The BBC, in collaboration with Dr Adam Hampshire of Imperial College London, launched in January 2020 what can be considered the largest intelligence experiment in the world. What sets it apart from the others is that it has very representative numerical results. In fact, more than 250,000 people took part.
As Dr Adam Hampshire himself noted: “This is the equivalent of about 125,000 hours, or over 14 years of testing”. The first results of the world’s largest intelligence experiment are now available. However, it should be noted that the process is not over and participation is still possible.
The proposal for the world’s largest intelligence experiment is very simple. Simply put, the audience was invited to log onto a platform and answer a series of questions. Then to take a test. It is not an IQ test, but rather a comprehensive examination of various aspects associated with cognition and emotional intelligence.
The world’s largest intelligence experience
As noted above, over 250,000 people have participated to date. It must be said that most of them are of British nationality. Thus, in this regard, the sample is not fully representative. In terms of gender and age, the participants themselves are very diverse.
The first part of the test of the world’s largest intelligence experience is about lifestyle questions. The aim of this section is to collect information on aspects such as diet, use of technology, habits, etc.
In the second part, a series of exercises is carried out on different cognitive skills. Such as problem solving, memory, spatial reasoning, etc. Likewise, several tests are performed that seek to find information about emotional intelligence. Finally, the results of the two sections are crossed to draw conclusions.
Problem solving and age
So far, the data provided by this experiment corroborates well-known premises on intelligence. For example, age is not a determining factor. There are cognitive abilities that are more visible at certain ages. However, they do not disappear at other ages and also have notable exponents.
Evidence from experience indicates that the ability to solve problems is in full swing between the ages of 20 and 30. Then there starts to be a decline. However, this refers strictly to cognitive issues as part of a real-time test.
There is no information on the value of the problem-solving experience over a longer period of time to complete the test. The same experience, in addition to other studies available, proves that the more the brain works, the slower it gets.
One of the new facts from the world’s largest intelligence experiment is that verbal reasoning is a skill that increases with age. This study shows that it progresses even beyond the age of 80. Until now, the peak of this ability was thought to be at age 60. And that from there, it started to decrease.
Another very striking fact of the study concerns memory. According to what could be established, those who obtained the best score on this item were the people who played video games. This particular segment had better spatial memory. This is very interesting considering that these types of games have traditionally been viewed as cognitively unnecessary.
Research has also found that people who spend a lot of time on social media have poorer mental health. Most of them show symptoms of anxiety and depression, perhaps because a pattern of comparison predominates on networks and because some people rate their social success based on these networks.
One of the most valuable aspects of this study is that it confirms that lifestyle decisively influences intelligence. Specifically, they point out that the brain works much better when exercising. Likewise, staying intellectually active and learning a language at any age seem to be two antidotes to brain aging.