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

Debate Scorecard for the Presidency: Trust

The selection of our next president is fast approaching. What is the criteria you will use to make that selection? Here's a scorecard to help you really think, consider and decide.

A Better Idea for Mark Zuckerberg: A Super-Intelligence Pill

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on September 23, 2016 in How To Do Life
Instead of his likely unrealistic goal of trying to cure all disease, he should fund research to create a super-intelligence pill.

Trust Your Gut—There's Nothing Woo-Woo About the Vagus Nerve

By Christopher Bergland on September 23, 2016 in The Athlete's Way
A new study found that financial traders who trust their gut feelings and have grace under pressure are more successful. What is the physiological explanation for this phenomenon?

Are Men Attracted to Clever Women?

By Robert Burriss Ph.D. on September 22, 2016 in Attraction, Evolved
The claim that men are intimidated by clever women has been backed by the results of a new study of speed-dating by Polish economists.

$50m Judgment Says Brain Training a Sham

By Richard E. Cytowic M.D. on September 19, 2016 in The Fallible Mind
Letting someone else sharpen your brain sounds great. Except it doesn't work, and you have to do the work yourself. The good news is that it isn't so hard.

Exercising our Freedom and Intelligence: Part 9

By Michael Hogan Ph.D. on September 18, 2016 in In One Lifespan
Groups working to maximize their collective understanding of societal problems need a space where they are free to exercise their intelligence.

Conquer Public Speaking Anxiety Via Emotional Intelligence

By Gleb Tsipursky Ph.D. on September 17, 2016 in Intentional Insights
A few tips will go a long way to addressing any anxiety around public speaking

What Teachers Need to Know About Their Students' Brains

By Eric Haseltine Ph.D. on September 17, 2016 in Long Fuse, Big Bang
Hot-off-the-press research suggests a radically new way to teach

Listen To Your Heart

By Gaby Pfeifer, Ph.D. on September 14, 2016 in Mind Growth
Our ability to listen to internal bodily signals, such as our heartbeat, is known as interoception. How does interoception contribute to our emotional experiences?

The Other Einstein—Was There One?

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on September 13, 2016 in Singletons
At what point can a writer legitimately cross the line between fact and fiction?

What Gifted Students Can Learn From Being Average

By Jonathan Wai Ph.D. on September 12, 2016 in Finding the Next Einstein
"It was okay to just be in the middle of the pack...That was a lovely experience."

Outta Control: Trump, Critics, and Circumcising Mosquitoes

By Gregg R. Murray Ph.D. on September 11, 2016 in Caveman Politics
We need some "mosquito surgery" in this year's presidential election. Calling all male mosquitoes.

Educators and Geneticists Should Talk

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on September 10, 2016 in How To Do Life
Education researchers act as though genes don't exist. They need to talk with top behavioral geneticists like Robert Plomin and to basic geneticists like George Church.

Why Do British Accents Sound Intelligent to Americans?

By Kevin Bennett on September 09, 2016 in Modern Minds
My American baby is speaking British! Is it still acceptable to discriminate based on accent?

Practical Ethics

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on September 08, 2016 in How To Do Life
Philosopher Peter Singer takes questions about how best to spend money for positive change and thorny subjects like human enhancement.

Can a Dog's Size Predict Its Intelligence?

New data shows that very large or very small dog breeds rank lower in intelligence.

Why I Prefer “Victim” to “Survivor”

Change the connotation of “victim,” not the term for it.

On Closing the "Word Gap"

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on August 30, 2016 in How To Do Life
The 30-million word-gap "cure:" A confusion of correlation with causation?

Bird Brain: An Exploration of Avian Intelligence

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 29, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Dr. Nathan Emery's new book "Bird Brain: An Exploration of Avian Intelligence" is a gold mine of information and surprises about the latest research on bird smarts.

100 Books You Should Read Now: An English Professor's List

Of all the novels on this list, how many have you read and enjoyed? Which books aren't here that you regard as essential? (Why aren't Hemingway or Melville here? I'm not a fan...)

Playing Games With Memory

By Scott G. Eberle Ph.D. on August 24, 2016 in Play in Mind
New technology makes it less urgent that we commit facts to memory.

Exercising Our Freedom and Intelligence: Part 8

By Michael Hogan Ph.D. on August 19, 2016 in In One Lifespan
The future is uncertain. There is little doubt about that. Scenario-based collective intelligence design may help us to shape the future, specifically, through our innovations.

Becoming Brilliant

By The Book Brigade on August 18, 2016 in The Author Speaks
In the push to make kids smart, you can spend $300 to count every word your kid hears. Or try to teach the fetus in the womb. But the best way is to change how you look at things.

Killer Whales Trained as Performers Suffer Psychologically

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 18, 2016 in Animal Emotions
A new essay called "Orca Behavior and Subsequent Aggression Associated with Oceanarium Confinement" shows how being trained to perform results in heightened aggression.

CIA Torture Techniques Harm Interrogators As Well

Torture used as an interrogation device can have severe, long-lasting effects.

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

By Neel Burton M.D. on August 11, 2016 in Hide and Seek
Emotional intelligence is, in fact, a kind of virtue.

The High EQ Classroom

By Maureen D Healy on August 11, 2016 in Creative Development
Do you want to teach EQ to your children (at home or the classroom)?

Why Intimate Sex Is the Key to a Successful Relationship

By Lisa Thomas LMFT on August 10, 2016 in Save Your Sex Life
Sex + Intimacy = Mindblowing Experience

Gifted Programs’ Embarrassing Secret

All gifted children should receive the specialized services they need to reach their fullest potential. Then why are some gifted students excluded?

Tapping Into the Genius of Hamilton's Creator

By Susan Reynolds on August 01, 2016 in Prime Your Gray Cells
Have you tapped into your creative genius? The creator of Broadway's "Hamilton" reveals eight cognitive strengths that you can mine to bolster your creativity.