05 October 2011

Is It Possible to Raise the Verbal IQ of Children Using Cartoons?

The cognitive benefit was striking and consistent in 90% of the children who took the four-week learning program and was additionally confirmed by brain imaging data that indicated brain changes had taken place related to the training.

“Our data have confirmed a rapid transfer of cognitive benefits in young children after only 20 days of training on an interactive, music-based cognitive training program. The strength of this effect in almost all of the children was remarkable,” said Dr. Moreno, a world expert on neuroeducation. He is now the Lead Scientist at Baycrest’s Centre for Brain Fitness. _Baycrest

York University (Canada) scientists claim that it is possible to raise the verbal IQ of pre-schoolers using cartoons with music. The animations are actually music-based cognitive training sessions, which the scientists say can raise verbal IQ over a period of roughly 20 days.
In the study, 48 pre-schoolers four to six years of age participated in computer-based, cognitive training programs that were projected on a large classroom wall and featured colorful, animated cartoon characters delivering the lessons. The children were divided into two groups. One group received music-based, cognitive training that involved a combination of motor, perceptual and cognitive tasks, and included training on rhythm, pitch, melody, voice and basic musical concepts. The other group received visual art training that emphasized the development of visuo-spatial skills relating to concepts such as shape, color, line, dimension and perspective.

Each group received two training sessions of one-hour duration each day in classroom, over four weeks, led by instructors at The Royal Conservatory in Toronto.

Researchers tested the children for verbal and spatial intelligence before and after the training using the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (Third Edition). The team also conducted brain imaging using non-invasive electroencephalography (EEG) which measures the time course of brain activity.

The verbal IQ tests assessed the children’s attention, word recall and ability to analyze information and solve problems using language-based reasoning. Brain imaging enabled researchers to detect if functional brain changes had occurred related to the cognitive training. When the children were re-tested five to 20 days after the end of the training programs, researchers did not find any significant increase in verbal intelligence or brain changes for the children who participated in the visual art training module. However, they found quite a different result in the children who took the music-based, cognitive training. Ninety percent of those children exhibited intelligence improvements – five times larger than the other group – on a measure of vocabulary knowledge, as well as increased accuracy and reaction time. The music group also showed brain changes that co-related to their enhanced cognitive performance.

“The results of this study strongly affirm the resonance between music and child development, and encourage us to think of music not just as a medium or tool through which treatment might be delivered, but as the treatment itself,” said Dr. Chau, a Senior Scientist at Bloorview Research Institute and Canada Research Chair in Paediatric Rehabilitation Engineering.

...The findings have exciting implications for conceptualizing and improving neuroeducation programs for children of all ages, and potentially for older adults.

...The study – conducted at York University by Dr. Sylvain Moreno, who is now with Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute (RRI) – is posted online today in Psychological Science (a journal of the Association for Psychological Science), ahead of print publication in the October issue of the journal _Baycrest
h/t Machineslikeus

This type of training is suitable for homeschool or online use. Below is a video with more information from one of the scientists involved in such research:

The brains of preschool children are particularly changeable. Besides helping children to learn better, it is also the goal of the researchers is to use similar approaches to helping older people to sustain the brain function that they have.

Training programs which seem to improve cognition in young children do not always provide lasting benefits over the lifetime. We need to develop training not only for early childhood cognitive enhancement, but also for reinforcers which maintain the benefits of cognitive training throughout childhood, adolescence and into adulthood.

Certain types of cognitive skills must be acquired by a certain age, or they are probably lost for life. This is true for language learning, and is also quite likely true for advanced musical ability and perhaps advanced mathematical ability.

Bottom line: We are clearly failing our children in terms of early childhood training. But we can fix that, if we try. We are also failing our children in terms of later childhood competency and character development. That will be harder to fix, since so much of the problem is tied into the dominant culture of political correctness.

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Blogger Bob said...

So Schoolhouse Rock was on the right track?

Wednesday, 05 October, 2011  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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