Common Sense About Intelligence
Types of Intelligence
Nov 15, 2008 DeLene Sholes
People use different terms to talk about intelligence. Some people are said to be book smart, and others are thought to have plenty of common sense.
Those who are book smart may not be the same people as those who have common sense. Street smart people are those who know their way around the tough world of the streets, and those who possess social skills are the ones who are thought to be smart in situations that involve other people.
Scientists Study Emotional Intelligence
Most people think of smart people as those who do well in school; those who perform well on tests that measure achievement or ability in reading, writing, and math. Intelligence tests do a fairly good job of predicting who will perform well on school related tasks, but sometimes parents and teachers are surprised when the high school valedictorian fails to do as well as they expected in college or in the world of work, or is unable to maintain a stable personal life. There are some who become successful outside the academic world even though they may have failed miserably in school.
Advantages in technology have allowed scientists to explore some of the mysteries of the brain from a biological standpoint, and these studies are leading scientists and educators to study the ways that emotions influence decision making and learning, and to search for ways to assess and develop abilities in addition to those that have traditionally been tested and developed in schools.
Emotional Intelligence: Set of Traits
Daniel Goleman in his book, “Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ” wrote that emotional intelligence involves a set of traits that include motivation, the ability to control impulses, delay gratification, and empathize with others. He compared the concept of emotional intelligence to what we might call “character.”
Ability to Control Emotions, Manage Personal Life and Possess Hope and Empathy
The author and scientist wrote that there is much evidence that people who possess the qualities that enable them to manage their personal lives, control their emotions, maintain hope, and empathize with others have an advantage over those who do not possess those qualities, and that emotional intelligence can in fact be more important than the conventional concept of intelligence.
Studies like those that Goleman wrote about and the efforts of scientists and educators may eventually lead to ways to enable more young people to develop their potential more fully. Scientists may find that there are many more ways than one to be smart, and certainly it should be recognized that everyone is smart in some ways.
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