American Morning

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June 14th, 2010
10:00 AM ET

Scientists say 'smarter' brains faster, more efficient

(CNN) – Whether you've been called book smart or street smart we'd all like to think that we're intelligent. But what does being "smart" really mean? And how do you get there? In our special series, "Are You Smart," Alina Cho took an in-depth look at every aspect of intelligence.

Program Note: IQ tests aren't the only way to judge smarts. In fact, some say emotional intelligence is much more accurate in determining whether or not people will succeed in life. Never heard of emotional intelligence? Watch American Morning tomorrow for part two of our series, "Are You Smart?"

Filed under: Are You Smart?
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. On the Ball Parent Coach

    I'm afraid that far too much emphasis is being placed on IQ (intelligence quotient) instead of EQ (emotional quotient) otherwise known as Emotional Intelligence. If you go back to Daniel Golman's book, he clearly states that success in life is 80% dependent on EQ.

    While academics are important, they will not guarantee success unless an individual knows how to manage their personal skill set.
    And, let's face it, emotions are a part of life. They influence our thoughts which in turn influence our actions. If we can manage our emotions better, we can manage ourselves better. This brings us next to social intelligence skills which are also vital in how we get along with each other.

    There is much research that proves that kids who are emotion coached by their parents (since schools don't do this) are much more likely to be more successful and happier. They even do better acadmically! So while IQ cannot benefit EQ, EQ can definitely improve IQ.

    Shouldn't we be spending more time on EQ?

    June 16, 2010 at 12:22 pm |
  2. Healing Enzo

    I have a 170+ IQ (Cattell). Since beating alcohol & Adopting Buddhist, I have developed a greater sense of sentience and emotional inteligence & now offer peer counseling others.

    Tests don't change who I am. I have to learn that for myself. Reality exists independently of tests.

    But to the people who's ranted already about the state of the country – let me say when I want to change the world, I start with myself.

    June 15, 2010 at 10:32 am |
  3. Debra Woodall

    I just saw your EQ video on CNN. It got me thinking-We voted for a President that obviously has a very high EQ and now we are demanding he minimize his EQ to accommodate our viewing pleasure. I think the majority of the American people must have a very low EQ to request this!!!

    June 15, 2010 at 7:59 am |
  4. Larry

    As the parent of two it is my experience that the "smart" don't get smarter and the "dumb" don't get smarter. In spite of straight A school grades and having shared the same teachers, the "dumb" child only performs at an average level on standardized achievement tests while the "smart" child performs well above average.

    Interestingly, in one specific area those are reversed - although the "dumb" child only barely exceeds average performance.

    By most subjective measures neither child would be considered "dumb" and both would be considered "smart". But, by objective measures it is clear that one is "smarter". And, this has been true their entire lives with no change - that is, the "dumb" one has not become "smarter" over time or with greater experience or attention/effort.

    In my experience the "hard-wired" aspect of the brain trumps everything in determining "smart". The report rightly points out that this is not the only factor in success. In many areas the "dumb" child is more successful than the "smart" one.

    It would have been useful to know more about the 75% of factors that relate to success that did not have to do with being "smart".

    June 14, 2010 at 11:29 pm |
  5. Joe

    I scored 270+ on the only IQ test I've ever taken. I have, however, always felt my son is much brighter than I was at his age. He took the "Gifted and Talented" testing at his new school shortly after we moved here, and he didn't do so well... close, but not within that narrow band the school administrators require. I had to really push and fight to get to look at the actual test materials; what I found was that many of the answers can actually be interpreted in more than one way. Going back to my son and asking why he answered something a certain way, his reasoning was actually spot-on but far outside of the intended scope of the question. In effect, he was smarter than the test. Now that he's been at his school for a good year, is far and away brighter in both math and reading than his peers, is the school chess champion, and everyone has seen how he plays piano like a prodigy, the teachers are drooling all over themselves to get him in TAG, etc. Funny thing, now I've decided he got this way without their help and that we're not going to join their little elitist group. By the way, other parents have revealed how they bought prep materials for the various TAG tests, which sort of defeats the purpose in my mind. :\

    June 14, 2010 at 9:56 pm |
  6. gus

    Smart is smart, it merely shows how much one can learn. It does not guarantee success, any more than does education. Smart is one thing, success is another. I know smart people who have no desire to be successful and successful people who are not that smart. Intelligence is a gift, just as athletic, musical, or artistic abilities. We each have some of all these. I know several people with college degrees who are not overly smart and several smart people who have not finished high school.

    June 14, 2010 at 8:47 pm |
  7. Lisa

    Our country isn't what it used to be because conservatism is dragging us backward every day. In most people's minds progress=liberal.

    June 14, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  8. davec

    Our country isn't what it used to be? Why we have twice the worker productivity today as we had 25 years ago, a higher rate of college graduates, and we innovate and invent everyday. Don't blame the intelligence of the worker bees, blame the politicians.

    June 14, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
  9. Jeff

    I'm "book smart". Meaning, I have a strong and wide vocabulary, I learn quickly, strong reading comprehension, ect. I'm far from a genius but to me, smart is being able to look at everything at all sides. IE: Theory of evolution

    I believe the POSSIBILITY of God existing. Perhaps not in the form we recognize him however (aka Jesus). I mean we have yet to prove/disprove "in absolute" (without a shred of doubt) whether he/she exists or not. Another is the POSSIBLITY that you are "born gay". People believe they are, some do not. It has not been proven/disproven "in absolute" yet (and may never be). However, that topic is for another time.

    I'm not in any religion and I'm not an athiest and I don't always believe/trust science either. I do find it amusing that people argue that the Bible was written by man (thus is flawed) yet so is science (thus can be flawed as well). The Bible was written on the interpretation of man. So is science. We never "proved" anything really. We only interpret it as we see it (not speaking about common-sense things: Your heart stops, you die).

    I'm sure many people think of me as stupid for the simple fact that they don't understand. In other words, I'm stupid because I'm smarter than most (key word: most) people. Sorry for the long post. I put much thought in it.

    June 14, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
  10. Chad

    "isn't what it used to be... "? When exactly was this golden utopia age?

    Blood for Oil era? Vietnam era? McCarthy's era? Depression era? The Jungle era? Indian War era? Civil War era?

    June 14, 2010 at 1:25 pm |
  11. Yes1Fan

    There is such a thing as "movement intelligence". The entire back half of one's brain & much of the brain stem is devoted to it. Every sensory interaction (ie. "reality as perceived") filters through the Purkinje cells for sampling & processing. Ones requiring an "action" response are routed to appropriate motor-response circuits for the actual physical response. "Memorized" response are faster (reflex-like), but top athletes, oft-maligned for lack-of-smarts, have far greater ability to store and use complex motion-memories than so-called "smart" people. Some paralyzed people have had their motion restored by devices like Deep Brain Stimulator, that re-open access to those "blocked-shut" motion-memory neural networks. Book Smarts is not "Learning". "Learning" is book-smarts put into action. Don't discount those with superior "motion intelligence" especially for the "action" half of Learning!

    June 14, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
  12. Common Sense

    Unfortunately, "smart" today is how well people can be robotic... remember data, perform well on a test, etc.

    In the past, "smart" was how well people could think of NEW ways to do things and invoke creativity to innovate and find solutions to difficult problems.

    Look at the difference between the two and then ask yourself again why our country isn't what it used to be... exactly.

    June 14, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
  13. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    From the womb all the way to adult hood the body develops and basing a child's abillity at such a young age is crazy what if the smart kid dosnt get any smarter but the dumb kid does then you wind up with a misplaced kid in the learning tree .

    June 14, 2010 at 10:14 am |