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Brain Academy - Intelligence

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Prof. Aidan Moran, Cognitive Psychology


Here is an idea and a theme that I think would work quite well - it's based on solid psychological research (see http://www.infed.org/thinkers/gardner.htm )and it sends a positive/encouraging message to viewers: Specifically, I could talk about "intelligence" and why we're all much smarter than we think we are!


BackGround:-


We all know that people differ from each other. That's what makes the world so interesting. And we also know that one of the most important and obvious differences between people lies in their intelligence.


That's why we call some people "smart", "clever", "bright" whereas we call other people "dull" or worse still, "stupid". But these labels aren't always helpful or accurate. For example, we often observe that those people who seem brightest at school don't always go on to have the same kind of success or happiness in their careers or personal lives. In other words, academic intelligence doesn't always translate into common sense or practical success.


For this reason, psychologists are beginning to change their view about what "intelligence" really is and about perhaps more importantly, how best to measure and develop it. Here to tell us the story of the changing face of intelligence, and why we're all MUCH smarter than we think we are is Aidan Moran.

Origin of theory of multiple intelligences:-


Dissatisfaction with traditional views of intelligence and the fact that IQ is poorly related to many real-life skills/abilities led Howard Gardner and others (e.g., Robert Sternberg) to suggest that there are many types of intelligence - not just one.


These intelligences are independent of each other
More radically, he suggested that whereas the first two types (linguistic and logical) are very useful in school, the remaining 5 types of intelligence become more important after people leave school


. Linguistic - verbal fluency, the ability to communicate successfully with others: Found in writing essays/poetry, public speaking and in storytelling


. Logical-mathematical - the ability to think scientifically/logically. Found in science.


. Spatial - the ability to visualize things in three-dimensions and to solve problems using mental images/maps


. Musical - the ability to sing in tune, play musical instruments and/or compose music


. Bodily-kinaesthetic - the ability to dance, perform sport skills, or perform surgery


. Interpersonal - the ability to understand, "read" and/or influence other people


. Intrapersonal - the ability to have a clear knowledge of one's own thoughts and feelings


. Assessing your practical intelligence: Sample items (please note: these questions are for illustrative purposes only)


Linguistic Intelligence


. You're well able to express yourself verbally or in writing
. You enjoy and are good at word games (e.g., crosswords)


Logical-Mathematical Intelligence


. You enjoy and are good at working with numbers (e.g., balancing the family/household budget)
. You love finding out how things work


Spatial intelligence


. You enjoy and are good at reading maps when travelling
. You enjoy following instructions from diagrams in assembling things


Musical intelligence


. You have often been told that you have a good singing voice
. You can always tell when someone is singing or playing out of tune


Bodily-Kinaesthetic Intelligence


. You enjoy playing sports competitively
. You enjoy and are good at dancing


Interpersonal Intelligence


. You pride yourself on being a good judge of character and find that other people often come to you for advice
. You've been told that you're a good communicator in group situations


Intrapersonal intelligence


. You never mind being alone as it gives you a chance to reflect on things
. You keep a diary of your thoughts and feelings and update it regularly


Creative thinking: Thinking Outside the Box!
Sometimes, problems we face are only difficult because they are presented to us in a certain way: If we could re-structure the problem, a solution might "pop out".


Example of Restructuring (Creative Thinking)


What is sum of all numbers between 1 and 1000?


Normal way to solve this problem is to add the numbers
1+2+3 ... 1000
There is a creative solution: Instead of adding up the numbers, a creative person (e.g., 12 year old boy named Gauss) restructured the task as follows:
1 + 1000 = 1001
2 + 999 = 1001
Solution is 1001 x 500 = 500,500


Assessing your practical intelligence: Sample items (please note: these questions are for illustrative purposes only)


Linguistic intelligence


. You're well able to express yourself verbally or in writing
. You enjoy and are good at word games (e.g., crosswords)


Logical-Mathematical Intelligence


. You enjoy and are good at working with numbers (e.g., balancing the family/household budget)
. You love finding out how things work


Spatial Intelligence


. You enjoy and are good at reading maps when travelling
. You enjoy following instructions from diagrams in assembling things


Musical Intelligence


. You have often been told that you have a good singing voice
. You can always tell when someone is singing or playing out of tune


Bodily-Kinaesthetic Intelligence


. You enjoy playing sports competitively
. You enjoy and are good at dancing


Interpersonal Intelligence


. You pride yourself on being a good judge of character and find that other people often come to you for advice
. You've been told that you're a good communicator in group situations.


Intrapersonal Intelligence


. You never mind being alone as it gives you a chance to reflect on things
. You keep a diary of your thoughts and feelings and update it regularly


The first 2 are important in an academic sense, at school, but the others become more important in life beyond school. The balance of all of them is what is required to be successful in life. You may get a job because you are academically smart, but if you can't get on with people you won't last long.


Don't be a prisoner of the belief that any one is the most important. The things we used to see as being very intelligent, like calculating numbers fast is now not seen as being very intelligent, as computers can calculate them very fast.

So now walking around a room without bumping into people that computers can't do so it is valued more. There are a lot of very intelligent people but who are not successful in life.


Academic intelligence is not a great predictor of success in life. So what qualities are required to be successful? Not just thinking ability. Emotional or interpersonal intelligence is more important or physical or musical intelligence.


Not everyone has changed in their view of this. There are critics of multiple intelligence. Can measure traditional intelligence quite well, but it is harder to identify for example people's musical intelligence.

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