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To what extent do differences in intelligence exist?

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This is something I've thought about a lot but haven't been able to come to any conclusions. (because the damn thing can't just be thought about anyway - it has to be based on empirical evidence from neuroscience and biology and stuff)

It's clear that animals can't grasp human language right? That much should be non-debatable. I can have pets who hear human language all the time but can never learn to speak it except to be conditioned to associate certain sounds with certain behaviours.

Okay, and now within the human species we have members with certain obvious physiological limitations who can't grasp a lot of stuff that other humans can easily.

But other than those obvious cases, are differences in intelligence an actual measurable property?

Maybe some people are just more curious than others and more stubborn which leads them to learn more stuff which in turn makes learning other things easier.

One thing I've noticed is some people(kids) see something and take it for granted and don't try to question or understand why it works or is the way it is. Others do and are generally considered brighter ones? Is that all there is to it?

If so, aren't we doing something very wrong with the education system (at least in the cases I'm familiar with) where kids who do well in school are singled out for better classes etc. Well, maybe the kids who do well aren't very intelligent but just good at following instructions? Maybe the kid who didn't do so well didn't have a patient enough teacher to explain stuff to them and so they try to figure stuff out on my own instead of relying on school. Wouldn't these kids be disadvantaged from being placed in environments where their curiosity is fostered and encouraged?
 

Animekitty

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Intelligence is an internal process. To hold information and do something with it. Structure of neural pathways puts constraints on how connections will grow. The way the brain is wired will direct signals circulating in the brain. And change itself.

Ultimately it is the conditions under which the cells self-organize that produce intelligence or the way we individually handle information in our head.
 

Hadoblado

think again losers
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Hmmm I like your approach.

There's still some controversy about intelligence testing, but we still know a lot about it... There's just a lot more we don't know.

Differences in intelligence are real, but complicated. Intelligence is not a single attribute, it's just a predictor of outcomes that itself is the result of a sophisticated orchestration of many underlying processes at multiple levels of organisation.

It is extensively studied in psychology, but it's a difficult area to make clear sweeping statements about.

The stuff you said about differences in motivation/curiosity is somewhat true. When IQ testing, that's a serious confound. But it's far from the whole picture. Differences in ability exist too.

Think about the alternative... That all people are exactly equal in regards to intelligence? That would be a glaring exception. In basically every other human endeavor or trait, there is a range of ability under which each individual falls: strength, athleticism, weight, height, sensory detection, creativity... How would you justify an expectation of an exception in intelligence?

Even your example of an aptitude for following instructions: What makes a child good at following instructions? Some children make mistakes because they don't understand the instructions -> comprehension -> intelligence. Some children choose not to follow instructions because they don't understand how those instructions benefit them in the long run -> understanding -> intelligence.
 

aiyanah

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hold up son
>animals can't learn human language
are we counting sign language? cause there's a gorilla that can speak sign language, taught by some old lady i would guess in america cause no one else would do such a thing.
 

Hadoblado

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[citation needed]

...most reports of animals having lingual abilities are exaggerated. They don't have the same high degree of language specialisation in the brain that humans have. There are exceptional individual animals, but they're taught this stuff all their lives and usually don't achieve anything on the level of even a remedial human.
 

ZenRaiden

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Koko the Gorilla used metaphores and even made new words her self by connecting two different words. I dont think its close to human, but still impressive for a species that communicates with just primitive sounds and body language.

On the other note intelligence is rather hard to pin point, because we dont have a concept as of yet what it is to be intelligent. Even the definition of intelligent spurs philosophical debates.
 

aiyanah

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[citation needed]

...most reports of animals having lingual abilities are exaggerated. They don't have the same high degree of language specialisation in the brain that humans have. There are exceptional individual animals, but they're taught this stuff all their lives and usually don't achieve anything on the level of even a remedial human.
this elephant said thank you and it's wild
3:15 if you're curious


that aside (ot now) it's safe to say that intelligence (from my observations) is the ability to perform complex functions.
is there a concrete way to measure this? unlikely, but we have some good enough measurements today anyway.
there's also the issue of what exactly do ability, perform, complex and functions mean cause once we start abstracting (moving away from the physical) we start changing the properties of the performance as wholly different abilities are then required to be applied to complex (layered) functions, a function being anything the body might be requested to do given the current scope of reality that is accessible to us.

for instance the bell curve HAS TO evolve one standard deviation past it's current mean once we start living in space, which is something that happens anyway but only in tandem with how quickly the environment changes.
can a 95 IQ (in 2018) individual survive on the space station? if yes how often would they be a risk to everyone else on a space station?
it's all fair game to give mother nature the middle finger down here on earth and boost those individuals that need it cause we can blunt the teeth of nature somewhat, but what happens when those people are no longer useful to the collective through no fault of their own due to the environment having rapidly changed around them?

there are different types of intelligence btw but most of those would remain internally relevant only, the practical and emotional elements matter to the outside world so we measure those.
physical intelligence for instance should be a thing, the sports proves that on a yearly.
 

Blarraun

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But other than those obvious cases, are differences in intelligence an actual measurable property?
Differences are real and can be tested or seen in performance.
for instance the bell curve HAS TO evolve one standard deviation past it's current mean once we start living in space
An artificial environment such as a station can be designed to accommodate beings of any IQ level.

Maybe you could say that once humans live in space the average IQ requirement of daily tasks increases, which is debatable. Given technological assistance any task can be brought down to an arbitrarily low IQ difficulty, provided an individual is cognitively able to see that there's a task that can be done and is also capable of articulating their needs.

Given above I think it's plausible that the environment of the future could create an unbridgeable split society where one part (likely posthuman) lives on the bleeding edge and experiences selective IQ pressure and another which has most high-IQ aspects outsourced and thus lower overall intelligence. Though calling it a society likely requires some power hierarchy that could be obtained by low-IQ representatives. Some universal currency could do that.

Emotional and social maturity are better measures of group's long term success. It ensures all interpersonal conflicts are dealt with without lasting harm and individuals are cooperative.
 

aiyanah

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you are correct, but we must observe that people can get barred from having sex based on IQ.
what's the likelihood people get barred from going to space based on IQ, and not for petty reasons either but cause they would endanger the collective irrespective of given environment?
here, this dude, who i assume is gay based on the article, with an iq of 48, got barred from having sex by a high court (i check this one once a year to make sure it's still up).

observe the ranging ramifications of this ruling as it currently stands.
 

TransientMoment

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I hope someone does research on the intelligence of octopi. They seem really clever, like squirrels, but whether this equates to the ability to communicate effectively, who knows.

In answer to the OP: I would say different levels of intelligence do exist, but it's hard to say because we don't really know what's behind the eyes. We can only measure demonstrated ability. I think it'll be possible one day to make AI and cybernetic creatures "more intelligent" according to certain rubrics, but that doesn't mean they'll ever ask questions related to things beyond the observable universe much less understand what those questions even mean.

But as for categorizing them... um... You could classify them by maybe (making this up):
> No intelligence (bacteria)
> Purely instinctual / automatic-response
> Aware (having a mind that can envision things)
--> Non-Subjective (unaware of self)
--> Subjective (aware of self, may identify similar patterns)
--> Abstractive (able to identify similar patterns and reconstruct them)
--> Transcendent (able reflect/question/challenge the pattern or idea, create new patterns and ideas, and even deny existing ones)

Animals and bacteria fall into the first several categories. Researchers are currently trying to see if they fall into the third-to-last (Subjective) and second-to-last (Abstractive). Humans are the only ones in the final category, Transcendent. Of course, there's the question of "power of the transcendent mentality" that varies per person. After all, some people seem to have greater limitations.
Animals never have existential crisis. I don't know any nihilist apes.

Among humans, it would seem there are degrees of intelligence, but here it gets fuzzy. We know some people have mental disabilities, so that limits their capacity. Other people have amazing brains, so they seem to be a head above everyone else. But among humans, there seems to be a spectrum of intelligence, rather than discrete layers. However, I think the two greatest contributing factors are 1) your predisposition to thinking about things in an analytical way and 2) your willingness to analyzing things for a long time.

As for the first one - your predisposition - INTPs are at a huge advantage over everyone else. We think, and we like to do it. We're always asking why. But in regards to the second factor - it's possible to start gaining insights by trying to analyze, but most people are content to stop at the first thing they can think of. Those who aren't go on to make interesting observations. Their ability to gain insights has not been restricted by their predisposition to thinking; it has been enhanced by their curiosity.

I've been told on a number of occasions that I'm smart. Yes, I am, but I don't think it's from any unfair advantage. I think I probably have about the same brain power as your average human, but unlike most people, I keep thinking about things. I keep asking why. And the result is that I get better, more well-thought-out answers.

If we consider people taking tests, I don't think the tests accurately show the level of intelligence for everyone. Instead, I think those who "succeed" are simply those who figured out how to process that particular format (of the test) in their brain in an effective way. People who like step-by-step will love bullet points.
I know this from experience. I found that certain personalities - like INFJs - will understand calculus much better if you teach it to them with poetry. Suddenly, it's fun for them.
 

Artsu Tharaz

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I know this from experience. I found that certain personalities - like INFJs - will understand calculus much better if you teach it to them with poetry. Suddenly, it's fun for them.
That in the moment, things do change
And over time, forms do arrange
The large is made up from the smallest,
Things are flat, when at the tallest
 
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