Scientific Evidence for SMART

The Science behind SMART Intellectual Skills Training

Dr. Bryan Roche and Dr. Sarah Cassidy have worked as scientists for many years in the development of the SMART brain training method. The RaiseYourIQ approach to brain health is based on Relational Frame Theory – a modern theory of cognition that our team has helped to develop over the past two decades. Dr. Roche was the co-editor of the two seminal texts on this theory. Dr. Cassidy was the leading researcher behind the first demonstration of IQ gains resulting from relational skills training.

RaiseYourIQ offers the only brain training system in the world that is based on tried and tested systems of intellectual skills interventions used in the clinical setting (for example the methods of Applied Behaviour Analysis), and that has been shown in published scientific research to lead to real, large, and objectively measureable gains in general intelligence (IQ). No other method benefits from even a single study, showing large and reliable IQ gains as a result of training.

Our SMART system has achieved the holy grail of brain training across several different published studies. That is, we have achieved what scientists call evidence of “far transfer”. This means that increased scores on an IQ test have been proven to result from training on skills that are not directly assessed on the IQ test. In other words, the benefits of our SMART training have been proven to transfer far into intellectual areas that we do not train directly in our system but which are assessed in general intelligence tests (e.g., vocabulary, verbal comprehension, analogical reasoning, numeracy, and so on). This makes SMART training truly unique and revolutionary in its approach to intellectual skills enhancement.

Some of the other tools that we have made available here to schools or clinics (SMART for Dyslexia, KidStarter, FAST emotional flexibility training) are also based on Relational Frame Theory concepts, or on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) methods, which are heavily conceptualised in terms of Relational Frame Theory.


Sample of Scientific Evidence Papers

Direct evidence for the SMART approach

Amd, M., & Roche, B. (2018). Assessing the effects of a relational training intervention on fluid intelligence among a sample of socially disadvantaged children in Bangladesh. The Psychological Record, 68(2), 141–149.

Cassidy, S., Roche, B., Colbert, D., Stewart, I., & Grey, I. (2016). A relational frame skills training intervention to increase general intelligence and scholastic aptitude. Learning and Individual Differences, 47, 222–235. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2016.03.001.

Cassidy, S., Roche, B., & Hayes, S. C. (2011). A relational frame training intervention to raise Intelligence Quotients: A pilot study. The Psychological Record, 61, 173–198. https://doi.org/10.1007/ BF03395755.

Colbert, D., Tyndall, I., Roche, B., & Cassidy, S. (2018). Can SMART training really increase Intelligence? A Replication Study. Journal of Behavioral Education, 27, 509-531. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10864-018-9302-2

Hayes, J., & Stewart, I. (2016). Comparing the effects of derived relational training and computer coding on intellectual potential in school-age children. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 86, 397–411. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjep.12114.

McLoughlin, S., Tyndall, I., & Pereira, A. (2018). A brief relational operant training program: Analyses of response latencies and intelligence. European Journal of Behavior Analysis, 19 (2). 228-246. DOI: 10.1080/15021149.2018.1507087.

Thirus, J., Starbrink, M., & Jansson, B. (2016). Relational frame theory, mathematical and logical skills: A multiple exemplar training intervention to enhance intellectual performance. International Journal of Psychology & Psychological Therapy, 16(2), 141–155.

Presti, G., Torregrosssa, S., Migliore, D., Roche, B., Cumbo, E. (2018). Relational Training Intervention as add-on therapy to current specific treatments in patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease. International Journal of Psychology and Neuoscience, 3, 88-97.

Vizcaíno-Torres, R.M., Ruiz, F., Luciano, C., López-López, J., Barbero-Rubio, A., & Gil, E. (2015). The effect of relational training on intelligence quotient. A case study. Psicothema, 27(2), 120- 127. doi: 10.7334/psicothema2014.149.

Theoretical background to SMART

Andrews, G., & Halford, G. S. (1998). Children’s ability to make transitive inferences: The importance of premise integration and structural complexity. Cognitive Development, 13, 479–513. https://doi. org/10.1016/S0885-2014(98)90004-1.

Barnes-Holmes, D., Finn, M., McEnteggart, C., Barnes-Holmes, Y. (2017). Derived Stimulus Relations and Their Role in a Behavior-Analytic Account of Human Language and Cognition. Perspectives on Behavior Science, 41, 155–173. DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1007/s40614-017-0124-7

Cassidy, S., Roche, B. & O’Hora, D. (2010). Relational Frame Theory and human intelligence. European Journal of Behavior Analysis, 11, 37-51.

Halford, G., Wilson, W., & Phillips, S. (2010). Relational knowledge: The foundation of higher cognition. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 14(11), 497–505. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2010.08.005.

Hayes, S. C., Barnes-Holmes, D., & Roche, B. (Eds.) (2001). Relational frame theory: A post-Skinnerian account of human language and cognition. New York: Kluwer Academic.

Hayes, J., Stewart, I 7 McElwee, J. (2016). Assessing and Training Young Children in Same and Different Relations Using the Relational Evaluation Procedure (REP). The Psychological Record, 66, 547–561. DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1007/s40732-016-0191-2

Marr, M. (2015). Mathematics as verbal behavior. Behavioural Processes, 113, 75–80. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2015.01.005.

Rehfeldt, R. A & Barnes-Holmes, Y. (2009). Derived Relational Responding Applications for Learners with Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities: A Progressive Guide to Change. San Francisco: New Hartbinger.

Roche, B., Cassidy, S. & Stewart, I. (2013). Nurturing genius: Realizing a foundational aim of Psychology. In Kashdan, T & Ciarrochi, J. (Eds.), Cultivating well-being: Treatment innovations in Positive Psychology, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and beyond, pp. 267-302. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.

Stewart, I., McLoughlin, S., Mulhern, T., Ming, S., & Kirsten, A. (in press). Assessing and teaching complex relational operants: Analogy and hierarchy. In R. Rehfeldt, J. Tarbox, M. Fryling & L. Hayes (Eds.), Applied Behavior Analysis of Language and Cognition. New Harbinger.

Stewart, I., Tarbox, J., Roche, B., & O’Hora, D. (2013). Education, intellectual development, and relational frame theory. In S. Dymond & B. Roche (Eds.), Advances in relational frame theory: Research & application (pp. 178–198). Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.

Evidence that relational skills are related to intelligence

Cassidy, S., Roche, B., & O’Hora, D. (2010). Relational Frame Theory and Human Intelligence. European Journal of Behavior Analysis, 11(1), 37–51. https://doi.org/10.1080/15021149.2 010.11434333

Colbert, D., Barrett, S. Malone, A & Roche, B. (In press, 2019). The Relational Abilities Index+: Initial Validation of a Functionally Understood Proxy Measure for Intelligence. Perspectives on Behavioral Science. DOI:10.1007/s40614-019-00197-z

Colbert, D., Dobutowitsch, M., Roche, B., & Brophy, C. (2017). The proxy-measurement of intelligence quotients using a relational skills abilities index. Learning and Individual Differences. https://doi. org/10.1016/j.lindif.2017.03.010.

Dixon, M., Whiting, S., Rowsey, K., & Belisly, J. (2014). Assessing the relationship between intelligence and the PEAK relational training system. Research In Autism Spectrum Disorders, 8(9), 1208– 1213. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rasd.2014.05.005.

Gore, N. J., Barnes-Holmes, Y., & Murphy, G. (2010). The relationship between intellectual functioning and relational perspective-taking. International Journal of Psychology & Psychological Therapy, 10, 1–17.

Moran, L., Stewart, I., McElwee, J., & Ming, S. (2010). Brief report: The training and assessment of relational precursors and abilities (TARPA): A preliminary analysis. Journal of Autism and Devel- opmental Disorders, 40(9), 1149–1153. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-010-0968-0.

O’Hora, D., Pelaez, M., & Banres-Holmes, D. (2005). Derived relational responding and performance on verbal subtests of the WAIS-III. The Psychological Record, 55, 155–175. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03395504.

O’Hora, D., Pelaez, M., Barnes-Holmes, D., Rae, G., Robinson, T., & Chaudhary, T. (2008). Temporal relations and intelligence: Correlating relational performance with performance on the WAIS-III. The Psychological Record, 58, 569–583. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03395638.

O’Toole, C., Barnes-Holmes, D., Murphy, C., O’Connor, J., & Barnes-Holmes, Y. (2009). Relational flexibility and intelligence: Extending the remit of Skinner’s Verbal Behavior. International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy, 9, 1–17.

Evidence that relational skills can be enhanced and generalize to novel situations

Barnes-Holmes, Y. Barnes-Holmes, D. Roche, B, & Smeets, P. M. (2001). Exemplar training and a derived transformation of function in accordance with symmetry. The Psychological Record, 51, 287- 308.

Barnes-Holmes, Y. Barnes-Holmes, D. Roche, B, & Smeets, P. M. (2001). Exemplar training and a derived transformation of function in accordance with symmetry II. The Psychological Record, 51, 589-603.

Stewart, I, Barnes-Holmes, D., Roche, B. & Smeets, P. M. (2001). Generating derived relational networks via the abstraction of common physical properties: A possible model of analogical reasoning. The Psychological Record, 51, 381-408.

Barnes-Holmes, Y., Barnes-Holmes, D., Roche, B. & Smeets, P. M. (2001). The development of self and perspective-taking: A Relational frame analysis. Behavior Development Bulletin, 1, 42-45.

Barnes-Holmes, Y., Barnes-Holmes, D., & Smeets, P. M. (2004). Establishing relational responding in accordance with opposite as generalized operant behavior in young children. International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy, 4, 559–586.

Barnes-Holmes, Y., Barnes-Holmes, D., & McHugh, L. (2004). Teaching derived relational responding to young children. Journal of Early and Intensive Behavior Intervention, 1(1), 3-12.

Berens, N., & Hayes, S. (2007). Arbitrarily applicable comparative relations: Experimental evidence for a relational operant. Journal of Applied Behaviour Analysis, 40(1), 45–71. https://doi.org/10.1901/ jaba.2007.7-06.

Gomez, S., Lopez, F., Martin, C. B., Barnes-Holmes, Y., & Barnes-Holmes, D. (2007). Exemplar training and a derived transformation of functions in accordance with symmetry and equivalence. The Psychological Record, 57, 273–293. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03395577.

Luciano, C., Becerra, I., & Valverde, M. (2007). The role of multiple-exemplar training and naming in establishing derived equivalence in an infant. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 87(3), 349–365. https://doi.org/10.1901/jeab.2007.08-06.

McKeel, A. N., Dixon, M. R., Daar, J. H., Rowsey, K. E., & Szekely, S. (2015). Evaluating the efficacy of the PEAK relational training system using a randomized controlled trial of children with autism. Journal of Behavioral Education, 24, 230–241. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10864-015-9219-y.

Rosales, R., Rehfeldt, R. A, Lovett, S. (2011). Effects of multiple exemplar training on the emergence of derived relations in preschool children learning a second language. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 27, 61–74.

Ruiz, F. J., & Luciano, C. (2011). Cross- domain analogies as relating derived relations among two separate relational networks. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 95(3), 369– 385. https://doi.org/10.1901/jeab.2011.9 5-369

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