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

Happiness With Life 10: Practice Curiosity

Contrary to popular wisdom, curiosity enriches the cat, not kills it. Learn the benefits to your happiness in being curious and the five strategies to incorporate it into your daily routine.

Can Evolution Explain All Human Behavior?

Evolutionary explanations of human behavior abound and they call on what we know about evolution. However, proving the validity of these explanations is another story. Why is that?

Regional Differences in Personality: Surprising Findings

Individual personality traits and the geographic region where one lives are correlated with important social outcomes. Research has found that personality traits are also geographically clustered in ways correlated with these same outcomes. Some of the results are surprising as the individual level and societal level correlates of personality can differ strikingly.

Inside Out—A Major Emotional IQ Picture

The voices in our heads are real—and these distinct personalities can learn to get along.

Stories of Seclusion: A Driven Scientist Suddenly Stops

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on June 25, 2015 in How To Do Life
A brilliant dropout succeeds, makes a million, and throws it away—literally.

Why I’m Recommending a Kids Movie to Adults

By Erin Olivo Ph.D. on June 23, 2015 in Wise Mind Living
Want to improve your emotional intelligence? Go see Inside Out.

College and Mr. Gates

By Mack R. Hicks Ph.D. on June 23, 2015 in Digital Pandemic
Bill Gates should be applauded for his generous donations to education, but his blanket call for 11 million college grads won't accomplish much, and could hinder career education.

It's the Hard Work, Stupid.

For decades, scholars have debated whether talent or effort is the better predictor of success. Research on the topic is mixed – but, this said, I say you put your money on effort – and here’s why.

Inside Out: Emotional Intelligence Made (Maybe Too) Easy

This movie makes it fun to ponder emotional conflict, but it needs a sequel on the risk of using sadness as a way to get love. Til then, we can learn more about our inner conflicts from gorgeous graphics than boring buzzwords.

Igniting a Renaissance

How can parents best bring out their child’s gifts? How can we help the gifted child who is more introverted? How can we spur a renaissance in gifted education? How can we persuade the public to care about helping our most talented kids reach their full potential?

AI vs AI with Humanity on the Sidelines

By Jay Richards Ph.D. on June 18, 2015 in The Violent Mind
Predictions of the future destructive malevolence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) programs have really heated up in this second half of 2015. But as daunting a prediction as that may be, in his new book Christoph Türcke argues that even more concerning is the severe damage that seemingly intelligent machines have already done.

Can Computers Pass A Rorschach Inkblot Test?

Artificial Intelligence is bad a recognizing what's in pictures. So what happens when you give them a Rorschach inkblot test?

Why Do Men’s Preferences for Wives and Daughters Differ?

When asked to select from a list of ten items the two or three traits that they most valued—including different ranking of intelligence, attractiveness, sweetness, independence, and strength—men report different priorities for wives as for daughters. What does this tell us about men’s relationships to women and their attitudes regarding gender equality?

Test and Train Creativity With Just One Word

By Garth Sundem on June 09, 2015 in Brain Candy
Your creativity depends as much on choosing to think creatively as it does on some intrinsic, natural gift.

The Real Turing Test: Curing Computer Autism

People would accept that machines could think if a mentalistic user-interface could be engineered to give computers the skills that autistics lack.

Artificial Intelligence Creates Personality-Targeted Email

A new email assistant uses social media to analyze your recipient's personality and tells you how to customize your message to best get their attention. Is the future of human-interaction going to be mediated by artificial intelligence that tries to optimize our communication?

Build Your EQ With These 7 Constructive Thinking Tools

The quality of your emotional intelligence, or “street smarts,” can help you achieve greater success in your daily life. These 7 types of constructive thinking will help you understand and improve your ability to put your EQ to use.

Woodpeckers, Financial Success And You

By Michael F. Kay on June 04, 2015 in Financial Life Focus
A woodpecker lays claim to the tree right beside my bedroom window. At 4:57 AM, her work commences on a schedule only she comprehends. It feels like jackhammers blasting pavement on the pillow to my left. Incessantly banging, towards a purpose only a woodpecker could understand. When will it ever stop?

How Early Academic Training Retards Intellectual Development

By Peter Gray on June 03, 2015 in Freedom to Learn
In the absence of an appropriate intellectual foundation and motivation to learn, students acquire academic skills by rote, in shallow, meaningless ways. This not only wastes students' time, but can cause serious harm to their future intellectual and academic development. Here's some of the evidence.

Game Theory: How to Put Oneself in Someone Else's Shoes

By Eyal Winter on June 03, 2015 in Feeling Smart
About the John Nash I knew and his magical theories.

Conversational Courage

How can you summon your courage to engage in conversations that improve your relationships and your results? Here are three steps you can take to create quality conversations.

Is There a Relationship between Playfulness and Trainability

Recent data leads to the conclusion that if you test a puppy's eagerness to play with a person you may actually be testing its trainability as well.

The Boy Genius and the Genius in All of Us

In The Boy Who Played with Fusion, Tom Clynes tells a fascinating story about a boy’s pursuit of a passionate interest in nuclear physics, and draws some surprising conclusions about the nature and development of genius-level intelligence. Clynes considers the roles played not only by innate ability and environmental factors, but also by temperament, culture, and politics.

Can Psychoanalysis Make You Smarter?

By Lawrence D. Blum M.D. on May 31, 2015 in Beyond Freud
No therapy claims to make people smarter, but I wouldn’t be surprised if sometimes psychoanalysis does just that. Psychoanalytic therapies are those treatments in which the therapist’s job is to help people face what they have repressed and what they don’t want to know. They can help clear up blocks to learning.

A Child is Being Beaten—Ever or Never?

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) made famous the stark phrase “the banality of evil.” This complex idea connotes colossal destructiveness done by men of less than colossal character. The everyday pervasiveness of senseless cruelty---humankind’s inhumanity toward itself---makes it clear that the inclination of destructiveness is real. Effective parenting is primary prevention.

Self-Learner in Your Home?

By David Palmer Ph.D. on May 20, 2015 in Gifted Kids
Self-Learner in your home? Free and low cost resources available!

VA Emails Discuss How to Handle "Problem" Vet

By Eric Newhouse on May 20, 2015 in Invisible Wounds
Ever wonder what the VA is saying behind your back? Charles Gatlin did. So he and his wife requested—and received—hundreds of pages of emails that testify to a growing rift between a vet and the agency designated to serve him.

Should You Start Worrying About Your Mind?

By Art Markman Ph.D. on May 19, 2015 in Ulterior Motives
I speak to a lot of corporate audiences. Regardless of the topic I am speaking about, I get a lot of general psychology questions from the crowd. The most popular question is about cognitive performance and aging. People in their 50s and 60s begin to worry that they are not going to be able to keep up mentally with their younger colleagues.

Buyer Beware Part 2

How two intelligent senior professionals were taken for a very expensive ride

Is Life Just a Sequence of Random Events?

By Po Chi Wu Ph.D. on May 12, 2015 in Jacob's Staff
How do we understand the role of luck in our lives? If value and meaning can only be achieved by a sequence of events, does that sequence reflect a pre-determined pattern? Whose pattern? Where does this line of thinking take us in terms of planning? How are artists and entrepreneurs different from the rest of us? How do we find meaning in life?