There are two types of intelligence: crystallized intelligence and fluid intelligence.
Crystallized intelligence is your ability to utilize information, skills, and experience already learned — basically, it’s cerebral knowledge. This tends to build as you age, and is emphasized in most Western cultures (especially since it’s easily tested on standardized exams).
Fluid intelligence, by contrast, is your ability to identify patterns, solve novel problems, and use logic in new situations. It’s not about how much you know; it’s about your ability to be creative, aware, innovative, and visionary.
It’s relatively easy to improve your crystallized knowledge: read, listen to podcasts, collect more facts, learn. But fluid intelligence isn’t like that. It’s not about facts and figures; it’s about your capacity to take something you’ve never seen before and work with it — to be ingenious.
Now, studies show that there is something you can do to dramatically improve your fluid intelligence as well as your overall IQ: meditate.
That’s correct: Meditation is not just good for your physiological health, reducing stress, improving mood, and setting you up for emotional equilibrium rather than reactivity.
It can also make you significantly smarter.
Siegfried Othmer, former president of the neurofeedback division of the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, conducted neurofeedback research on participants using brainwave training (a specific form of meditation). Those who meditated showed an average gain in IQ of 23 percent.
That is remarkable.