Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Who are we?

The team at the National Association for Child Development has developed Simply Smarter. Under the direction of Bob Doman, NACD developed its first brain software program back in the early 1980’s and has created and utilized many software programs, individual activities as well as classroom activities to build processing skills and cognition as part of comprehensive neurodevelopmental programs. NACD is an international organization that has created and supervised many millions of hours of individualized neurodevelopment programs since its establishment in 1979. NACD redefines human potential.

Q: How does Simply Smarter™ work?

Simply Smarter™ is based on the proven science of Neuroplasticity. By providing the brain with very targeted/totally individualized input we can change and develop the brain so that you can better learn, think, and communicate. The activities in Simply Smarter™ build our cognitive foundation including short-term memory, working memory, executive function, visualization (the ability to think in pictures) and conceptualization (the ability to think in words).

Q: Who can benefit from Simply Smarter?

Simply stated everyone. Learning and attention problems are largely problems associated with all the issues that are addressed in Simply Smarter. The difference between those who struggle and those who succeed is largely a reflection of their processing power. Processing is being termed the new IQ, because processing is a better determining factor of academic success than IQ. If you are under 30 and want to do better and find things easier, build these abilities and if you are over 30 you are most likely beginning already to loose these key abilities. So if you want to keep moving forward and continue to develop your mind you need to work it and build it with Simply Smarter System.

Q: What is short-term memory?

Short-term memory is the ability to take or process auditory and visual information. The more information we can process the more we learn from everything that we see and hear. Many learning problems are the result of poorly developed short-term memory.

Q: What is working-memory?

We use the term working memory to indicate the process of manipulating the pieces of information that we have received through our short-term memory. Working memory is part of the foundation of learning and thought and contributes to cognition and thought.

Q: What is long-term memory?

Long-term memory is memory for information that has been processed through short term and working memory and stored as knowledge.

Q: What is executive function?*

We use the term executive function to refer to that mysterious process called thinking or complexity of thought/cognition. In our perspective you take in sequential auditory or visual information (short-term memory), which establishes the foundation for the basic manipulation of pieces (working memory), which in turn provides the foundation for executive function. We see executive function as the ability to manage what has been processed and to access and use information from long-term memory, attend to, integrate, and manipulate new and old information through visualization and conceptualization in order to understand, create, think, and communicate.

Q: What is cognition?

Cognition refers to our ability to think, reason, imagine and create. Cognition involves all of the pieces developed in short-term memory, working memory, and executive function.

Q: What is visualization?

Visualization is the act of thinking in pictures.

Q: What is conceptualization?

Conceptualization is the act of thinking in words.

Q: What is the Processing Power score?

The Processing Power score is weighted conglomerate score that represents all of your processing and cognitive pieces.

Q: How do I know if I am doing well or not?

If you are progressing, you are doing well. Check your graphs regularly to see if your curves are going up. Through our methodologies we are in the process of redefining potential. Simply stated you are where you are and getting better is better and much better is much better.

Q: How are my scores calculated?

On the short-term and working memory activities, your scores are the combined totals of each number sequence you get correct. For example if you were given a sequence of 7, 8, 6, 7, 7 and got all of the sequence correct except for the 8, your score would be 27. In the Cog activities the scores are weighted based on how difficult they are then calculated the same way.

Q: Is the goal to learn how to memorize bigger lists of number?

No, the goal is to develop your brain, to trigger Neuroplasticity, and to grow or change your brain, thereby affecting how you learn, think, and communicate. In Simply Smarter activities, you are not actually memorizing, you are learning to process and manipulate more and more information. Trying to develop memory strategies such as mnemonics will hurt, not help. The activities are structured to help prevent you from unknowingly creating strategies.

Q: Should I be visualizing (thinking in pictures) or conceptualizing (thinking in words) when I do the activities?

When you are doing either auditory or visual forward or reverse activities you want to try to do everything with conceptualization. This means you should try to not visualize or picture the numbers. When doing the Cog activities, experiment with each activity and find the combination of visualization and conceptualization that works best for you.

Q: Can I look at the keyboard as I listen to the auditory activities?

No, looking at the keyboard is a strategy that actually slows down your development while using Simply Smarter™. Do not look at the keyboard until you are ready to key in your response.

Q: What is the purpose of the Intensity Activities?

The impact specific input has upon the brain is largely a reflection of the intensity with which you process the information. Ultimately you control the intensity of any input you process; however some forms of input tend to raise your attention and intensity. The Intensity Activities have been designed to get your attention, pull up your intensity, and therefore assist in keeping your intensity up while you are doing your Cog activities. When choosing your Intensity activity, choose one that is challenging for you. If the activity is easy you will not generate the intensity we are seeking. If you feel your intensity and focus decreasing while doing the Cog activities, go back and do another Intensity Activity.

Q: How do I switch themes?

Click on the “Switch Themes” on the top menu and select a new theme. Your selection will be saved for the next time you log in.

Q: How often should I use Simply Smarter?

Your brain learns by providing it with targeted/specific information that is delivered with frequency, intensity and duration. Try to use the SSS daily or even twice a day if you want to maximize the results. But, try to use the program when you are awake and alert and can generate good intensity. Target doing the program five or more days a week.

Q: Do I need to do Simply Smarter in a quiet place or should I use headphones?

Generally we would recommend doing the program in a quiet place or using headphones. The fewer distractions you have, generally the better you can focus.

* Many, if not most, psychological terms are open for some degree of interpretation, debate, or discussion. Our use of the terms reflects our extensive clinical experience.

Q: What browsers are supported with Simply Smarter?

We recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Edge on Windows or Safari, Chrome or Firefox on macOS. We do not recommend using the Internet Explorer browser.

Q: How can I change the time zone so the times match my location?

(For users) Click on your name in the upper right corner, then navigate to the Profile tab. Under User Profile, locate the Time Zone dropdown and select the one closest to your location. When finished click on the Update Profile button to save your selection. (For Admins) Click the Profile tab. Under User Profile, locate the Time Zone dropdown and select the one closest to your location. When finished click on the Update Profile button to save your selection.

What is a digit span?

A digit span is a measurement of how many numbers you can hear in a series and recall, or see in a series and recall. This is typically tested both forward and reverse. Most IQ tests assess digit spans. The most common method used to test sequential processing is the digit span. Simply Smarter assesses your digit spans with Baseline Tests as a way of determining how well you are doing. Then Simply Smarter activities use digit span recall exercises as a way of improving your sequential processing.

What’s 7 +/- 2?

It is generally accepted that, without intervention, sequential processing develops at the rate of one digit (or one piece of information) per year for the first seven to nine years of life, and then remains relatively stable. The initial research on sequential processing indicated that a majority of adults had auditory/visual forward digit spans ranging from 5 to 9 digits. This “normal” range for adult digit spans became known as 7 +/- 2 (seven plus or minus two). The preliminary research data currently being collected through Simply Smarter Project 9 +/- 2, however, indicates that the extremely important function of auditory sequential processing has actually dropped to 6 +/- 2 over the last fifty years.

What is NACD’s Simply Smarter Project 9+/- 2?

Simply Smarter Project 9 +/- 2 is an international program initiated by the National Academy for Child Development (a non-profit organization) to help raise the “normal” processing level of adults around the world to 9 +/- 2 digits.

Does my digit span indicate how smart I am?

No! Your digit spans measure your ability to take in pieces of information and to hold and manipulate them. NACD’s clinical experience suggests that sequential processing is a vital key to how well you can access your innate genetic intelligence. Many highly intelligent people have low digit spans. Our experience indicates, however, that if your digit spans are low, your access to your innate genetic intelligence is not as good as it could be. Also, the higher your digit spans are, the better able you are to utilize your intelligence.

Is the goal to learn how to memorize long series of numbers?

No. Learning strategies that help you remember longer and longer sequences of numbers are not going to improve your sequential processing. The goal is not to learn how to remember chains of numbers, it is rather to help you develop the neurological ability to take in and manipulate more and more distinct pieces of information.

How much improvement is good improvement?

In working with many thousands of individuals on the development of sequential processing skills, we have learned that even an improvement of half a digit translates into noticeable change in one’s everyday ability to learn, think and communicate. One of the best ways to observe the difference a digit can make is to look at the difference in the function of a two-year-old versus a three-year-old child. The difference in their behavior, their language skills, their ability to understand, learn and interact is not simply a reflection of having “learned” more. It is a reflection of the difference between being able to process three rather than only two pieces of information at one time.

An improvement of even one digit can profoundly change your life. The longer and more consistently you work at the program, the further you will go.

What is my potential?

NACD clients have shown us that our potentials are essentially limitless.

NACD has worked with thousands of individuals with supposedly “limited” potential and watched them go beyond all the professionals’ expectations. Developing sequential processing is one of the most effective neurological interventions NACD employs in the remediation of developmental delays, learning problems, ADD/ADHD, and other diagnoses. Many NACD clients eventually shed their labels and end up testing in the normal or gifted range. NACD has seen many children and adults labeled with learning disabilities or ADD who had poor processing skills. Over time these individuals developed their processing skills into the “Superior” and even “Millennium Mind” levels.

When should I stop using Simply Smarter?

Never! You cannot outlive the value of maintaining and developing your sequential processing skills. You can continue working to become all that you can be throughout your lifetime.

Important Terms and Concepts


Chaining is the process of building a sequence in your mind by connecting the numerals.

For example, if the sequence is “5-9-6-7-2” and you think “five” “five-nine” “five-nine-six” “five-nine-six-seven” “five-nine-six-seven-two,” you are chaining each number to the preceding number in an attempt to remember the sequence.

To maximize your results we recommend you avoid chaining the numbers together.


Chunking is the process of grouping individual numbers together instead of treating each number as a distinct piece.

For example, if the sequence is “8-0-1-6” and you think “eighty sixteen” you are processing two “chunks” of numbers instead of four individual numbers.

To maximize your results we recommend you avoid chunking the numbers together. It is important to treat each number as a separate unit of information.


Conceptualization is thinking in words.

For example, to conceptualize the sequence “89021” you would think (or hear in your mind) “eight” “nine” “zero” “two” “one” instead of trying to “see” the numerals in your head as a picture. The ability to conceptualize is essential for skills such as verbal and written expression, auditory and reading comprehension, problem solving, and communication.

To develop your ability to conceptualize, follow the specific activity guidelines in this manual indicating when to use conceptualization as your primary strategy.


Visualization is thinking in pictures.

For example, to visualize the sequence “3096” try to see the numerals “3096” in your mind as a picture.

Our ability to visualize is important for skills such as mathematical computation, spelling, and decision-making.

Follow the activity guidelines in this manual, which indicate when to use visualization as your primary strategy.

Frequency, Intensity, and Duration

Frequency refers to how often you do an activity.

Duration refers to how long you do an activity in a session.

Intensity refers to your attention and focus when doing the activities.

Of the three, intensity is by far the most important factor in how well you perform the activities and how efficiently and quickly you actually improve your processing.

It is imperative that you maintain high intensity every time you do the activities in this software.

For best results, do the activities often, with high intensity and focus, for short periods of time.