T Nation

What is Intelligence?

I know, it’s sort of a broad topic, but I thought here would be an appropriate place to post this.

How do you define intelligence, and when someone possess the quality of being intelligent? I’m referring to a single skill that is applicable in all endeavors.

My personal definition of intelligence is the ability to recognize patterns. The more intelligent someone is, the quicker they recognize patterns and adjust their behavior.

The ultimate goal of my starting this thread was to, hopefully, learn a trick or two on how to get smarter in life. Does anybody have any interesting tips on how to be smarter?

Well, I’ll take a stab at a definition, which quite likely is different than most:

Intelligence is that which enables a person, for reasons other than physical attributes, to perform tasks or activities that an animal cannot.

Greater intelligence in a given area relative to another person is exhibited by being able to in general perform the same tasks or activities in that area that the other person can and additionally perform many others that he cannot, again where physical attributes are not the involved factor, and assuming comparable exposure to education.

Checked the ‘Function brain boosters’ threads? That would be a great place to start on the biochemistry side.

As for the ‘training’ aspects, repetition and application of learned things. My entire study routine is by repeating certain phrases or definitions, and by drawing metabolic pathway charts (Dietetics student) or applying something I learned to myself to see how it goes.

Also, I once carried around a little book; and whenever I had an interesting thought randomly throughout the day, I would write it down. At the end of the day I would go to my desk and see what I wrote for the day, and try to make sense of it all. This really helped me learn about my interests and own thought process.

To me, intelligence is the ability to convert a task into concept, then apply that concept to a new task.

Any dumbass can learn how to draw two ears and a face. A genius will take that and draw the Mona Lisa.

The sharpest people I have known remember everything. Every word they read, every number and date, every conversation hey have, every solution to a problem. They also grasp concepts faster, and because they don’t forget anything, they move on to the next concept and remember it too.

Intelligence is freedom. But intelligence does not come into being by just wishing to be free. It comes into being only when you begin to understand your whole environment, the social,religious,parental and traditional influences that are continually closing in on you. An intelligent mind is also one that is constantly learning, never conluding. A mind that is satisfied with an explanation is very superficial, and therefore, not intelligent.

[quote]eric_lacrosse wrote:
The sharpest people I have known remember everything. Every word they read, every number and date, every conversation hey have, every solution to a problem. They also grasp concepts faster, and because they don’t forget anything, they move on to the next concept and remember it too.[/quote]

Memory is however quite distinct from intelligence and not necessarily correlated.

Even in the same individual, one can see memory change with time, sometimes quite drastically, but with no detectable change in problem-solving ability.

For example, at ages 25 and younger, I remembered every single thing I had said to any person and everything that they had said in any conversation I’d had with them in the preceding several years.

These days I usually can’t remember where I laid the phone down 3 minutes ago.

However in any test of intelligence I would score essentially the same.

I argue that intelligence is intangible.

[quote]eric_lacrosse wrote:
The sharpest people I have known remember everything. Every word they read, every number and date, every conversation hey have, every solution to a problem. They also grasp concepts faster, and because they don’t forget anything, they move on to the next concept and remember it too.[/quote]

Kim Peek had the ability to memorize everything he saw, yet had no ability to think logically and couldn’t dress himself. I wouldn’t say the man was intelligent but I wouldn’t say he was dumb either.

Intelligence is knowledge of history.

[quote]Brother Chris wrote:
Intelligence is knowledge of history.[/quote]

I’m speechless…

Intelligence is knowing when to shut up.

You could try dual n-back, although questions have been raised with the study that is cited in the link.

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”
(Sign hanging in Einstein’s office at Princeton)

Intelligence, whatever it is, is not found in large quantities in the Bodybuilding Forum these days.

[quote]SteelyD wrote:
Intelligence, whatever it is, is not found in large quantities in the Bodybuilding Forum these days.[/quote]

January; when the GAL threads have more intelligence than the bodybuilding and nutrition threads.

This is a topic I debate with friends often so here’s my stance. I feel true intelligence is the ability to problem solve and attack a question/query/solution from different angles than the norm. I went to a well-known college where it was a given that your surrounding classmates were “smart”.

I think the average SAT score when I attended was 1350 and most of the student body came from the top 5% of their class. What I learned was I was surrounded by just as many truly intelligent people than I had been my whole life, that is a small percentage. There were tons of kids that had great study habits and work ethic, but that not is intelligence.

Ask them to quote you theory and you would be amazed at the swiftness and accuracy that they could spit out what was written in their text and taught in lecture, but ask these same people to apply that theory to practical use and they were lost. I think it’s funny, truly bright people study theory, but truly intelligent people come up with them. To me, that’s intelligence.

[quote]lbstiffler83 wrote:
This is a topic I debate with friends often so here’s my stance. I feel true intelligence is the ability to problem solve and attack a question/query/solution from different angles than the norm. I went to a well-known college where it was a given that your surrounding classmates were “smart”.

I think the average SAT score when I attended was 1350 and most of the student body came from the top 5% of their class. What I learned was I was surrounded by just as many truly intelligent people than I had been my whole life, that is a small percentage. There were tons of kids that had great study habits and work ethic, but that not is intelligence.

Ask them to quote you theory and you would be amazed at the swiftness and accuracy that they could spit out what was written in their text and taught in lecture, but ask these same people to apply that theory to practical use and they were lost. I think it’s funny, truly bright people study theory, but truly intelligent people come up with them. To me, that’s intelligence.[/quote]

Great post, It seems to me that it’s the application of what you bring to the table that’s most important. If someone has an IQ of 170 yet has a difficult time actually applying that intelligence in a manner that would positively effect his life and or the lives of those around him then I wonder how “smart” that person really is.

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

[quote]bushidobadboy wrote:

To be adaptive and flexible in your approach, yet still attain the major and the minor goals/tasks.

BBB[/quote]

I don’t know if I’m just seeing what I want to see, but that to me is a great, great statement.

[quote]lbstiffler83 wrote:
This is a topic I debate with friends often so here’s my stance. I feel true intelligence is the ability to problem solve and attack a question/query/solution from different angles than the norm. I went to a well-known college where it was a given that your surrounding classmates were “smart”.

I think the average SAT score when I attended was 1350 and most of the student body came from the top 5% of their class. What I learned was I was surrounded by just as many truly intelligent people than I had been my whole life, that is a small percentage. There were tons of kids that had great study habits and work ethic, but that not is intelligence.

Ask them to quote you theory and you would be amazed at the swiftness and accuracy that they could spit out what was written in their text and taught in lecture, but ask these same people to apply that theory to practical use and they were lost. I think it’s funny, truly bright people study theory, but truly intelligent people come up with them. To me, that’s intelligence.[/quote]

you just described the bar scene in Good Will Hunting … don’t know if you realized it or not (My boys wicked smaaaaat)