Excellent knowledge of the school program as an indicator of not the highest intelligence

    Good day! Today, quite often on TV and channels on youtube you can see experiments on “determining the level of intelligence” among the population. Their essence lies in the fact that adults are asked a question from the school curriculum. Usually such “experiments” gain a lot of views and a large number of likes. You can see a large number of comments under them with discussions of population degradation. In my opinion, in this approach, one serious psychological trap is hidden. Let's try to sort everything out, conduct an investigation and find out if this is so.

    At once I want to note that I am not a psychologist and in general is not connected with medical sciences. If you are engaged in psychology professionally, then please leave a comment and write what you think about this issue.

    What is intelligence and how to use it?

    If you believe Wikipedia, then intelligence is the quality of the psyche, consisting of the ability to adapt to new situations, the ability to learn and memorize based on experience, understanding and applying abstract concepts and using your knowledge to manage the environment.

    I understand that many will disagree with this definition. I propose to simplify it and agree on the fact that the defining feature of intelligence is the ability to adapt to new conditions and situations with maximum benefit for oneself. That is what I will understand in the future under the word "intelligence".

    Let's just figure out what is needed to adapt a person to new conditions. Most of the readers are programmers, so let's think of the appropriate situation.

    Petya has been working as a programmer for several years. For some reason, the current situation at work has ceased to suit him and he quit. After that, he accepted a very good offer from a third-party company and went to work. But the trouble is. This company works with a different technology stack, the development process (as work in general) is very different. What to do in this situation?

    For a start, it is worth considering how promising the new technological stack is and whether it is worth staying. Suppose with this all ok. Petya decides that, having mastered new technologies, he can easily find a new job with a good salary.

    What will Petya need in the future?

    • Good memory. In the shortest possible time it will be necessary to remember a large amount of information.
    • A lot of practice. After memorizing the basic principles and concepts it is necessary to tie them together and learn how to apply.
    • Good communication. Petya is a new person in a team with no experience working on a project. For the fastest possible immersion, it would be nice to learn how to get information as quickly as possible not only from articles, books and videos, but also from people.

    Intellect on the physical level

    While Petya is adapting to new conditions, let's imagine what is happening in his head. The fact is that our brain can be compared with a computer. For example:

    • Our memory is not something metaphysical. Our memory is nothing else. as the structure of some parts of the brain. In other words, as in the case of a hard disk, the structure of the brain determines what we remember and how much we can remember.
    • Memory must be able to effectively use. Neural connections are responsible for this. Here it is more difficult to draw an analogy with a computer. But in a very rough approximation, you can imagine this process as a boot needed from disk to RAM.

    What happens to Petit's brain? He is changing. Its structure and connections are changing. In general, changes in the brain occur constantly. But it is during intensive training that this process is the most active. In other words, in the coming months, the structure of Peter’s memory will change dramatically. Moreover, imperceptibly for him, part of the unnecessary (according to the brain) information will be deleted. Now imagine that Petya does not like to sit still and changes his job every 1.5 to 2 years. What will happen to him in 10 years?

    I remember in the university where I studied, the teachers strongly fought for places of reading the general program in physics or mathematics (instead of highly specialized). Otherwise, they complained that they were starting to forget the general course and had to repeat it regularly. Now I understand why.

    Excellent knowledge of the school program as an indicator of not the highest intelligence

    Imagine you bought a new phone. In the first weeks you actively use it. Download movies, music, take photos. If a month after the purchase you give me a look at the contents, then probably a surprise awaits me. How much information you put into it in just a month.

    Imagine that you showed it to me again, but after a year. I look and I do not see any particular differences. There are almost no new photos, the music is old and even the games have not been updated. What will I think about how often you use your phone? Of course, it will seem to me that you hardly used it.

    Memory in a person's head works in a similar way! However, the social reaction is completely different. If you come to a man of 30 years with a tail and start asking the school curriculum on geography, history and mathematics, then our Peter will hardly answer. For 10 years he has changed many places of work and conditions. He met a lot of people. He participated in the construction of a set of complex systems. He also enjoys music and chess. His brain is already very different from what he was at 17 years old. Its structure is different.

    Thus, if you have preserved the structure of the brain (memory) very well since school, then it is very likely that you didn’t use it very actively. This means that you have not adapted to the new situation. Which indicates a low intelligence by definition. And this data, which is confirmed by research.


    Why am I all this? There are many similar videos on the Internet and a bunch of comments in the style of “I didn’t study at school, but despite this I could answer all these questions.” Now it is absolutely clear why.

    It is clear that not everyone who does not answer the questions was “Petyami”. Some of them did not study at school, and then they didn’t take any intellectual interest. And then there are the individual characteristics of people. But nevertheless, it seems to me important to remember that the world is not so simple and you should not immediately label people.

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