Dagens Nyheter (Sweden): you’re smarter than you think? Eight myths about intelligence and IQ

Studies show that people who get high scores in tests of IQ, perform better in some other areas of life.

Employee Dagens Nyheter, Maria Gunther (Gunther Maria) wrote a book called “the Mind” (Smart). Augustin Erba read this book, which debunks a lot of myths about intelligence.

Myth 1: people with high IQ are better than others

It can be assumed that people with proven high IQ are better than others, because they have higher cognitive abilities. But when writer Maria Gunther became a member of the society of people with high IQ, she very quickly realized that this is not so. It has applied for membership in Mensa (Mensa), a society that accepts only those who successfully runs his own version of the test on IQ.

Maria Gunther passed the examination and was soon able to join the discussions of companies online. In her book she says that not everyone who did well on the test, was pleasant and competent social people. The level of discussion was so low that Mary Gunther has left Mensa. And here is what she writes about the explorers of intelligence:

“I was not quite prepared for the fact that when communicating with some experts on intelligence will encounter some unpleasant tendencies such as elitism, sexism, racism, dishonesty in scientific work and hard and derogatory tone with others. Some of this, of course, can be explained by natural reaction to what the field of their activities is constantly exposed to the attacks of critics, and the subject of research is still not exactly formulated.”

Perhaps we should also add that does not the fact that researchers of intelligence have higher IQ than other people. But my own experience and the experiences Mary Gunther of Mensa, allows us to say that a high IQ does not necessarily makes a person more likeable. However, the question here is what is actually intelligence and IQ and how they are measured.

Myth 2: intelligence is the result that you get after passing an IQ test

In pop culture there are many different opinions about what is intelligence, but in fact the majority of scholars came to question this consensus.

Once IQ meant a psychological age. IQ — intelligence quotient in English- served as a measure by which it was determined, whether the child is lagging behind in mental development or develops faster than normal. But now it is not so. And the IQ tests are different. In a test that uses, for example, Mensah, are the tasks of the five main types, according to Patricia carpenter (Patricia Carpenter), Marcel Adam Casto (Marcel Adam Just) and Peter Schell (Peter Shell).

1. A number of similar items: find similarities.

2. Quantitative change: for example, one shape one segment, the other two.

3. The addition or subtraction of shapes: lines, which compiled the figures, to add or subtract from each other individually.

4. Distribution of three options.

5. The distribution of the two values.

And, of course, obviously, the ability to find such patterns says little, for example, on the communicative skills of the person. But in psychology there is evidence that IQ tests measure one useful and valuable human characteristic. Why are jobs listed above, call it unknown, we only know that this is so.

However, the analysis that is carried out in the study of intelligence, much more deep.

Most scientists agree that there is so-called the factor of General intelligence. The theory about General intelligence in the early twentieth century, proposed the English psychologist Charles Spearman (Charles Spearman). We know that General intelligence, like many other human characteristics, on average, people have about the same. This means that most of us are on about the same level, and only some people are less intelligent or more intelligent than the average person.

As Gunther writes in his book “Mind”, we can distinguish two types of intelligence. One is responsible for the ability to draw conclusions and solve problems. The second is our knowledge and ability to use them, as well as experience in solving problems. The combination of knowledge and experience is called crystallized intelligence, and the ability to draw conclusions and solve problems — moving intelligence. Basically we can say that crystallized intelligence is working when you need to recognize the old, already encountered schemes and to act upon it, and the fluid intelligence necessary to detect new schemes.

Maria Gunther defines intelligence as the ability to keep in mind the desired knowledge and discard what doesn’t matter.

Myth 3: smart people are doing better

As always in the case of categorical and generalising statements, if you look at it more, it turns out that all this is very difficult to prove. What do you mean, “better things are going”? What a person earns more money? That he has higher status at work? That he’s happy? If you look at how the lives of people with intellectual academic point of view, we can say that there are more people with scientific degrees. But there is a study that shows that it is better to be stupid than uncomfortable. People who are struggling to take criticism, cope with stress and survive failures, the risk is much greater to be unemployed than those who simply lower the intelligence.

And at work, both unskilled and leadership, the level of salary often depends more on personal qualities than on the level of intelligence.

There are many stories about smart people who were being persecuted in school, but studies show just the opposite. Intelligence works as a kind of protection. Also, smart kids are less dependent on the level of education of their parents, achieving success.

Conclusion: Intelligence is important if you want to succeed, but to avoid the failure of more help other qualities.

Myth 4: men are smarter than women

Studies show that some slight difference in intelligence really is, but there is no evidence that men are smarter than women. Rather, in the world a bit more men with low intelligence than women.

But the same study says that among the most intelligent people are also slightly more men. Probably because the intelligence can be improved — see paragraph 7.

Myth 5 (?): the size of the brain determines intelligence

From the point of view of evolution everything here is crystal clear. The dinosaurs had a brain the size of a pea, if you look at its relationship with body size. And the difference between us humans and our predecessors is the volume of the brain. And this myth is harder to dispel. We know that larger brains in animals provides them with a greater intellect, but because men have larger brain than women, and when this intellectual difference is not in favor of men (see item 4) — despite their on average larger brains. There is a theory that what was important was not the size, and density. Or that certain parts of the brain more important than others.

Myth 6: multi-tasking does not require intelligence

An important part of intelligence is what psychologists call working memory, if simplistic — the ability to keep information in my head. For example, from working memory depends on how many different things we can do at the same time. There are many games that are based on working memory, for example, Rubik’s Cube or tower of Hanoi. Some believe that working memory and fluid intelligence are one and the same, but then scientists have not yet come to a consensus.

Myth 7: it is impossible to increase your IQ

For some reason, many in the minds firmly embedded the idea that the intellect, in contrast to almost all other human abilities, is immutable and predetermined. But the measurements prove that it is not. As an example, for example, allow so-called Flynn effect. It shows that people are passing the intelligence test today, on average, doing better than those who passed it 15 years ago.

You can achieve the opposite result is to degrade IQ. For example, if a person grows in the mercury contaminated areas, the intellect he falls. Mercury vapor impair mental abilities of people.

The best way to improve intelligence is to learn. Each additional year in school on average improves IQ by 1-5 points. This result disappears once the training is complete.

Myth 8: you’re smarter than you think

And here we come to the saddest part of this article. In one American study, 64% of respondents agreed with the statement “I’m smarter than the average person”. Reading this might have realized that if more than half the people consider themselves smarter than average, then it definitely can’t be true.

But then you can be comforted by the fact that at least some of these, 64% are right. Besides, this is an American study cannot be transferred to the Swedes, and who the hell cares about this intelligence — we to in paragraph 3 he wrote that it is more important to be nice person!