Wednesday, February 08, 2012

What Intelligence Tests Miss (is Wisdom)


When I ran across this passage from Keith E. Stanovich's book, "What Intelligence Tests Miss", I came to a full stop. Here are the mental dispositions he states as contributing to real world performance:

"The tendency to collect information before making up one's mind, the tendency to seek various points of view before coming to a conclusion, the disposition to think extensively about a problem before responding, the tendency to calibrate the degree of strength of one's opinions to the degree of evidence available, the tendency to think of future consequences before taking action, the tendency to explicitly weigh pluses and minuses of a situation before making a decision, and the tendency to seek nuance and avoid absolutism."

Here in the Valley, and in the world at large, we celebrate boldness, risk-taking, and certainty.

We have aphorisms like, "Fortune favors the bold," and famous quotes like, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"

Yet according to Stanovich, the tendency to seek nuance and avoid absolutism is the key to success. (Clearly, he's never run for President!)

What struck me is how well his quote describes my current mental processes...and how poorly they describe my personality when I was a brash young prodigy.

If I were to sum up Stanovich's preferred mental dispositions in a single world, I would choose Wisdom.

2 comments:

Jose said...

Since you mentioned your past youth in your comparative, are you by extension saying that only with age comes wisdom?

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