IQ stands for intelligence quotient and was the standard for measuring intelligence for decades. A person’s IQ is determined by a specific standardized test. A score of 100 is considered average with anything above or below 100 considered to be above or below average respectively.

For many years, scientists believed that a person’s IQ was genetically determined and that there was no way for a person to raise their IQ. Later, this was proven to be false when children were able to train their brains and reach a higher IQ. More recently still, research has shown that adults are capable of changing their IQ.

A person’s IQ is made up of several factors all of which influence a person’s reasoning ability. Both short-and long-term memory play a part in determining a person’s IQ as does how quickly a person can recall information. The ability to use logic and information to answer questions or make predictions influence a person’s IQ . Recognizing patterns and puzzle-solving skills form part of a person’s IQ as well.

The score that a person achieves on the IQ test is the result of a number of interrelated factors. Improving only one of these factors, such as memory or recall, will not raise a person’s IQ in any serious way. An increase in puzzle-solving skills might bring about a temporary jump in IQ but not a lasting one. Science has found, however, ways for a person to train all parts of their brain and raise their IQ in a way that will last. Here are five scientifically proven ways a person can permanently raise their IQ.

Keep Learning New Things

The brain is based on connections between different nerve cells called neurons. Every time a person takes an action or thinks a thought, electricity jumps across the connections between neurons. If something is done over and over, the connections for a pathway become natural and automatic. This is where the idea of “muscle memory” comes into play, however, muscles actually have nothing to do with it. When the brain repeatedly makes a specific series of connections, it becomes automatic. A major league pitcher’s neurons become extremely used to making the correct series of connections that correspond to him throwing a fastball. He no longer has to think about his movements, they happen automatically like adults no longer have to think about bending their knees when they walk. The motions, and the neural connections that create those motions, are automatic.

Overtime, these well-worn pathways become more and more efficient. It takes less and less brainpower to walk, throw a fastball or play a basic piece on a piano. When a person learns something new, however, the brain has no pre-created pathways to fall back on. The brain has to create an entirely new system of pathways and connections. For a person to raise their IQ, their brain needs to be constantly creating these new pathways. The person needs to study unfamiliar things and try new activities. Learning to speak a new language or play a new instrument are classic examples of brain-training activities. In fact, those two activities are so successful at creating new neural pathways that people with declining brain function are encourage to begin learning to speak a new language or play a new instrument. The sheer number of new pathways created can help slow or stop the deterioration of the mind. In a healthy brain, those new pathways increase a person’s brain function and can raise their IQ.

Do Things the Hard Way

Human beings love efficiency. From the first wheel to the iPhone X, technology is created almost entirely to make human tasks more efficient. That efficiency, however, lets the brain get lazy. The brain is like every other part of the human body. If it does not work hard, it deteriorates. Inventions such as the GPS, calculator and reminder apps make human lives much more convenient, but those inventions allow the brain to relax. Then, just like a muscle that never gets a workout, the brain atrophies. If a person never has to remember directions, their sense of direction deteriorates because the brain never has to grow in that area.

In order to raise a person’s IQ, they need to make their brain work even at everyday tasks. Instead of pulling out a calculator, a person who wants to raise their IQ should do the math either on a piece of paper or in their head. Rather than relying on a GPS, a person should force themselves to learn street names and find their way around a city or try and recreate where they went over the weekend on a map. The human body conserves energy wherever it can. If the brain is not forced to use energy and work, it will not, and a brain that does not work hard is a brain that does not grow.

Broadening Horizons

Brain growth is not just caused by more academic learning. Brains need to recall or practice what they have been learning. A person wanting to grow their IQ needs to work every aspect of their brain. That includes interacting with new people, cultures and ideas. A person who wants to grow their IQ needs to be exposed to new things. If possible, they should travel and see new cultures. If they are learning a new language, they should visit an area that speaks that language and put their new skills into practice.