Rolla ranks No. 19 on a list of the smartest places in the United States.

Rolla ranks No. 19 on a list of the smartest places in the United States.

“Economists and urban researchers tend to analyze the collective intelligence of cities based on socioeconomic variables like income and education levels,” Daniel A. Sternberg, Ph.D., writes in the introduction to the report from Lumosity, a web-based company that uses games to train brains in its human cognitive performance program.

“Last year, Lumosity published its first Smartest Cities rankings based on our own database of users’ performance on cognitive training exercises.”

The 2012 rankings measured the “cognitive performance” of more than 1 million Americans who logged onto the Lumosity website and participated in the brain training program. This year’s rankings looked at three times that many, according to the report.

The report has various rankings of cities and areas. Rolla is listed among the core-based statistical areas. In addition, there are rankings by combined statistical areas and direct city and state; Rolla is not ranked in those measurements.

A core-based statistical area, such as Rolla, includes an urban center of at least 10,000 people, along with adjacent areas that are socioeconomically tied to the urban center via commuting.
Ithaca, N.Y., a college town, ranked No. 1 on the core-based statistical area list.

Columbia, home of the University of Missouri, ranked No. 41.

Rolla’s No. 19 ranking pleased city and Missouri University of Science and Technology campus leaders.

“It's a nice recognition for Rolla and for the campus,” said Andrew Careaga, director of public relations for Missouri S&T. “The quality of S&T's academic programs naturally attracts many bright and talented students. And of course, the university attracts some of the nation's smartest professors and researchers.”

City Administrator John Butz said, “It’s one of those fun things you brag about and laugh about.”
Sternberg said the analysis of Lumosity users had some guidelines for selection.

“To be included in the analysis, a user must have played at least one game in each of the five Lumosity ‘brain areas’: speed, attention, flexibility, memory and problem solving.”

The users must have provided their date of birth and gender, and the analysis also ranked places by age.

Looking only at the under-35 age group, Rolla as a core-based statistical area ranked even higher. It was at No. 11. Kirksville ranked No. 3. Columbia did not make the list.

Rolla was not ranked in either the 35-55 or over 55 age groups. Columbia was No. 3 in the 35-55 group and it was No. 1 in the over 55 group.

The analysis also looked at the cognitive areas used by Lumosity in its training.

Rolla ranked No. 8 in memory and No. 10 in problem solving. Columbia ranked No. 22 in problem solving.

Rolla was No. 21 in the speed area. Columbia was No. 31.

Here are the top 100 areas:

1. Ithaca, N.Y.
2. State College, Pa.
3. Lafayette-West Lafayette, Ind.
4. Iowa City, Iowa
5. Ames, Iowa
6. Ann Arbor, Mich.
7. Bloomington, Ind.
8. Madison, Wis.
9. Lawrence, Kan.
10. Pullman, Wash.
11. College Station-Bryan, Texas
12. Appleton, Wis.
13. Champaign-Urbana, Ill.
14. Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford, Va.
15. Charlottesville, Va.
16. Boulder, Colo.
17. Provo-Orem, Utah
18. Harrisonburg, Va.
19. Rolla, Mo.
20. Houghton, Mich.
21. Muncie, Ind.
22. Corvallis, Ore.
23. Boone, N.C.
24. Logan, Utah-Idaho
25. Stillwater, Okla.
26. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wis.
27. Claremont-Lebanon, N.H.-Vt.
28. Lebanon, Pa.
29. Moscow, Idaho
30. Cedar Rapids, Iowa
31. Lincoln, Neb.
32. Bloomsburg-Berwick, Pa.
33. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.-Wis.
34. Starkville, Miss.
35. Athens, Ohio
36. La Crosse-Onalaska, Wis.-Minn.
37. Brainerd, Minn.
38. Burlington-South Burlington, Vt.
39. Fargo, N.D.-Minn.
40. Stevens Point, Wis.
41. Columbia, Mo.
42. St. Cloud, Minn.
43. Rochester, Minn.
44. Auburn-Opelika, Ala.
45. Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Iowa
46. Oil City, Pa.
47. Fort Collins, Colo.
48. Sheboygan, Wis.
49. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.-N.H.
50. Keene, N.H.
51. Oshkosh-Neenah, Wis.
52. Burlington, N.C.
53. Pittsburgh, Pa.
54. Fond du Lac, Wis.
55. Concord, N.H.
56. Morgantown, W.Va.
57. Bellingham, Wash.
58. Mount Pleasant, Mich.
59. Ottawa-Peru, Ill.
60. Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Ind.
61. Laramie, Wyo.
62. Barnstable Town, Mass.
63. Lancaster, Pa.
64. Reading, Pa.
65. Winchester, Va.-W.Va
66. Bozeman, Mont.
67. Bloomington, Ill.
68 Gainesville, Fla.
69. Duluth, Minn.-Wis.
70. Michigan City-La Porte, Ind.
71. South Bend-Mishawaka, Ind.-Mich.
72. Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa
73. Omaha-Council Bluffs, Neb.-Iowa
74. Oxford, Miss.
75. Altoona, Pa.
76. Wooster, Ohio
77. Bismarck, N.D.
78. Grand Forks, N.D.-Minn.
79. Grand Rapids-Wyoming, Mich.
80. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y.
81. Binghamton, N.Y.
82. Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pa.
83. Wisconsin Rapids-Marshfield, Wis.
84. Ogdensburg-Massena, N.Y.
85. Kansas City, Mo.-Kan.
86. San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, Calif.
87. Torrington, Conn.
88. Trenton, N.J.
89. Rochester, N.Y.
90. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash.
91. Oneonta, N.Y.
92. Eau Claire, Wis.
93. Warsaw, Ind.
94. Norwich-New London, Conn.
95. Eugene, Ore.
96. Topeka, Kan.
97. Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, Pa.-N.J.
98. Mankato-North Mankato, Minn.
99. Helena, Mont.
100. Cincinnati, Ohio-Ky.-Ind.

“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 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.”