Though we don’t like to admit it, intelligence and IQ matter…The traditional view is that expertise, in general, requires a higher IQ…[However, there are those who] believe that IQ is more predictive of access to education but not expertise itself.
To decide which hypothesis is likelier to be true, a group of researchers examined people who do and do not play chess. Unlike college, there is no barrier to chess training…If the “access to training” theory is correct, there should be no difference in intelligence between serious chess players and non-chess players.
[The meta-analysis] did not allow the researchers to determine causation…However, it did allow the researchers to ask, “Are people who play chess by their own free will more intelligent than people who do not?”
[The results showed that,] for whatever cognitive trait the study was analyzing, chess players scored on average half of a standard deviation higher than non-chess players.
[A]s I have argued before, chess should be a required subject in American schools…As one teacher noted: “Chess trains logical thinking. It teaches how to make decisions, trains memory, strengthens will power, motivates children to win, and teaches them how to deal with defeat. It’s the only school subject that can do all this.”
[Read the full study here]
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