How to Measure and Interpret Intelligence

Categories: Intelligence

It is a common belief that many individuals consider intelligence to be solely based off of receiving good grades in college, or even high school. This is simply not true. Today’s society still has not found a successful way of how to measure or interpret intelligence. Many of the greatest thinkers have tried to measure intelligence but failed. Intelligence plays an important role in an individual’s life for many reasons. People covet intelligence because it allows them to take advantage of their situations, to advance their position, or increase their well-being.

Einstein used his intelligence to better not only himself, but the people around him. Many of his theories have made a huge impact in the science and math we use in modern times. Einstein had the great capability of applying his great intellect towards everyday events he observed. His ability to apply math and science to the world was one way his intelligence was apparent (Albert Einstien”). How people apply their intellect is crucial in determining intelligence but it is very hard to measure.

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In Michelle Castillo’s article, “IQ scores not accurate marker of intelligence, study shows” she explains that taking one intelligence test is meaningless. Intelligence is measured into three different components: short-term memory, reasoning and a verbal component. According to this information, intelligence is not explicitly defined as a single area of expertise, it is a combination of different fields that makes an individual intelligent such as learning quickly, diction, education, innovation, and adaptability.

In Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Phaedrus, a writing professor from a small college, tries to define what makes good writing or in general what defines good quality.

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He tries many philosophical attempts to define quality and broke it down to the very basics. Just as Phaedrus broke down the true meaning of quality, we will take the same steps toward defining intelligence.

For example, one of the most essential elements towards being intelligent is the ability to learn quickly. Let’s take two individuals. Both individuals are completely identical in terms of the knowledge they have and are given a text book on grammar. Individual one has read the entirety of the book while individual two has read only 80% of the book. Most people would come to the conclusion that individual one is now more intelligent than individual two only because individual one is simply more knowledgeable. This is false. Considering that it took individual one nearly two hours to read the book while it took individual two forty minutes to almost finish the book shows that individual two is more intelligent. It is difficult to set a wide range of essential elements because the essential elements are very easy to range from person to person. By looking taking an in-depth look at characteristics that manifest themselves into intelligent individuals, we can certainly get a better perspective of intelligence.

When you meet an intelligent individual one of the very first things you notice is their diction. “It is generally recognized that a positive relationship exists language and mental ability” (Scandel). Being articulate can give someone the distinct advantage of manipulating their surrounds or people to their liking. For example, a cars salesman has the unique ability to speak well about ordinary cars and makes it seem as though buying the car here, will give you a better advantage over buying a car anywhere else because you’re getting it for a better price here. Not all individuals who are articulate are intelligent.

Educations takes an important role as well. “Brighter people tend to get more schooling, and the longer – schooled tend to be brighter” (Intelligence and Education). An individual that has spent nearly 13 years of their life in a public education system is bound to be somewhat more intelligent than an uneducated person. More and more studies show that the brain is like a muscle. Spending 13 years a public high school can make an individual more intelligent by challenging their minds to use critical thinking skills. However, many would assume that getting great grades in a college or high school can prove someone is intelligent. It is misleading to believe this because the most predominant characteristic that leads someone into getting good grades is not intelligence, but determination. There is certainly a connection that as people get better grades tend to be smarter but not every individual who receives good grades is intelligent.

Steve jobs was very intelligent man for discovering all the new and unique ways on how to innovate technology. Jobs was very intelligent because he was able to think outside the box and see things other people couldn’t when it came to computer software. “jobs was not overly smart in a traditional sense, in that he did not try to solve problems by rigorous analytical pursuit, common marks of intelligence, but relied more on ‘imaginative leaps’ that ‘were instinctive, unexpected, and at times magical”. Here, Jobs was able to use his intellect in a unique way in order to produce some of the world’s best computers. In today’s society many would argue that intelligence is mainly based on a person’s ability to do well academically. However, Steve Jobs is an example. That this is simply not true. Steve Job’s intelligence, comes from the field of innovativeness. If Steve Jobs were to walk across his company. He would pass many who are smarter than him. This shows that intelligence is more than just being smart.

A controversial idea to mention is if today we are breeding brains to fit the school system and not the real world. Intelligence is not just one field but many. Therefore true intelligence must have the ability to adapt. People in today’s society who are deemed intelligent within school settings, most likely can not connect their skills to the real world. However, “College and high school drop outs such as Gates, Allen, Jobs, Wozniak, and Dell, may be so successful in the real world because their neural networks spent less time in academia and were less molded to fit the traditional academic setting”. Their success can be contributed to the fact that their intelligence lied in the field of adaptably rather than the field of education.

Intelligence has played a huge roll in today’s society. It has allowed people to focus on the smallest nuances which led to some of the greatest inventions, to allowing man to take its first steps on the moon. The characteristics of intelligence are the underlying cause to what sparked these ideas. Society can easily make mistakes in misinterpreting intelligence. Society can misinterpret intelligence by believing that if an individual is successful or has education, they are subsequently intelligent. In fact there are many other components to make someone intelligent such as adaptability, articulation, and being creative. Therefore, it is wrong to assume how intelligent an individual is just based on an impression. To learn quickly, have a proper diction, to be educated, to be innovative, and to be adaptive are all viable components for an individual to be intelligent.

Works Cited

  1. “Albert Einstein – Biographical.” Albert Einstein – Biographical., n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2015.
  2. Castillo, Michelle. “IQ Scores Not Accurate Marker of Intelligence, Study Shows.” CBSNews. CBS Interactive, 21 Dec. 2012. Web. 28 Oct. 2015.
  3. “Cracking The Learning Code – Element 2: What Is Intelligence?” Cracking The Learning Code Element 2: What Is Intelligence? N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2015.
  4. “International Journal of Epidemiology.” Intelligence and Education: Causal Perceptions Drive Analytic Processes and Therefore Conclusions. International Journal of Epidemiology, 29 Mar. 2010. Web. 28 Oct. 2015.
  5. Pirsig, Robert M. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. New York: Imprint of HarperCollins, 1999. Print.
  6. Sandel, Lenore. “The Relationship between Language and Intelligence.” ERIC, n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2015.
  7. “Was Steve Jobs Smart? Scientists on the Keys to Success.” ABC News. ABC News Network, n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2015.

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How to Measure and Interpret Intelligence. (2021, Sep 13). Retrieved from

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