A brief course on how to pay attention boosts children's scores on either intelligence or attention tests, depending on their age, a new study finds.
The training may quicken normal brain development, says a team of neuroscientists led by Michael I. Posner of the University of Oregon in Eugene. Earlier research had indicated that brain areas involved in controlling attention in the presence of conflicting information develop rapidly between ages 4 and 6.
Over 2 to 3 weeks, Posner's team administered five training sessions to 4-year-olds and 6-year-olds. The younger kids showed higher IQ boosts—and the older ones, greater attention gains—than untrained kids did, the researchers report in an upcoming Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The researchers also note that their study showed enhanced electric signaling in the brains of the children who received the training. Genetic differences, which the researchers analyzed in the 6-year