Questions not Quotients

“Questions are the creative acts of intelligence”. Frank Kingdon.IMG_0206

Has any topic ever generated more stupidity than the topic of intelligence? And of all the nonsense, surely the most pernicious is the belief in intelligence quotient, IQ, as anything but the most rudimentary and limited tool?

According to this understanding of intelligence, if you take a test like this (full of questions like: “galleon is to wind as bicycle is to…?” Hint: they're between your hips and your feet), your answers can be scored to give a number between 40 and 160, a low number indicating that you're less intelligent and a high number, more so.

But we all know people at either end of the scale that blow apart this limited conception of intelligence: the  “brainy” geek who can't hold a conversation; the class  “dunce” who grows up to run the country.  This led psychologists to the concept of multiple intelligences, except, for historical reasons too boring to go into here, they often leave out what I would argue is the most important kind: creative intelligence.

This kind of intelligence recognises that the brain is not a fixed machine, with a performance indicator called IQ, but a creation in and of itself.

Neuroscience is confirming this, with very interesting work on brain plasticity demonstrating beyond doubt that the brain can, and does, change its physical structure and its wiring all through life. What we know now is that your moment-by-moment decisions on everything from diet to drugs, from meditation to multi-tasking, from relationships to rest, has an affect on your  brain.

That the actions we take literally expand or contract different regions of the brain and different aspects of our consciousness.  This knowledge, and the questions it raises for you, are far more relevant to your intelligence than knowing your IQ.

(This post is part of the ongoing series A to Z of Creative Intelligence.)


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