Eastern Iowa metro cluster '6th Brainiest' based on cognitive training software scores

Rankings based on cognitive scores from Lumosity brain-training game

Dave DeWitte
Published: June 6 2012 | 9:40 am - Updated: 31 March 2014 | 8:05 pm in

A study using cognitive training software scores to identify America's "brainiest cities" puts the Cedar Rapids-Waterloo-Iowa City-Dubuque metro region among the nation's smartest.

Richard Florida, author of the watershed book "Rise of the Creative Class," ranked cities according to data from the Lumosity brain-training game software company from Lumos Labs. He is senior editor of the online site Atlantic Cities, where he published his findings this week.

published his findings this week.

Florida started with data developed by Lumosity mapping the scores of more than 1 million users across United States metro areas using software that identifies their geographical location by their IP (Internet Protocol) addresses.

Lumosity normalized the data into a brain performance index controlling for age and gender, and limited its ranking to data with more than 500 "observations," or Lumosity results that could be tracked.

Plenty of college towns and research centers showed up with the highest "brainy metro scores" on a map prepared by the Martin Prosperity Institute's Zara Matheson.

The highest ranked metro area was Charlottesville, Va., followed by Lafayette, Ind. and Anchorage, Alaska.

The Cedar Rapids-Waterloo-Iowa City and Dubuque region was ranked sixth nationally, between number five San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose and number seven Honolulu.

Florida and a colleague correlated the Lumosity data with conventional demographic measures that suggest high brain performance, including educational attainment levels and percentage of "knowledge workers" in the population.

Florida and colleague Charlotta Mellander found a significant correlation between the Lumosity data and the share of adults in the population with a bachelor's degree or greater, and the percent engaged in knowledge and creative work.

No correlation was found between the higher Lumosity scores and higher rates of innovation, higher per-capita incomes or higher concentrations of high-technology industries, Florida wrote.

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