“Eight Ways of Intelligence” speech deepens our understanding

The subject of human intelligence has become overtaken by too-many wooly headed and cloistered researchers who have reduced it to a series of reproducible tests in a narrow range of competencies. By contrast, I highly commend Annie Murphy Paul‘s recent speech, Eight Ways of Looking at Intelligence (found here) in which she concisely, and appropriately serves up a poignant, broad-spectrum reflection on intelligence that doesn’t wrestle over “Gf” or “Gc” (AKA “Fluid” or “Crystallized” Intelligence) or “Weschlerian Deviance”, which has become the lingua obscura of the lab-coats who have moved in to dominate the conversation on human intelligence.

Briefly, the intelligence-influencing constructs to which Ms. Murphy Paul refers includes: Situationality, Beliefs, Expertise, Attention, Emotionality, Technology, Physiology, and Relationality. Thank you Annie, for circumscribing a wider consideration of intelligence than the lab-coats. There is much they don’t know and much they filter out that rightfully deserves to be included in any conversation about intelligence. You have landed on several such topics worthy of inclusion in this conversation.

I would add to Annie’s talking points a couple of constructs to which we refer in SelfDesign and which we believe enhance intelligence. These are self-knowledge which often improves self-regulation to which she tacitly refers, and also micro and meta-cognition, or the abilities to zoom in to observe details and also zoom out to see the Big Picture of a particular situation.

Intelligence scientists have a role to play in contributing to knowledge about a subject that has fascinated us for millennia but formal researchers have over-stated their understanding of intelligence. And considering how education policy is shaped by beliefs about intelligence, it’s essential that we keep the conversation about it alive and open. 

For information on my book: Learn Your Way! SelfDesigning the Life You Really Want, Starting Now (2011) and to order a copy, go here

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