How would you describe your own intelligence

intelligence

What is intelligence

In general it can be said: Intelligence is the paraphrase for the ability to find one's way in new situations through insight and to solve tasks through thinking.

Experience does not play a role, rather the quick grasp of relationships and their combination. In this way, a new look at an existing problem can arise and lead to a quick solution - without trying out and learning.

The US psychologist Edward Boring, on the other hand, had his own definition in 1923: "Intelligence is what the intelligence test measures."

Intelligence tests examine certain properties, such as the ability to solve complex tasks. The result is a numerical value, the intelligence quotient - also called IQ for short. In many intelligence tests, an IQ of 100 is considered the average.

Two opposing theories

The tests may reveal differences, but they do not provide an answer to the question of what constitutes intelligence. Scientists are still debating this.

Some researchers assume a single, cross-functional intelligence factor, the "general factor g". The thesis was justified in 1923 by the psychologist Charles Spearman.

By comparing various IQ tests, he found that there was a positive correlation between almost all individual sections within a test. His conclusion: There is a fundamental relationship between the different skills, the factor "g". This could be different depending on the test person.

From the start, Spearman's thesis was controversial. Follow-up examinations by his colleagues provided deviating results and thus further factor theories. Other scientists, on the other hand, consider a general factor to be insufficient. They advocate a whole range of relatively independent intelligences.

The US psychologist Howard Gardner, for example, advocates a concept of "multiple intelligence". According to this, different, differently well developed abilities together result in the intellectual possibilities of a person.

So he includes movement intelligence (dancers), musical intelligence (musicians, composers) or naturalistic intelligence (natural scientists) in his theory.

Almost all areas of the brain are required for this. Intelligence could therefore also depend on how well and how quickly the individual brain components are functionally connected to one another, work together and exchange information. In addition to purely academic skills, practical skills would also come into play.

Thinking and feeling as a unit

Another form is "Emotional Intelligence" (EQ). The term first appeared in specialist literature around 1990. He became known to the general public through the book of the same name by Daniel Goleman.

Goleman describes thinking and feeling as a unit that determines the actions and intellectual abilities of people. Emotionally intelligent people can recognize, differentiate, regulate and use moods such as sadness, fear or irritability in themselves and others. Thought processes are not disturbed by it.

In order to gain knowledge about emotional intelligence, the Max Planck Institute for Neurological Research in Cologne carried out a study with mentally ill test persons. Depressed, schizophrenic and autistic were among the participants. Their empathic profiles (empathy = empathy) differed in part considerably from those of healthy test persons.

Normally intelligent schizophrenics tend to think more than average about the motives and actions of others, while autistic people cannot empathize with others at all.

In our working world, teamwork, the ability to motivate and employee management are becoming more and more important. According to supporters of the theory, emotional intelligence could be a key to success in our society. The significance of the specially developed EQ tests is, however, controversial in specialist circles, as is the concept of emotional intelligence in general.

The role of genes

Although the forms of intelligence may be controversial, researchers agree that genes influence intelligence. How strong, however, no precise statement can be made.

It is not about a single intelligence gene. Brain performance results from the function of a large number of genes, which in turn often influence each other: those that control the brain's metabolism and those that determine components of the brain's anatomy.