Gains in fluid intelligence after training non-verbal reasoning in 4-year-old children: a controlled, randomized study


Sissela Bergman Nutley, Karolinska Institutet, Department of Neuroscience, Retzius Laboratoriet, Stockholm, Sweden; e-mail: or


Fluid intelligence (Gf) predicts performance on a wide range of cognitive activities, and children with impaired Gf often experience academic difficulties. Previous attempts to improve Gf have been hampered by poor control conditions and single outcome measures. It is thus still an open question whether Gf can be improved by training. This study included 4-year-old children (N = 101) who performed computerized training (15 min/day for 25 days) of either non-verbal reasoning, working memory, a combination of both, or a placebo version of the combined training. Compared to the placebo group, the non-verbal reasoning training group improved significantly on Gf when analysed as a latent variable of several reasoning tasks. Smaller gains on problem solving tests were seen in the combination training group. The group training working memory improved on measures of working memory, but not on problem solving tests. This study shows that it is possible to improve Gf with training, which could have implications for early interventions in children.