Studying for the LSAT makes you smarter, according to new research by neuroscientists at the University of California, Berkeley. The study found that intensive preparation for the Law School Admission Test changes the microscopic structure of the brain, physically bolstering the connections between areas of the brain important for reasoning.
The study used Blueprint LSAT Prep students enrolled in a three-month, 100-hour course, and compared them with a control group not training for the LSAT.
The study focused on the ability to tackle a novel problem, which is central to IQ tests.
“People assume that IQ tests measure some stable characteristic of an individual, but we think this whole assumption is flawed,” said associate professor and senior author Dr. Silvia Bunge. “We think that the skills measured by an IQ test wax and wane over time depending on the individual’s level of cognitive activity.”
Allyson Mackey, a UC Berkeley graduate student who led the study said people have known they can do better on the LSAT by preparing.
“What we were interested in is whether and how the brain changes as a result of LSAT preparation, which we think is, fundamentally, reasoning training,” she said in a statement. “We wanted to show that the ability to reason is malleable in adults.”
The findings were reported in Frontiers in Neuroanatomy.