increase your plasticity again and start learning!

Recapping IQ

The problem with IQ is that it provides a single umbrella for 'intelligence' and doesn't allow for the existence of multiple forms of intelligence. Remember to think why do we have musical intelligence and not 'computer game' intelligence, yet? It ignores possible connections between the different forms of intelligence and it ignores the underlying cognitive functions that might give rise to specific measurable abilities.

Author's Bio: 

Leon Edward is passionate about optimizing your brain power, IQ, and brain health. The author helps people improve IQ, focus, memory, concentration, creativity, learn to speed read and how to reduce harmful stress to your brain all at his Increase Brain Power website where you can search articles, review latest brain news, play brain games online, review brain improvement resources including CDs, MP3s, PDFs and the latest brain improvement technology resources.

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