IQ is Not Fixed at Birth – Habits, Not Genetics, Determines IQ


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Contrary to what you may have been taught, your IQ is not fixed. It can increase or decrease during your lifetime. What causes your IQ to increase or decrease?

A brain cell, also known as a neuron, is made up of the cell body, numerous dendrite branches and one axon trunk. The dendrites receive signals from other neurons. The axon sends signals to other neurons.

As I detailed in my book, Change Your Habits Change Your Life, IQ is determined by the size of your axons, number of dendrite branches and the number of synapses you have. Your axons, dendrites and synapses can increase or decrease during your lifetime. An axon is very much like a tree. It has one trunk with many branches. The size of the axon’s trunk determines your IQ. The bigger the axon trunk the faster that neuron is able to communicate with other surrounding neurons, increasing the number of nearby dendrites that receive axon communications, thereby increasing the number of synapses within the brain. A synapse is when two or more neurons communicate with each other.

When you engage in certain mental and physical activities, the size of your axons grows, the number of dendrites multiply and you increase the number of synapses inside your brain. When your mental and physical activities are limited, your axons shrink, reducing the number of dendrites and synapses.

What activities grow axons, dendrites and synapses?

  • Reading to learn
  • Auditory learning
  • Visual learning
  • Studying (Semantic Memory)
  • Learning a new language
  • Utilizing a new language through repetition or absorption in a new country
  • Traveling – exploring different parts of the world and different cultures (Episodic Memory)
  • Learning a new skill
  • Novelty
  • Daily exercise
  • Engaging in athletic activities
  • Practicing a skill, new or old, repetitively
  • Creative pursuits such as writing, painting, music, engineering, building design, invention, etc.
  • Increasing your communications with others (networking, volunteering, working, social interaction, etc.)

What shrinks axons, dendrites and synapses?

  • Absence of learning (no reading, no auditory learning and no visual learning)
  • Loss of skills due to inactivity
  • Isolation
  • Being Homebound
  • Being set in your ways – absence of novelty
  • Not exercising
  • No athletic activities
  • Watching TV (exceptions: TV shows that teach)
  • Reading Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. (exceptions: posts that teach)

If you forge daily habits that increase the size of your axons, number of dendrites and the synapses inside your brain, your IQ will grow. Good habits, therefore, can grow your IQ throughout your entire life. Conversely, bad habits can cause your IQ to decrease during your lifetime.

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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, holds a master’s degree in taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, a CPA firm in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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