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Venture Beat reports that the towns with the smartest people are small college towns, based on how more than 3 million people around the U.S. performed in brain training games created by Lumosity. VB explains, “These games measured performance across five cognitive areas: memory, processing speed, flexibility, attention, and problem solving. Then the scores were ranked by location.” Here’s a direct link to the Lumosity paper.

These are the top 10 smartest cities, ranked by median scores:

1. Ithaca, NY
2. State College, PA
3. Lafayette-West Lafayette, IN
4. Iowa City, IA
5. Ames, IA
6. Ann Arbor, MI
7. Bloomington, IN
8. Madison, WI
9. Lawrence, KS
10. Pullman, WA

First, I might quibble with the methodology of ranking cities by median scores. Probably there are more smart people right here in NYC than in, say, Ames, IA. (Though I know at least three extremely smart people from Ames who might dispute me on this).

Interesting implications for education and where we should choose to raise our children. If your only goal is educational excellence, is it better to be in a homogenous highly educated community than a diverse community of high and low achievers?

Also makes me wonder if the public schools in these towns are any different than the public schools elsewhere around the country. Are the teachers smarter too and using more creative teaching practices? Or are the schools simply blessed with students who are the offspring of PhD parents?

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Jill Barshay writes the weekly “Proof Points” column about education research and data, covering a range of topics from early childhood to higher education. She taught algebra to ninth-graders for...

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