Intelligence, is it a myth?

Isolation is one of the main challenges faced by gifted individuals, especially those with no social network of gifted peers. Hoping to gain popularity, gifted children will often try to hide their abilities to win social approval. Strategies include underachievement (discussed below) and the use of less sophisticated vocabulary when among same-age peers than when among family members or other trusted individuals.


The isolation experienced by gifted individuals may not be caused by 'giftedness' itself, but by society's response to 'giftedness'. In this culture, there appears to be a great pressure for people to be 'normal' with a considerable stigma associated with 'giftedness' or talent.

To counteract this problem, gifted education professionals recommend creating a peer group based on common interests and abilities...a sub - culture. The earlier this occurs in an individuals life, the more effective it is likely to be in preventing isolation.

Unfortunately this is a personal issue that causes much anxiety , frustration and simple angst in a gifted persons attempts at personal, professional and social interactions.

I tend to think "intelligence" is a reflection of a person's ability to apply their mental faculties to life itself. Intelligence are all these abilities (memory, problem solving, prediction, etc) manifest in the actions and behavior of individuals.

As a general rule, human beings appear to be "smarter" when they are able to apply skills and knowledge they already have to making decisions; than they are when they have to proceed by trial and error. Bumping along, learning to find the correct question to ask.

The branch of psychology known has psychometrics has tried to devise ways of getting around this impasse, usually by measuring the speed at which people learn by trial and error while manipulating symbols according to unfamiliar rules, but I've always felt this is a special talent, similar to the talent for staying on music pitch or making realistic drawings of objects in view.

For example, I'm quite a "slow learner" if judged by this standard, yet most people who've actually known me have considered me to be unusually "intelligent".At first it was a real struggle to get past it, but now I recognize the truth, that for many years my intelligence actually hurt me, that I learned only surface knowledge . I focused on getting the grade rather than actually working towards really learning something.

Since those far off years , I made this shift in my thinking I have had to work harder yes, but I have reaped many rewards for it

Long before modern psychology existed, educators measured "intelligence" in terms of ability to memorize data or to solve problems using some particular method of assembling words, numbers, or other symbols into patterns. However, the former is another special talent, and the latter is simply a set of learned skills.

I Q tests used to be set in England to stream children to different schools. Those who were not in the top 5% or something like that went to different schools where they could learn skilled trades. The top ones went to High school and did the sciences and languages etc.

It does not always mean you were wildly successful in life. A person's worth is not found in their IQ !! It is an artificial standard. Whether you are successful in life , depends on so many other variables , far too many ; like...that of being in the right place at the right time. For a single aspect to outweigh the rest of them

In most cultures, the social contract measures "intelligence" almost entirely in terms of verbal communications ability: how well a person speaks or writes. For example, it's common to say someone is "smart" if they can describe the information in a book they read, or tell someone how to find a place or perform some action.

We don't say, "She's smart because she can swim so well." Now, swimming is just as much a combination of mental and physical skills as speaking or writing, but few human societies acknowledge this or even make the connection .

In any case, I guess if I had to give a general, operational definition of "intelligence", it would have to be related to verbal and written communication skills. Maybe something like, "A smart person is someone who is good at asking the right questions when seeking knowledge and giving the right answers when asked questions."

Why? Simply because this how most of us judge other people's "intelligence" in real life situations: at home, business, school and society in general. In my opinion

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