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Mia Potthast Ms. St. John AP Lang 24 January 2014 What is Intelligence?

Being intelligent means something different to everyone. Pondering over the different ways one can attempt to answer this question is a difficult task in itself. In American society, intelligence means the ability to interpret and obtain information in an attempt to meet the demands, and, how well one can adjust under the circumstances. A simple definition of intelligence would be how well one can use their knowledge in useful ways, and as a result, how far ones understandings can take be taken, intelligence is how much humans are aware of their surroundings and how easily one can cope and process new information. Intelligence is whether we are mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually in the moment; how well one can concentrate, how well one can memorize, how well one can read, write, speak, reason, understand other people, understand oneself, how well one can play music, sports, solve equations, draw, and paint. All of these answers of what intelligence is have a unifying theme; intelligence is a result of the mind and body working together in harmony in an effort to stay alive. Humans learn because it is needed, and some people are more capable of learning than others, people that can learn easier will survive longer and live a happier life than the less fortunate ones. For the people who are less fortunate, they have to work a lot harder at tasks more intelligent people think are easy. Our intelligence is a result of our biological parents, and how much effort we put in. We are told that IQs are what determine how smart we are, and there are many times in life we are told how intelligent we are--school is a prime example of measuring the degrees of smartness. In school, we are tested on what we know, which is a result of how much we try, or how much we study, and to what degree we can apply that knowledge to our lives. The issue with school is, there is information taught that does not seem to apply to our lives, Algebra is an example for many. The math teacher even says, unless someone is going into a math or science degree, Algebra isnt useful. The statistics show as of 1998, out of all the bachelor degrees that were awarded by U.S. universities, only 1.05% of them were in mathematics (Lutzer). It is important to note that approximately half of that 1.05% of people were international and foreign students (Lutzer). Todays results show an increase in math in science degrees but not anything significant. It is believed that math

makes people think more abstractly and is a method about how we make sense of the world. Some people are born with something called number sense studies show that this inborn sense can determine ones mathematical ability (Thean). Perhaps if the first day of Algebra class explained how it could be carried out in life, more people would be motivated to study and learn it when they know the use of it. It makes sense that people thrive when they are motivated to learn. Our passions lie in our strengths, the brain is 68 percent more active while one is doing something they like, and with that activity the brain can absorb more information by 84 percent (Forbes). People would be much less engaged in the subject matter and retain about 16 percent of everything that was learned. That is not to say people should not attempt tasks they think they are not interested in, they may find out that they like it, and a challenge is essential to becoming a more intelligent person. If school is such a test of how intelligent we are, how come people with high IQs, Albert Einstein for example, produced poor grades? His bad marks werent possibly because he wasnt smart, but because he lacked diligence, it was stated Einstein learned best when taught himself (NASA). This shows that intelligence is a result of how much one tries, because a really smart person could not try at all and get bad grades, whereas a person with lower IQ could simply try much harder and get better grades. Data from 23 twin studies showed that in adult samples, culture-loaded subtests tend to demonstrate greater heritability coefficients than culture-reduced subtests; and in samples of both adults and children, a subtests proportion of variance shared with general intelligence is a function of its cultural load (Myers). Basically, the most heritable abilities are the most culture-dependent abilities. School does not fairly represent how intelligent of a person one is. Much of school is getting through mandatory classes to finally get to the ones that one is interested in. School doesnt take into account the many learning styles, and psychology explains that humans have different types of intelligence. The human tendency wants to learn that which will be applicable to our lives, or something that we are interested in. What we are interested in brings us happiness which gives our lives purpose, because what would life be like if we were forced to only learn things that we thought were dull and pointless? We would be forced to pick jobs that didnt pair up with our passion because the sad truth is that for many people that is true-- only 14 percent of U.S. workers believe they have the perfect job and more than half want to change careers, according to a new poll released (Huffington Post). People would be much less engaged in the subject matter and retain about 16 percent of everything one learned. The theory of multiple intelligences, proposed by Howard Gardner, a developmental psychologist, is a theory of intelligence that differentiates the types of intelligence rather than seeing intelligence as a single general ability (Myers). The contrasting types of intelligence are grouped into nine categories; Naturalist

intelligence, Musical, Logical-Mathematical, Existential, Interpersonal, BodilyKinesthetic, Linguistic, Intra-personal and Spatial intelligence. Everyone has all of these intelligences, at varying degrees. It is vital to know what kind of intelligence one most commonly falls under, that way one can know what to improve on and what direction, such as a job, is most suitable for themselves. Naturalist intelligence is derived from our evolutionary past as hunters, gatherers, and farmers. It is also thought that much of our consumer society takes advantage of the naturalist intelligences, which shows that this role of intelligence is still very relevant today (Myers). Musical intelligence is the power to detect pitch, rhythm, timbre, and tone. This intelligence lets us recognize, create, reproduce, and reflect on music, as demonstrated by composers, conductors, musicians, vocalist, and sensitive listeners (Myers). Interestingly, there is often an affective connection between music and the emotions; and mathematical and musical intelligences may share common thinking processes. People with this kind of intelligence are usually singing or drumming to themselves (Myers). They are usually quite aware of sounds others may miss (Myers). Logically/ Mathematical intelligence-- Logical-mathematical intelligence is the ability to calculate, quantify, consider propositions and hypotheses, and carry out complete mathematical operations. It enables us to perceive relationships and connections and to use abstract, symbolic thought; reasoning skills; and inductive and deductive thinking patterns (Myers). Logical intelligence is usually well developed in mathematicians, scientists, and detectives. People with lots of logical intelligence are interested in patterns, categories, and relationships. They are drawn to arithmetic problems, strategy games and experiments (Myers). Existential intelligence is the sensitivity and capacity to take on deep questions about human existence, such as the meaning of life, why do we die, and how did we get here (Myers). Individuals with a high capacity of existential intelligence are outside of the box thinkers. Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to understand and interact effectively with others. It involves effective verbal and nonverbal communication, the ability to understand distinctions among others, sensitivity to the emotions of others and the ability to understand multiple perspectives. Teachers, social workers, actors, and politicians all exhibit interpersonal intelligence. People with this kind of intelligence are leaders among their peers, are good at communicating, and seem to understand others feelings and motives (Myers). Bodily- Kinesthetic intelligence is the capacity to manipulate objects and use a variety of physical skills through mind-body connection. Athletes, dancers, surgeons, and craftspeople exhibit well-developed bodily kinesthetic intelligence (Myers). Linguistic intelligence is the ability to think in words and to use language to express and appreciate complex meanings. Linguistic intelligence allows us to understand the order and meaning of words and to apply linguistic skills to reflect on our use of language. Linguistic intelligence is the most widely shared and is relavent in poets, novelists, journalists, and effective public speakers (Myers). People with this kind of

intelligence enjoy writing, reading, telling stories or doing crossword puzzles (Myers). Intra-personal intelligence is the capacity to understand oneself and ones thoughts and feelings, and to use such knowledge in planning and having a sense of direction in ones life. Intra-personal intelligence involves not only an appreciation of oneself, but also of the human condition. It is evident in psychologist, spiritual leaders, and philosophers (Myers). These people may be shy (Myers). They are very aware of their own feelings and are self-motivated (Myers). The last intelligence, spatial intelligence, is the ability to think in three dimensions. Core skills include mental imagery, spatial reasoning, image manipulation, graphic and artistic skills, and an active imagination. Sailors, pilots, sculptors, painters, and architects all exhibit spatial intelligence (Myers). People with this kind of intelligence may be fascinated with mazes or jigsaw puzzles, or spend free time drawing or daydreaming (Myers). Is intelligence a result of what humans were biologically given at birth, or other factors? The ideal answer would be to say, well both data says that instincts have a stronger pull that environmental factors. Humans have instincts; impulse motivations that come from genetically determined behavior patterns (Beer). Instinct is the strongest feeling that is passed down genetically; therefore our brains are wired much like our parents. (Thanks Mom and Dad). This is not to say that diligence and desire cannot enhance ones intellectual outcome, because that is the other half.