What Is Intelligence?

Reading a road map upside-down and generating synonyms for the word "brilliant" are two very different skills. But each is a measurable indicator of general intelligence, a construct that includes problem solving abilities, spatial manipulation and language acquisition. Scientists generally agree that intelligence can be captured by psychometric tests. But the study of intelligence is dogged by questions of just how much IQ contributes to an individual's success and well-being, how genes and environment interact to generate smarts and why the average IQ score rose throughout the world during the twentieth century.

Recent Posts on Intelligence

Poison Apple II: How Smartphones Degrade Learning

By Richard E. Cytowic M.D. on September 04, 2015 in The Fallible Mind
Today’s students are less capable compared to their earlier counterparts. Education technology is an alluring cost-effective illusion that promises more efficient learning that real teachers provide.

Getting Along With Others: Parenting for Social Intelligence

Children and teens can experience social challenges at any point during the school year. Social context—including opportunities for interaction and collaboration with others—makes an enormous difference in what and how much children learn, and how quickly that happens. Here are eight practical tips for parents to help kids build positive relationships.

How Much Brain Tissue Do You Need to Function Normally?

Brain injuries typically lead to a loss of function. But sometimes people manage to recover fully, and some even develop new skills and personality traits. This raises the question: How much brain tissue do we really need to function normally?

Donald Trump Has a Sister Fixation

By Stanton Peele on September 01, 2015 in Addiction in Society
Is Donald Trump laboring under some perceived childhood deficiency academically? Does that account for his ceaseless boasting?

Innovators: Beware the Hindsight Bias

By Drew Boyd on August 30, 2015 in Inside the Box
Hindsight bias, also known as the “knew-it-all-along effect”, is the inclination to see events that have already occurred as being more predictable than they were before they took place. Hindsight bias causes you to view events as more predictable than they really are. After an event, people often believe that they knew the outcome of the event before it actually happened.

Career Advice for Geniuses (Revised and Expanded)

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on August 27, 2015 in How To Do Life
Smart people don't have it as easy as many people think. Help is here.

Why Does Physical Activity Improve Cognitive Flexibility?

By Christopher Bergland on August 25, 2015 in The Athlete's Way
People who are physically active tend be better at thinking outside the box. Why is this? New research from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers some valuable clues.

The Superhuman Mind

It is possible to acquire extraordinary cognitive skills after brain injury. But it is, of course, unwise to bang your head against a wall and hope you do it the right way and become a genius. But there are other shortcuts to develop extraordinary skills without engaging in any kind of wild and risky behaviors.

What Does It Take to Succeed in Life?

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on August 24, 2015 in Media Spotlight
A new paper published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology describes one of the most comprehensive studies to date looking at the effects of family background, personality, and intelligence on later success. By studying 81,000 participants over an eleven-year period, researchers found that the American Dream is still alive and well. More or less.

Who Is A Religious Genius?

By Renee Garfinkel Ph.D. on August 18, 2015 in Time Out
The history of religion is studded with giants who transform their societies. Do these religious geniuses have something in common? And does religious practice bring happiness?

Why I’m Quitting Amazon - Workers of the World Unite!

By Ravi Chandra M.D. on August 17, 2015 in The Pacific Heart
The NYT's article on Amazon grabbed headlines this week. Toxic workplaces are anathema to the advocates of emotional intelligence. That's why I'm taking my business away from Amazon.

Careers and Giftedness: Where Will You Thrive?

Managing your career is as important as choosing the right career. And thriving in your career begins with honest self-analysis.

Exploring the Good Kind of Disobedience

By John P. Schuster on August 17, 2015 in The Power of Your Past
Intelligent Disobedience. I recommend this book to all of us interested in the implications of the Hoffman Report, and to everyone not in psychology but interested in human courage in the face of collective evil.

Cognitive Signatures of Creativity and Genius

By Kaja Perina on August 14, 2015 in Brainstorm
Dr. Albert Rothenberg articulates cognitive processes that undergird breakthrough discoveries and the most inventive minds.

Why Do Aerobically Fit Children Have Better Math Skills?

By Christopher Bergland on August 13, 2015 in The Athlete's Way
A new study reveals that 9- and 10-year-old children who are aerobically fit tend to have significantly thinner gray matter in the cerebrum than their "low-fit" peers. "Higher-fit" kids also have better math skills. What is the correlation between aerobic fitness, thinner gray matter in the cerebrum, and improved math achievement?

The Key Role of Intuition in Students’ Decisions

By Tim Elmore on August 13, 2015 in Artificial Maturity
I just had a difficult conversation with my son Jonathan. He is an intelligent 23 year old who loves to serve people. Our discussion was hard because it concerned the mismatch with his recent summer job waiting tables at a high-end restaurant in Beverly Hills, California. Even though it involved serving people...

The Intuitive Parent

The Intuitive Parent: Finding your own parent style while tuning in to your child

How Does Your Giftedness Affect Your Career?

With today’s emphasis on creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the workplace shouldn’t being gifted be an advantage? The simple answer is “yes”-- but it’s not that simple.

Intelligence: One Thing or Many?

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on August 07, 2015 in A Sideways View
Do you trust the data—and there is lots of it—for general intelligence (g) or multiple intelligence? Or have we simply gone too far in our daily "discoveries" of different types of intelligence?

Technology, Turing and Child Development

By Peter B. Gray Ph.D. on August 06, 2015 in The Evolving Father
What happens when you go with kids to the Tech Museum of Innovation? You start thinking about kids, technology, and learning machines.

87-Year Old Mom Fried By Electronics

By Susan B. Winston LMFT on August 05, 2015 in Shift Happens
When you are in your 80s and the world suddenly becomes an electronic mess, how do you function? I may tease my mom, but she's getting the hang of it at age 87. If only she could figure out the cell phone we would be golden.

If You Want to be Creative, Keep Trying

By Garth Sundem on August 04, 2015 in Brain Trust
Test yourself: how many creative ideas can you generate for things to eat or drink at Thanksgiving dinner? Now, how many more do you think you could come up with if you persisted in trying again? The answer might surprise you.

Here's How You Can Become An Expert

By William R. Klemm Ph.D. on August 03, 2015 in Memory Medic
Is there a shortcut to becoming an expert?

Why We Think We're So Much Smarter Than We Really Are

By Susan Greenfield Ph.D. on August 02, 2015 in Mind Change
Searching the Internet for information creates an illusion of knowledge, in which we think we are smarter than we really are.

Teaching Through Insights

What would it look like to view teaching as a process of creating insights? Here are 6 ideas: diagnosing why students are confused, helping students unlearn mistaken beliefs, encouraging students to pursue their own feedback, anticipating knowledge shields and breaking through them, working through the three pathways to insight, and promoting an insight stance.

Can Artificial Intelligence Make Us Stupid?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on July 29, 2015 in The Human Beast
Changing technology stimulates the brain and increases intelligence. But that may only be true if the technology challenges us. In a world run by intelligent machines, our lives could get a lot simpler. Would that make us less intelligent?

Resolving the “Conscientiousness Paradox”

Conscientious individuals generally have good outcomes, but countries with high national levels of conscientiousness generally have poorer levels of human development. What does this apparent "conscientiousness paradox" mean?

5 Steps To Choosing Torture: Psychologists Breaking Bad

If you think the leaders in the American Psychological Association would interpret "Do no harm" broadly enough to mean: "Do not torture people," you are wrong.

Career Advice for Geniuses

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on July 20, 2015 in How To Do Life
Career advice for brilliant people is often different from standard counsel.

Personal Intelligence: Are You Using Yours?

You've heard a lot about emotional intelligence. Now there's a new kid on the block.