Possible Way To Boost Your Iq



  • hzahza ✭✭

    I have an eye out for float tank facilities in this area, but that's about all I can do.  


    I don't know whether to do updates here or in one of the Oasis Pro or dual n-back threads, but for now I guess I'll just note that I did a second session late last night and hit n=5, and got there again a couple of times today on this first session that I just finished.  I don't know what's normal, I got there on my third day of n-back.  I have a feeling it's going to be a while before I get any farther than that. 


    @Jason Hooper, I'm curious what size electrodes you use, or at least the one you apply to your forehead (I've already forgotten which is anode and which is cathode, and not near the documentation right now).  I ask because I've kept the stimulus at 1.0 mA and even at that level it stings my skin considerably.  I thought maybe a bit more saline in the sponge would help with that but it doesn't seem to.  Anyway, wondering what kind of sensations you get at a full 2 mA.

  • @hza: I switched from two inch pads to one inch.  Try using an electrode gel to reduce discomfort.

  • hzahza ✭✭

    Got through the first week zapping at FP1 and did my first session of n-back with the electrodes placed at FP2 and left shoulder.  I don't know if it's just the normal ups and downs of n-back training, but I had a somewhat dumb day today--although I'll do another session this evening--and dropped down to 3-back for the first time in a couple of days once or twice.  The first time was due to my being on 4-back and not realizing it; I had been trying to keep track of 5-back.  After that mistake, I hit a wall and my recall slowly unraveled.  


    It's funny how you can memorize a full string of images and sounds, and then with one flash on the screen the whole memorized unit pops like a soap bubble and you have to start over--or that's what happens to me once I hit my point of overwhelm.  It's a weird kind of frustration:  I don't look forward to my daily n-back, will even put it off to some extent, but once I'm a few rounds into it it's actually pretty engaging.  I guess a lot of things are like that, or things that stimulate mental growth anyway.


    I wish there were a way to isolate the IQ gains from n-back as opposed to that from tDCS, but I gather the n-back gains are a one-off situation that you get early in the training, so in order to maximize (potentially) that benefit I decided to couple it with this tDCS protocol.  Also I'm not sure how I'll measure progress.  I took a JCTI test that I found online (the link provided by i3 was broken but I'm pretty sure I tracked down the proper test elsewhere on the domain the broken link pointed to) but the result it gave me was a "rational index" in a score range with over 10 points of variability, so right off the bat that seems to scrub the idea of a 10-20 IQ point guarantee from i3--the margin of error is greater than the minimum gain promised.  Pretty good dodge, I guess.


    At any rate, my recall is improving rapidly.  I can hardly believe how baffling 2- and 3-back was just a week ago.  I'm still over my head with 5-back atm but if the models hold, I should be seeing a leap forward in the next 3-4 days, around day 12.  

  • hzahza ✭✭

    Day 9 using the tDCS protocol now, second day of right hemisphere at PF2 (anode).  Just finished my 13th n-back session in 9 days and cracked into 6-back.  Still uncomfortable (mentally) as hell while playing but the scores keep going up, so I guess that's how it's supposed to work. 4-back actually seems kinda easy now sometimes but I can still get lost doing it.  


    One note:  I'm sleeping MUCH more than usual.  Lots of dreaming along with it.  Had a lucid dream the other day which was notable in that I had 2 recurring situations happen which have pestered me for years, both of which got resolved, for good I think, in this one dream.  Woke up feeling like I had put something behind me.  


    On a down note, I seem to be reading more slowly the last couple of days.  Seems like my eyes are taking shorter jumps across the line of text, somewhat the opposite of what one should do to read faster.   Then again I haven't been hitting the speed reading software much this last week, either.


    Other variables:  doing alternate days EEG training and HEG once or twice a week, both as per my recommended protocol from Brain-trainer.com.  Also been using a TruBrain-like stack based on Piracetam for about 2 weeks.  I had been taking Piracetam with choline bitartrate before but stopped about 2 months ago and am just getting started back with it.  Any or all of these things could be contributing to the positive effects that I've noted since starting tDCS.  


    That said, I'm going to continue with this tDCS protocol for the indefinite term, at least through the end of the IQ challenge with i3, and then probably on to other things like the drumming experiment I originally wanted to try.  I also read somewhere a few months ago that learning to juggle increases white matter density in the brain--no kidding--and I've been meaning to add that to all this other stuff.  

  • hzahza ✭✭

    Just finished the first of two planned n-back sessions today, the 16th session which falls on the 12th day of training, and I just hit n=7.  I only cracked it once, but I spent the rest of the session at n=5 and n=6, didn't dip down into n=4 at all.  It's odd because I first hit n=6 on my 13th session, but not even once on session 14 and 15, and then boom, n=7 today.  


    Of course it's impossible to know how things would have gone without, but I strongly suspect the tDCS has really accelerated my progress.  My understanding is that n=7 is about as high as it gets--and I'm not doing any "chunking," just keeping it all in a single linear chain in memory (which is still as fragile as ever).  


    Anyway, that seemed significant.  I think this tDCS stuff works.  I'm tempted to take a day to zap one or both occipital lobes for increasing math computation, but I want to complete 28 consecutive days following J. Hooper's protocol first.  

  • hzahza ✭✭

    Finished 20 rounds of n-back this morning on the 13th day (and session) of tDCS.  I made an important connection yesterday in the evening while training n-back for the second time that day:  HEG seriously affects my n-back performance in the short term, and not for the good.  I fell back to n=4 for the first time in days in that evening session and never got above n=5, and again briefly this morning, although I did get up to n=6 for 2-3 rounds.  


    For the record, I'm doing HEG at F7, F8, and FP1 as per a personal protocol given me as part of an overall nfb training plan from brain-trainer.com.  I do 15 minutes per site, and I try to train every other day but it never works out to more than 3x/week, although in the last couple of weeks I've been a bit more diligent in my HEG training.


    Anyway, HEG is hard on the short-term memory (in the short term) and it really shows when trying to do n-back afterward without any amount of sleep.  I was a lot sharper this morning, but still seemed a bit sluggish compared to a couple of days ago.  I gather from this that HEG is also good for exercising memory function in a way that overlaps somewhat with n-back training, and that perhaps my extensive HEG training over the past 8-9 months may be partially accountable for what I assume has been a pretty rapid climb in progress, from an n-back average of 2.5 to 5.5 in about 10 days (I'm still at 5.5 but I suspect if I took a couple of days off to rest that figure would go up), with a peak of n=7 on the 12th day.


    I guess what I'll do is continue training n-back 5-6 days a week while finishing out the alternating FP1/FP2 tDCS through 28 days (15 to go) while trying to train 2 daily sessions of n-back as often as possible.  Because I was able to get my tDCS in early this morning before class (about 6 am) I'm thinking of giving my occipitals a jolt during this evening's session (this is supposed to boost math performance, and the effect of a single session has been shown to last for up to several months).  I realize that further compromises the purity of the experiment, but whatever.  Call me greedy.


    Probably I'll retest IQ some time a few days after completing 4 weeks of this tDCS schedule, and see what's what. 

  • The n-back training is a means, not an end.  In this case, It is your avenue for cognitive stimulation and not a benchmark for achievement.

  • hzahza ✭✭

    I don't know how to untangle cause and effect sufficient to know what's what.  I'm just trying to multiply the stimulation of intensive (and entirely novel to me) n-back training with tDCS in this 4-week period to see what comes of it.  I take improvements in scores as some indication of increased capacity for certain cognitive functions, and my assumption is that there is some correlation there but I'm not saying it's directly proportional.   If my performance remained flat after 2 weeks, I would suspect not a lot was going on.  


    But anyway you look at it, increased n-back ability is going to have practical consequences in real life, much as what you've noticed while conducting your music.  Whether we call that IQ or not, it's a performance increase, and the idea here is to accelerate and maximize that effect to the extent possible.  I don't really know what I'm doing beyond that, so I've just tried to record anything that seems significant along the way, erring on the side of avoiding omitting important points.


    I've had a look over some studies and it looks like it's also possible to conduct this protocol with an anode large enough to span across both FP1 and FP2 while grounding at the base of the neck.  There appear to be other studies that show this basic protocol is beneficial for focus, and interestingly enough also pain moderation.  That note I made above about the occipital region and mathematics is mistaken, it's the parietals, and there are possible trade-offs that make stimulation there potentially unattractive.  I'll be doing a lot more reading before attempting the next protocol.


    The n-back training is a means, not an end.  In this case, It is your avenue for cognitive stimulation and not a benchmark for achievement.

  • hzahza ✭✭

    Three days left to go before the 4 weeks are up.  I've kept with the program of alternating between FP1/FP2 every 7 days.  The last week or two has been pretty unimpressive, a lot of slogging through 5-back and sometimes 6-back.  If you move up a level it's not too hard to hang out there for a while but if you drop down it can be pretty tough to get back up. 


    Anyway, it's been quite a long time since I made it to 7-back, and then tonight in the second session I hit 7-back, and the very next round I hit 8-back.  Boom.  I'm pretty pleased with myself about that, especially after such a long boring time with no visible improvement and actually a bit of apparent regression when looking at the progress chart.  DNB may not be an effective benchmark for achievement but it's about the only outward indication of progress I have available until I take another IQ test--and honestly, I'm not feeling any smarter than I was a month ago, so I have some real doubts about any big leaps forward coming up.


    tDCS-wise, I've missed one day but otherwise been consistently getting it in for 30 minutes every morning, generally within the first hour of rising.  I always do n-back with tDCS in the morning, and when possible I do another n-back with no stimulation in the evening, although I skip here and there.  I was very close to skipping this evening, but glad now that I didn't.  


    As for the tDCS itself, aside from the first couple of times, I actually feel a bit dimmer mentally while doing it.  That may have to do with all sorts of factors such as time of day and etc, but quite often by the time I get to sit down and zap while doing dnb I've already had a cup or two of bpc and my nootropic stack, and generally at least a half hour of being up and active, so it's not like I'm sleepwalking or anything.  


    But whatever.  I may not know what's going on under the surface, but at least I've been decently consistent with this experiment from one day to the next.  We'll see what we'll see soon enough.

  • Hza, thanks for your update. Always good to read about your progress :-).

  • Finished 4 weeks of daily tDCS (missing only one day) yesterday, giving it a rest for now.  I was supposed to have finished up with 40 sessions of dnb training (20 rounds per session) on the same day but got a little behind with that, so I'll have that wrapped up by tomorrow.


    I figured out something pretty important the other day:  HEG usage affects the dnb performance tremendously.  I just did my 45 minutes of HEG followed by 20 rounds of dnb and I did awful.  I started out OK, but after about 3-4 rounds my performance fell off dramatically.  It's like I normally can juggle 10 balls but somebody keeps pouring oil on my hands so I'm struggling just to keep 3 in the air.  


    It's really interesting watching how I'll have a string of lights and sounds about 4-5 deep, then lose the whole thing with the next new flash, then be unable to start a new string for like 2 more flashes after that (sorry if you haven't done dnb before, that probably makes zero sense)...it's like my brain not only loses total track of what it was storing, it momentarily loses the ability to put anything new into storage for a few seconds after each lapse.   And this effect rolls in and out like a wave.  I can keep up semi-normally for a bit (although at best I'm a little foggy) but then a wave rolls in and I'm useless for 10 seconds or so.


    That makes sense.  If anything, the tDCS stimulus should improve performance in real time, or that's what I glean from reading other experiments using it.  HEG though is exercise for the prefrontal cortex, and if you beat it like a borrowed mule like I have been, you're going to see some real slippage in the short term.  


    I wonder now how long it would take for my brain to perform normally under the stress I'm currently putting on it.  It's not like exercising a muscle, where you run the risk of tearing or some other permanent injury--when your brain runs out of steam it just disengages, but whatever drives it (I'm going to have to learn some basic neurochemistry one of these days), once depleted, takes a while to build back up.  And in the meantime there are noticeable side effects like memory problems.  You know the feeling of going into another room for something and forgetting what it was when you get there?  That sort of thing, only worse enough that you start wondering if you're in a real decline.  Luckily, it goes away; and theoretically there should be a way to time and schedule the exercise to maximize returns while minimizing the negatives.  I'm probably overdoing things by quite a bit.


    So the point of all this is, this may or may not turn out to be a very effective experiment on the positive effects of tDCS on IQ.  I'll take a break from the HEG this week and take another test at the end of next week, and we'll see what happens, but either way the results go--whether good, bad, or otherwise--there are so many mitigating factors involved that anything would be pretty inconclusive.  And that means I'd make a crappy scientist.  I'm sorry for that; hopefully there's some value to be had from all this. 

  • Oh btw if you experience stinging from the tDCS as I did, you can expect some temporary skin problems to follow such as redness and flaking.  I kept the charge low as recommended by Mindalive but I still have a red welt over my right eyebrow as I type this (I didn't have any electrode gel, only the heavier paste, not suitable for sponge application).  My wife keeps asking what's going on with it but I'm not really prepared to explain to her that my recent skin problems are incidental burns caused by repeated attempts to stimulate my brain with electricity in pursuit of improved cognitive function.  When you say the words out loud, it sounds pretty ridiculous--go figure. 

  • OK, just took my follow-up IQ test after a week of no HEG and no dnb for 5 days.  IQ has dropped by 12 points.


    Back to the drawing board, I guess.  

  • Did you measure a 'general IQ' or more specific your 'fluid intelligence' (i.e. Raven Matrices)?
  • Pretty sure this one said it was based on Raven matrices.  It was a free test at iqtest.dk, have a look.  The first test was similar but if anything actually more challenging, or felt that way at the time.  I've taken numerous online IQ tests over the years and scored anywhere across something like a 50-55 point spectrum, so a deviation like this isn't all that unusual for me.


    I halfway expected something like this to happen, although I admit the drop surprised me.  I was thinking there might be a 2-3 point gain at best because despite the break from training I haven't had a "bright day," mentally speaking, in quite some time.  I can't say it was an off day, but it certainly wasn't a good one either.


    I think that's due to a short- to mid-term adjustment process that comes with the heavy HEG usage, although it may be from the tDCS too.  I started getting real bad memory effects--the stuff I described above--right after I started doing CES, which was not long after I stepped up my HEG training pretty singficantly iirc.  I should have made a better note of when the memory problems started--I took one of those free Cambridge assessments around that time, maybe they have the date on record and I can go back and compare to the HEG logs.  


    Anyway, point is I haven't been feeling all that sharp lately--and also I've noticed a couple of memory lapses today that weren't severe like the stuff above but still in the abnormal range--but in the interest of getting a clear before/after picture I thought it best to go ahead and take the IQ test today as scheduled.  I don't believe I've actually slipped 12 points over the last month, so I'm not worried about that, and I'm sure my performance will move back up over the long term.  That said, I have to admit I'm a bit disappointed with today's results.


    IQMindware just released their v3 upgrade for the i3 software, which is designed to enhance the IQ-boosting effect of the training (so maybe next time I'll lose 40 points! j/k), so as soon as I can stand it, I'm going to start an extended period of 5 days weekly training coupled with intensive HEG (3-4x/week), and try to take IQ snapshots every 3-6 months to see what big picture changes there are.  I'll start a new thread for that when the time comes, and I have to apologize to Jason Hooper for hijacking this thread somewhat.  I noticed recently that there's a new subforum for personal experiment tracking, so maybe it would be most appropriate to put it there?  In any event, I plan to start by March, give or take a week or two.

  • I want to see more data on this project, Jason.  Have you posted the test case on your site?  Looking forward to more empirical data from the case study.

    My current research - parasite diet cleansing

  • Ah. I missed your last follow up ("back to the drawing board")  Interesting study nonetheless. Thanks for sharing.

    My current research - parasite diet cleansing

  • Just in case there's any confusion, I'm not Jason.  He seems to have gotten satisfactory results from his tDCS experimentation.

    Ah. I missed your last follow up ("back to the drawing board")  Interesting study nonetheless. Thanks for sharing.

  • edited February 2014

    Hey JasonHooper,

    How is your device different from this one?


    Is it that you are applying a current directly as opposed to...I'm not sure...thinking hard?



    My only question is... has anyone tried this and does it work.

    Upgrade complete!

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