There's still hope for all the stupid teenagers out there: according to a new study, IQ isn't set in stone like scientists thought; it can fluctuate more dramatically than the out-of-control hormones coursing through teen veins.
NPR reports that scientists have found that environmental tweaks can cause a teen's test results to change much more than they expected,
"We were very surprised," researcher Cathy Price, who led the project, tells Shots. She had expected changes of a few points. "But we had individuals that changed from being on the 50th percentile, with an IQ of 100, [all] the way up to being in the (top) 3rd percentile, with an IQ of 127." In other cases, performance slipped by nearly as much, with kids shaving points off their scores.
In addition, scientists were able to see how the brain had changed structurally in ways that reflected the changes in IQ.
They're not sure why students' IQ's changed, but one theory contends that rigorous academic environments promote a rise in IQ's, which is probably why I knew someone pretty smart who went to ASU and then when they came back they were really stupid. Adolescents also fare better, intelligence gauging test score-wise, when they have positive home environments during their brain's formative years.
This is exciting for researchers and educators alike, as it indicates that even students identified has having low potential can probably turn it around, if given the right environment.
Researchers warn that while the fact that IQ scores can be raised or lowered dramatically during the teen years, this doesn't mean that the IQ test is the only diagnostic of intelligence; it's just one way to assess how big of a nerd you are, or whether or not Tom Hanks will ever win an Oscar for playing you in a movie.
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