Robert J. Doman, Jr.
Founder and Director of NACD
Ellen R. Doman, M.A.
Educational Director of NACD
W. Bruce Haslam, Ph.D.
Research Director, The NACD Foundation
The Simply Smarter Project is an initiative of The NACD Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation, and the National Association for Child Development (NACD), under the direction of Robert J. Doman, Jr. The Simply Smarter Project is an international campaign to improve and maximize the abilities and function of the individual, communities, societies, and nations so that they may grow and flourish within a global context of peace and unity. Function within the context of THE PROJECT refers to the ability to think, understand, learn, and communicate.
For the past thirty years, NACD has worked on an international level to maximize the function of children and adults. Throughout literally millions of hours of intervention, Bob Doman and NACD have learned some valuable lessons that have incredible significance for the individual and the world.
- We all possess an innate genetic potential that far surpasses virtually everyone's expectations.
- Our present function as individuals and as a planet is neither a reflection of our individual innate potentials nor our potential as a species.
- The ability to think, understand, learn, and communicate is largely a reflection of the ability to process, manipulate, and utilize pieces of information.
- Our ability to process information is largely a reflection of the stimulation and opportunities that we have received throughout our lifetime.
- The now universally accepted understanding of the plasticity of the human brain is such that, at any point in time, we can stimulate the brain (i.e., supply it with specific appropriate input with sufficient frequency, intensity and duration) and physically change its structure and function. NACD has understood and based its work on neuroplasticity since its inception in 1979.
- The final and perhaps most significant lesson is that we can easily measure an individual's ability to process information, and with specific intervention, significantly change his or her processing. As NACD has already done with literally tens of thousands of individuals, applying these measures can directly affect the ability to think, understand, learn, and communicate.
Phase I of The Simply Smarter Project is to gather baseline data. As individuals, communities, societies, nations, and a planet, we first need to know where we are.
About Phase I
Phase I of The Simply Smarter Project is designed to help us find out where we are in digit span/short-term and working memory processing skills. In a ground-breaking descriptive research study, NACD tested 7,125 individuals from young children to senior adults. The data confirmed that auditory sequential processing continues to improve from childhood all the way up through the late twenties, at which time the auditory sequential processing begins to decline. Visual processing peaks in the late twenties also and then begins to decline. More complex functions, describe by reverse auditory sequential processing, peak in the late teens and also begin to decline at about thirty years of age.
Our plan is to gather data from children and adults from all over the world so that we can determine where the processing abilities are for any given segment of the population. As we progress, we will be adding more and more languages to the baseline tester and encouraging the participation of more and more nations. We firmly believe that this data is going to open the eyes of the world. We believe that the data is going to reflect a significant lack of processing ability in huge segments of the world's populations. Our preliminary data would suggest that as many as 50% of the world's children and adults lack the necessary processing skills to function (think, understand, learn and communicate) well. Preliminary evidence also suggests that there has actually been a regression in auditory processing during the past 50 to 100 years, leading to a frightening loss of cognitive function, the specific function needed to help solve the tremendous problems confronting the world. Click here to read more about this study.
The Simply Smarter Project's research team will record and analyze data by category and classification; such as age, gender, occupation, and education. As many factors as possible will be identified and studied so that we can determine which influences and opportunities have the greatest effect on the development of these cognitive functions.
The information gathered will be used to establish new norms by which individuals will be able to identify their levels relative to a wide variety of criteria. Researchers, schools, communities and companies will be able to analyze the data so that they can identify the need and then the means with which to create meaningful, effective intervention.
As part of Phase I, NACD will continue with its ongoing research to further the understanding of sequential processing and its correlation to learning and cognitive function and to aid in the development of new methodologies to enhance sequential processing and other neurological and physiological factors which contribute to our overall ability to think, understand, learn and communicate.
About Phase II
Phase II of The Simply Smarter Project is the implementation of sequential processing intervention. This phase of The Simply Smarter Project involves public awareness campaigns, as well as the provision of activities and strategies to enhance the sequential processing and cognitive skills of children and adults on an international scale. Educational materials, videos and software programs are being developed and disseminated. In addition, further research and education is being conducted into the development of nutritional, educational and cognitive methodologies to enhance both physical and cognitive function.
A significant aspect of Phase II is an attempt to create a paradigm shift, redefining education. The definition of education needs to be modified to fit our present understanding of individual potential. We need to move from a skill-based perspective to a neurologically-based perspective, assisting individuals in achieving their innate potentials rather than simply attempting to teach skills to minds that are not capable of processing the information or doing so at levels far below their genetic potentials.
NACD believes that our strength as a species lies in our individuality and our innate genetic potentials. Present approaches are denying these strengths and fostering conformity to mediocrity.
Achievement of our individual and collective potentials requires a new perspective, one which believes in our innate untapped potentials, welcomes our individuality and provides individuals with the means with which to achieve said potential.
Perhaps there is no facet of human function that is more remarkable than this simple fact: Human beings can change their minds. By this, we don't mean simply that we can change our opinions, or our attitudes or moods. What we mean is that we can actually change the mind itself; we can change the structure of the brain. And, when the brain is changed, when the mind is improved, our lives improve as well.
The purpose of Phase II is to inform and provide the means with which to begin changing minds.
The goal is to change the norm, to raise sequential processing levels from today's present levels which are somewhere around seven plus or minus two digits to nine plus or minus two digits or more. The immediate implication of The Simply Smarter Project is to enhance the quality of life for those with sequential processing issues – those processing below a seven. For those with processing skills in the seven to nine range, we want to raise them up to superior levels with a corresponding improvement in their global function. For those who function above a nine, we want to enable them to develop truly superior mental abilities, which could help solve the critical problems facing our planet today.