What if the way the world thinks about intelligence is totally wrong? What if all of our educational institutions are based on faulty premises?
The conventional paradigm of intelligence is somewhat analogous to height. They are attributes of a person that can be measured in a straight-forward way. We measure height with measuring tape and intelligence with the Stanford-Binet IQ test.Both change over time, but very slowly, i.e. fractions of a centimeter over a month or a few points over a few years. Also, just as we can label people tall or short, we can label people intelligent or unintelligent.
Let’s digress a moment. Imagine an electric fan. It is on. The blades of the fan rotate very rapidly in a circular arc.
What if intelligence is more like the position of the fan blades? Perhaps intelligence is very fluid, going up and down all the time. Couldn’t intelligence have less to do with who you are and more to do with what you are doing, where you are doing it and when you are doing it?
Think about it. We make many decisions every day from something as trivial as driving down one street or another to something as big as whether to accept or reject a job. Does a person with an IQ of 160 (genius-level) make exclusively intelligent decisions? Does a person with an IQ of 80 make exclusively poor decisions? I don’t think so. Most people make good, mediocre, and poor decisions all the time. Consider a president. Pick any president with whom you are familiar. Did he make good decisions all the time, every time or did he make a mix of good and bad decisions? Or think of an artist. Does any artist make exclusively masterpieces? Or does an artist make a mix of good and bad works?
One result of embracing this view of intelligence on a wide-scale would be a new approach to measuring intelligence. Instead of multiple-choice IQ tests with questions on math and verbal reasoning, one might use simulations and scenarios to test realistic problem-solving.