Human Intelligence is considered to be the highest achievement of evolution, the product of innumerable years of development. For many decades, intelligence is equated with higher Intelligence Quotient (IQ). Is it true? No one can really say what all factors help shape the mind of an individual, and in which ways. Scientists have not yet agreed on an exact definition for intelligence. A number of tests are available to quantify this unique human talent. But, can intelligence be measured? If it can be, what exactly constitutes intelligence? Campus Reporter, thus, sieves through a variety of studies and opinions about intelligence by eminent philosophers and psychologists.
IQ tests are commonly used to find out how intelligent a person is. This includes tests like numerical series, completing pictures, comparing forms and drawing logical conclusions. Then, using a mathematical formula and a comparative table, the test results are used to calculate a quotient - the Intelligence Quotient or IQ. But, the question remains - can we deduce something as complex as an individual's intelligence from a test? These tests do not measure a person's learning capacity!! So, we don't really measure the person's potential for development, which is a major factor that determines an individual's intelligence! A high IQ is thus no guarantee for success in school or in the professional world, although many people assume so.
Intelligence reveals itself not only in achievements such as great music compositions or mind-blowing inventions. Equally baffling are those qualities which the brain handles on its own and without noticeable effort - for instance, laughing at the punch line of a good joke! Douglas R Hofstadter, an American expert on the study of consciousness, once said, "I would really like to see if a computer program is able to understand jokes and that would be a real test of intelligence." So, societal and communication skills are also part of our intelligence. Behaviour also counts. Because IQ on its own does not tell the whole story, we need to develop a new test that will assess a person's behaviour as well as potential along with testing general mental ability.
There are some qualities that just cannot be defined in terms of IQ. Good examples of such qualities are self-discipline, endurance or ambition. These capabilities are more important for our success than our intelligence or genetic make-up. Further, creativity of children should never be hampered if you want them to be bright, intelligent or successful. The ability to translate our creative ideas into logical conclusions also is intelligence!! Even for the Nobel Prize-winning physicist, Albert Einstein, words and symbols played a secondary role in his thoughts. For him, images of the imagination were decisive.
A person cannot be intelligent if his thoughts are without emotions. According to Swiss Psychologist Jean Piaget, emotions are both the engines and mediators of our thought processes, perceptions and activities.
Our second type of intellect cannot be measured by tests. We call it emotional intelligence. It includes empathy, self-confidence, character and sensitivity. Remember, IQ is not the counterpart of the Emotional Quotient (EQ). Some have it both, others have too little of each. If we want to analyse a person's intellect, we should now also look into his social intelligence - the ability to understand and control one's own behaviour. For instance, the ability of a person to make a learned decision even when he is under pressure, sorrow or anxiety. It also comprises of a person's ability to work along with other individuals by accepting them as they are. When this ability to look outside is combined with the ability to look into inner self, the result is social intelligence.
There are variety of studies carried out on this particular topic - what is intelligence and how to measure it, how to boost it etc. Seven forms of intelligence have been explained in the books of famous American professor of Psychology, Howard Gardner. One thing that we can point out in common is that intellect and emotion are two sides of the same coin. Next time you judge a person by his IQ, remember intelligence is not just that!! Let our children and youth lead their lives with passion and creativity and let us not number them on the basis of some random test that just checks their mathematical or logical reasoning ability.
In the coming years, we may witness more meaningful and deep tests to quantify IQ and EQ. Without feelings, there would be no perception, no memory and no thought. And without a direct wire to the human emotions, not even the most powerful electric brain will be in a position to think intelligently.