The concept of intelligence has some rough backgrounds.
THE OBVIOUS RASICM
For example during the 19th century physical anthropologist Samuel George Morton believed that brain size was a measure of intelligence. He measured the sizes of hundreds of human skulls to assert that there was a difference between races.
He concluded that Europeans had the highest brain capacity, followed by Chinese, Southeast Asians, Polynesians, American Indians, and lastly African & Australian Aborigines.
Ofcourse now we look back at his work and realize it was the result of unconscious bias, reporting selected data, analytical errors & mismeasured skulls.
DO IQ TESTS REALLY MEASURE INTELLIGENCE
IQ tests stand for Intelligence Quotient Test. They are a standardized test that one cannot really study for. An IQ test measures a person’s general intellectual ability to understand ideas compared to the general population at the same developmental level.
How well we reason, distinguish relationships and solve problems and how well we process information, particularly our ability to store and retrieve it are also things IQ tests measure.
However, IQ tests fail to measure many things such as creativity, emotional sensitivity and social competence.
IQ tests are fundamentally flawed because they do not take into account the complex nature of the human intellect and its different components.
Furthermore, IQ tests are not good at predicting how well you are going to do in life. Just because someone scores high, it does not guarantee success.
MORE THAN ONE TYPE OF INTELLIGENCE
Different people are good at different things. Someone might fail at one topic but excel at another.
As Albert Einstein said, "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
These are 9 types of intelligence proposed by Howard Gardner.
- Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart): human sensitivity to the natural word. Have you ever met someone who was really good with animals? Or who had a “green thumb”? Today they can be a chef or a botanist
- Musical Intelligence (Music Smart): ability to recognize tone, rhythm, timbre, and pitch and more
- Logical-Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart) : ability to calculate, quantify, consider propositions and hypotheses, and carry out complete mathematical operations.
- Existential Intelligence: sensitivity and capacity to tackle deep questions about human existence, such as the meaning of life, why do we die, and how did we get here.
- Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart): ability to understand and interact effectively with others.
- Bodily-Kinestic Intelligence (Body Smart): manipulate objects and use a variety of physical skills. (athletes, dancers, surgeons)
- Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart): capacity to understand oneself and one’s thoughts and feelings, and to use such knowledge in planning and directioning one’s life
- Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart): those who have an amazing use of mental imagery and artistic skills
- Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart): ability to think in words and to use language to express and appreciate complex meanings.
Ofcourse these probably don’t capture everything in the wide range of smarts that we all have.
More on these here
We’ll get better, someday.