The IQ Mindware Architecture Model

Mindware Architecture


What is ‘mindware’?

The term ‘mindware‘ was first coined by Perkins in his book Outsmarting IQ: The Emerging Science of Learnable IntelligenceMindware refers to the rules, knowledge, and strategies that  aid decision making and problem solving. Mindware is a term for the knowledge you draw on to tackle target situations intelligently: your cognitive toolkit.

There are three types of mindware: architecture, models and methods. Architecture are broad, comprehensive frameworks; models are helpful theories or schemes, and methods are procedures, rules, heuristics, strategies and so on, that aid information processing.

The exercises in the HighIQPro tutorials will build the store of mindware you can utilize for a range of different cognitive functions – for strategizing, problem solving, decision-making, comprehending and so on.

The evidence-based mindware architecture that underlies all that you learn in the HighIQPro tutorials is shown in the figure below. This is the broadest, most generally applied, mindware model that you will constantly use as you build your cognitive toolkit for being smarter. It is called the IQ Mindware Architecture Model (IQMA Model).

Intelligence augmentation benefits from the joint  development of (1) meta-awareness/mindfulness, (2) mindware strategies, and (3) cognitive capacity. At the core of this process are the thinking skills of imagining possibilities, thinking logically (using reason), being evidence-bound (tracking truth), and knowing how to evaluate and be guided by values and preferences. This is all shown in the upper triad.

This upper CONSCIOUS triad works synergistically with different strategies for UNCONSCIOUS incubation – the lower lower circle. Incubation is needed for maturing your intuitions for insights in our understanding, for creative problem solving, for intuitive decision-making. 


“Intuition: the direct knowing or learning of something without the conscious use of reasoning; immediate understanding.”


Mindfulness & Meta-Awareness

This is a critical aspect of the mindware architecture. You need to be aware of when an opportunity arises to exercise a cognitive skill – through being aware of your own mental processes. This is meta-awareness. Much of what we do is on automatic pilot, and this can prevent us unlearning bad habits, and applying useful mindware.

Aside from the self-awareness, we can also benefit from non-judgemental mindfulness of our mental processes and behaviors – for more emotional intelligence and the crucial capacity to learn from mistakes and failures. Mindfulness can help us be more objective about our abilities without being defensive through a sensitive ego, and help us tackle situations we might avoid through fear of negative judgements or self-censure.

For a general introduction to meta-awareness and mindfulness visit this article.


Cognitive Capacity (Gated Dual N-Back Training)

Your general cognitive capacity includes:

  • The bandwidth of the amount of information you can process while thinking something through ‘off line’.
  • The efficiency of deploying your problem solving, decision-making, comprehension, etc.
  • Your ability to override automatic, reactive processes in your mind and think problems through ‘offline’.
  • Your ability to control your attention.

As we know from the scientific evidence HighIQPro’s gated dual n-back training augments cognitive capacity.


I am a cognitive scientist with a joint Ph.D in cognitive psychology and neuroscience from the Center of the Neural Basis of Cognition (Carnegie Mellon/Pittsburgh). At IQ Mindware we develop brain training interventions to increase IQ, critical thinking, decision making, creativity and executive functioning.