The quest to find out what exactly intelligence is can be considered a tough one. Intelligence itself is such a multi-faceted word that someone could write an entire encyclopedia full of possible answers and still not come up with one definitive answer to what it exactly means. If you ask multiple people to what they think it means, you are also naturally going to get a lot of answers. In my quest, I did encounter just that.
All five of the people who volunteered their time and answers towards this endeavor were brave souls. They allowed me to dig deep into their brains and really interrogate them to find out what their exact spin on what intelligence was to them. Answers that were given to me ranged from a few sentences to enough insight to write a weekly column for a publication. Please read on in this piece to see what others think about your friend aptly named intelligence.
Person number one who was brave enough to volunteer for my experiment is a college student just like me. The only exception is she attends the University of Pittsburgh. Person number two is a lady who has two kids and is a veteran of twenty-seven years of marriage armed with a fashion merchandising degree from a trade school. That lady would be no other than my own mother. Person number three is a recent Penn State graduate who is breaking into the insurance world while attending graduate school at Villanova all at the same time. Person number four is a current attendee of Penn State Abington as a marketing major trying to move up the corporate ladder at a local firm. Last but not least, person number five is an elementary education major at Temple University with the aspiration to one day be a second or third grade teacher. These five people merge together to form the collective team that supplied me with answers to form the spine of my paper.
Throughout this entire interviewing process, I came across many different interpretations of what intelligence meant to each person. Some interpretations were very generalized and on the other end, the remaining ones were very in depth and specific. Out of all the answers that were received by me, the top five most frequent described behaviors turned out to be problem solving, the ability to understand information, the exact way of interpreting information and a general ability of understanding. All five agreed that problem solving in general was a very key thing. When given information and understanding it completely with no flaws was another general consensus theme. Recalling the actual information after it was shared with you was the next important frequent theme. After recalling the information, being successful in interpreting it was number four on the list. The last frequent behavior mentioned was the general notion of being able to possess an understanding towards other people and objects. All five of these behaviors put together show you what my interviewees thought most of an intelligent human being.
So far, my working definition of intelligence goes as the following:
Intelligence is the action that includes the following aspects:
1.)Someone who thinks before they speak.
2.)They keep logic in mind when making a decision.
3.)Looks at possible alternated endings and states them to people
4.)Someone who has a legitimate theory/explanation when stating a cause.
5.)Letting others speak and giving them the right to speak when deep into a discussion.
That is what my definition is veering towards being right now. I’m sure it will most likely change or be altered before this course comes to a close.
I do believe that my definition of intelligence is reasonable for numerous reasons. The first reason is that most intelligent people out there will think before they speak so they do not sound like a fool. Next, they most likely will keep a logical perspective handy and at the same time, look at possible alternate endings so they do not sound unrealistic and seem one sided or have a heavy leaning towards just one ending at decision time. After that, a person who has a legitimate theory/explanation will state it when pursuing a cause. This is so they will not seem like they are just chasing after a cause for no apparent reason for why that are doing so. Lastly, a person will not let others speak and give them the right to do so in not seeming like a non accommodating person when deep into a discussion. The three things that my definition took away from the class’ consensus during the discussion were open mindedness, the trait of abstract thinking and the ability to look at something from more than one point of view.
Throughout the book, there are many different definitions of what intelligence is. The two that stuck out tome the most were the ones used in Uganda and Zimbabwe. Intelligence or Ohugezi noted by the Baganda tribe is seen as being slow, careful, active, straight-forward and sane. *Taken from page seven in the textbook (Barry 1984 p. 347)
My definition and this one from Uganda are similar in that they both stress carefulness. In mine, I describe it as thinking before you speak which is being careful of what you say before something is blurted out. The things that set my definition apart from the Ugandan one is the traits of slowness, activeness, being straight-forward and sane. I see those four traits as more of being mental and psychological ability than being associated with intelligence. Intelligence in Zimbabwe or Ngwarei is seen in traits of prudence and caution. *Taken from page seven in the textbook (Barry 1984) This definition from Zimbabwe and mine do have one thing in common. That thing in common is caution. In mine, carefulness is noted through someone who thinks before they speak, therefore being careful of what they say. The people of Zimbabwe may be careful in what they say before making a decision that they may regret. The difference between their definition and mine is their idea of prudence is more of a mental decision in deciding to stay away from something that may be bad and more than just thinking before they speak being careful in that matter. These two definitions and mine were alike and different in numerous ways.
Doing this whole paper made me realize that there are more definitions for intelligence than the eye can see. Also there are many different traits to look at when trying to come up with one big definitive definition of this word. One thing I know is that my version of it is definitely not set in stone at this place and time with this class. That is for sure!