Can intelligence be increased?

Discussion in 'Religion & Philosophy' started by fractal, May 26, 2010.

  1. fractal

    fractal Eye see what you did ther

    I'm personally of the opinion that a person's intelligence is fixed, but he can increase his skills by gaining experience. I view intelligence as the rate at which a person learns and the limit of his creative capacity. It is my opinion that these are fixed. Factors like deductive capacity can be gained through sufficient experience so I do not include them in intelligence, but call them skills instead.

    If you're of the opinion that all humans have the same capacity, and that the environment molds a person's intelligence, the following examples will make you believe otherwise.

    William James Sidis
    Kim Ung Yong

    Here are more: Child Prodigies : Top Ten : Science Channel
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2010

  2. ysabel

    ysabel /ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5

    The profile of child prodigies haven't changed my mind that environmental influences are large enough to have considerable effects on intelligence. But I doubt it's going to turn an idiot to a genius.
     
  3. fractal

    fractal Eye see what you did ther

    Well I don't think any environmental influence can make an ordinary 6 month old speak!
     
  4. stevenfermi

    stevenfermi Registered Member

    Flowers for Algernon.

    A bit of brain surgery and a cocktail of drugs can increase intelligence temporarily, apparently.
     
  5. ysabel

    ysabel /ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5

    Like I said, it can't make nothing into a genius.

    The assertion isn't that our intelligence is created by the environment, it's more an assertion that environment could have an effect on intelligence. See Flynn studies.
     
  6. PretzelCorps

    PretzelCorps Registered Member

    Do you think child prodigies are such because it just happens that way? I mean, it's not like Kim Ung-Yong suddenly looked up at his parents one day and said "Mother, I do think the time is ripe for me to begin for myself a liberal education." No, someone put the kid into university studies, whilst all the other parents were saying "Goo goo gah, who's my stupid little baby?"

    Everyone does have an initial capacity for learning and memory, and obviously some people are more advantaged than others, but research has shown time and again that these qualities can be improved upon, and I think many people stunt their development by constantly telling themselves "I'm as smart as I'll ever be."
     
  7. jack3456

    jack3456 Registered Member

    Bang on, that's exactly how I see it. Everybody with a normally functioning brain can achieve similarly great things given similar environments and encouragement.
     
  8. RJ-Cool

    RJ-Cool "Expect the unexpected"

    If intelligence is the ability to comprehend; to understand and profit from experience then I say yes! it can be increased. This can best be increased through practicing its use through reading, writing, reasoning and playing some types of games such as chess and war or video gaming which require the intense use of information.
     
  9. Walalaaa

    Walalaaa New Member

    I'm pretty sure it can be. If intelligence is defined as the ability (speed, capacity, capability) to learn, then it can be increased, because the ability to learn is something that can definitely be practiced and improved.

    If you have already learned 3 foreign languages, the 4th one will be easier to learn. A 5th one even more so. If you practice piano every day for a year, you will find it much easier to learn a new piece of music. Though these are just skills, and not necessarily indicative of an improvement in overall intelligence, a combination of improvements such as these would result in increased awareness, ability, general knowledge, and so on.

    You can also improve your reading speed, comprehension, writing, and mathematical abilities through deliberate practice if you so choose to. Deliberate practice is what's important.

    It's my view that if you really want to get smarter, you have to be proactive about it, rather than rely on simply picking things up as you go along with your day. This is what some people call "active learning" over "passive learning". It's a very hard work though, which goes some way to explaining it's unpopularity.

    Anyway, it's up to the individual. I think almost anyone can improve their intelligence. It's difficult to be sure, but as I always say : "What's hard work but a good use of your time?"

    I would argue that I'm more intelligent than I was this time last year :)
     
  10. NoMoreHotDogs

    NoMoreHotDogs Registered Member

    intelligence - capacity for learning, reasoning, understanding, and similar forms of mental activity; aptitude in grasping truths, relationships, facts, meanings, etc.

    The above definition is from dictionary.com. The key word in here is 'capacity', which is the limit of which something can fit into one area. So if a room has a capacity of 100 people, and you have met that capacity, but want to fit more, what do you do? Rebuild the room to be larger.

    While most people know that children's minds soak in information like sponges, a lot of people are skeptical about an adult's ability to do the same. However, I believe that adults are able to soak up information just like a child if only they relax and go with the flow of life. That is the big difference between children and adults: children usually have low-stress lives, while adults are often living in a high-stress environment. As all of you know, having been stressed out at least once in your life, your mind becomes agitated and tired when stress comes into play, and it's so hard to shake off! It's no wonder you can't expand your intelligence when you have so many worries filling up that capacity that is your mind.

    tl;dr: An adult can probably increase their intelligence IF they can learn to handle their stress level. You cannot bring in more knowledge if stress has filled the capacity of your brain.
     

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