INTELLIGENCE : WHAT IS IT?
Week 31:- Edition 01:-
Is going to school and getting good grades a measure of intelligence? What are your thoughts on this? Do we all need to go to school to be intelligent? Or is there something else that needs to be done? Share your thoughts with us.
The dictionary defines intelligence as the capacity of mind, especially to understand principles, truths, facts or meanings, acquire knowledge, and apply it to practice; the ability to comprehend and learn. This definition is quite self-explanatory and we it shows if the metrics by which intelligence is measured and by which it is defined.
Perhaps the most common tangible terminology that is used to guage intelligence is the Intelligence Quotient (IQ). The Intelligence Quotient has been used for centuries as a way to quantitatively measure Intelligence through a series of standardized tests and subtests. The results of the tests are then compared to those of people from the same age group as the person that is tested. This gives an objective, quantitative look into the intelligence of a person.
What have scientists learned from measuring IQs all these years?
IQ is genetic and scientists have discovered that there are multiple genes in the human genome that code for proteins responsible for intelligence. This suggests that intelligence is wildly inheritable and the intelligence of a child can be seen as a factor of the intelligence of the child's two biological parents.
But it doesn't end there. There has been a longstanding debate in the scientific community. Nature versus Nurture-which is more important? Nature refers to the biological and genetic component of a person, those traits that a person is born with, if one were to oversimplify it that way. On the other hand, nurture refers to the environment and the environmental factors that influence a behaviour. All of a person's experiences and interactions with other people and things also fall within the definition is this terminology, nurture. I am not really sure there is a clear winner among the two, but one thing is sure, the two are very intertwined and codependent and one cannot stand alone without the other.
What does this mean ultimately? In relation to intelligence, this means that even if a person is genetically wired to be intelligent, if the the circumstances around him or her impede the development of that mind enough, then the intelligence might not be as expressed as one might want it to be. Alternatively, if one is genetically wired to be relatively below par in intelligence relative to his or her peers, if enough motivation and sheer willpower exists, then such a person may rise up the intelligence quotient scale and become more intelligent due to the repetitive acts he or she performs.
This reminds me of a man many years ago who performed a social experiment of sorts on his three kids. Right from birth, he made their lives all about chess. The toys they played with was chess-related, they lived, breathed, ate, and drank chess. They were also greatly rewarded when they attained certain milestones or achieved some feat. The three children would later go on to become chess masters. If I'm not mistaken, the third child became a chess grandmaster at a very young age, definitely influenced by the fact that she had two senior siblings who were already adept at the game and that she could look up to and measure herself by. And somehow, I'm willing to wager that they probably didn't have genius IQs at birth. Summarily, the environment matters a lot, probably more than the genetics, even.
Is getting good grades a measure of intelligence? I'd say definitely yes, it is. However, I feel like this is not a metric that everyone should be measured by.
There's this autistic man who can take a helicopter ride over a city and make a landscape drawing of the city with such detail that it's almost unbelievable. Now, he might not exactly be intelligent according to the metric of the academia, but he is very intelligent in his own way. Generally, I've noticed that people in the field of art, musicians and scriptwriters for example, might ot be very intelligent according to the standards of academia, but they are very very intelligent still, in their own fields.
Do we all need to go to school to be intelligent?
This relates quite closely to the point made above.
I believe intelligence itself is not a factor of education from school. People assimilate things in school at a varying rate based on their level of intelligence, among other factors. Also, people are usually much more intelligent in a certain area or field much more than other areas and fields. That is why students have favorite subjects; because a certain field appeals more to them than the others.
Summarily, intelligence is a measure of one's ability to reason well and solve problems. It can be improved upon. People are usually more intelligent in a certain field relative to the rest of the fields available to them. The school system doesn't really determine intelligence.