Three Missouri cities ranked in the top 100 smartest cities in the U.S. last year, according to a study by Lumosity that ranks cities’ raw cognitive performance. Rolla came in at No. 19, Columbia at No. 41 and Kansas City at No. 85.
The study used data from over three million Americans between the ages of 18 and 75 who played brain-training games that measured performance across five cognitive areas: memory, processing speed, flexibility, attention, and problem solving. The scores were then ranked by location.
Not surprisingly, a number of the cities on the list are “college towns,” including those in Missouri. Rolla is home to the Missouri University of Science and Technology and Columbia is home to the University of Missouri. Kansas City is home to the University of Missouri Kansas City, Rockhurst University, the Kansas City Art Institute and a number of smaller colleges and technical schools.
“One of the most interesting findings from this analysis is that most of the top metro areas contain major research universities, suggesting that education is an important predictor of cognitive performance,” Lumosity data scientist Daniel Sternberg said in a statement. “Neuroscience research has found that those who are engaged in learning and cognitively stimulating activities throughout the lifetime build up a ‘cognitive reserve’ that helps maintain and improve cognitive performance.”
Lumosity, based in San Francisco, creates brain-training exercises and claims to have amassed the largest dataset of human cognitive performance, with data and insights collected from more than 40 million people since its launch in 2007.