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The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

What is your personal definition of intelligence?

Asked by The_Compassionate_Heretic (14596points) May 22nd, 2009

Sure you can go to an online dictionary of the word intelligence, but what constitutes intelligence in your mind? What makes a person smarter or not as smart as you are?

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19 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

A person who has a lot of education, knows a lot—both academically and culturally, has a bunch of reasoning skills, a modicum of interpersonal skills, and can do well on standardized tests.

It is not innate. Genes may confer an advantage to some, but if they do, it is only a marginal advantage.

noelasun's avatar

Intelligence to me, is an awareness and a willingness to change. (learn) (insight)
There are people who I’m sure know more than me, but then there are people that I talk to that catch (or make some connection) things in conversation, books, life things that other people would never catch.
I usually find these people the most “intelligent” and helpful to be around.
Information I can find in books.

dannyc's avatar

A gift, not to be taken lightly, that is an accident of birth. Smarter is always a relative term and I can’t change my car tire, but I may be able to create a marketing campaign. I rely on smarter than me people all the time, in their field, so I am humble, even If I may be smart..(or smartass as some may claim)

SuperMouse's avatar

Intelligence comes in many forms. I am a huge fan of Thomas Gardener’s theory of Multiple Intelligences.

My ex-husband knows nothing about politics, never finished college, and hasn’t read a book in years, but that man is the most incredible design engineer around. He can come up with an idea for a process, design and build the machine to make the process happen, get it up and running and trouble shoot the entire thing by himself. He is amazingly intelligent, just not in the traditional ways. I have two brothers with PhD’s and I do not consider either of them more intelligent than my ex, their minds just work differently.

I think it is impossible to come up with a single definition of intelligence. It is different in different people and one type of intelligence can’t really be called better than any other type. I think an awful lot of really bright people get lost in the shuffle because they don’t learn well with the traditional “sit and get” methods of teaching.

Loried2008's avatar

Not stupid ;D

knitfroggy's avatar

To me intelligence is having plenty of common sense. Some people I have known that were terribly “book smart” had zero common sense. My dad never even graduated from high school and he is one of the smartest people I’ve ever known in my life.

filmfann's avatar

Book learning AND common sense application.
You gotta know why the rules are there before you break them.

justwannaknow's avatar

A combination of street smarts, life experience, Common sense and education. combine that with how you use it and you have intelligence. My intellectual opinion.

crisw's avatar

Adaptability. The ability to absorb knowledge and have it change behavior.

YARNLADY's avatar

Being able to understand what I read or am told the first time, or being able to figure things out for myself. Coming up with ideas for new things or different ways of doing things; never being bored.

quasi's avatar

Curiosity is a sign of intelligence.

augustlan's avatar

My personal definition of intelligence used to be using language well. Maybe because it’s an outward sign, and an easily recognizable one. I’ve broadened my view quite a bit over the years as I came to realize that there are plenty of intelligent people who couldn’t form a proper sentence if their lives depended on it.

These days, I’m more inline with @SuperMouse, and think there are many ways to express intelligence. I’m inclined to say it exists in anyone with a natural gift… be it a math whiz, a mechanical genius, or a brilliant artist. Unlike @daloon, I do think it’s innate. I’ve got 3 children, born within a 4 year time frame. The oldest two are academically ‘gifted’ while the youngest – though quite bright – is not. Her gift seems to be an intuitive understanding of human nature (which may turn out to be quite a bit more useful in the long run!). I’ve done nothing differently, and they’ve been this way from the beginning.

3or4monsters's avatar

A melding of intuition, rational thinking, critical thinking, information retention, wit, and creativity/ingenuity.

Bobbydavid's avatar

It’s not education, it’s the willingness in someone to want to be educated whatever their background or circumstances. Many people are educated to the highest levels but show no signs of intelligence. Perfect example….....politicians!

wildflower's avatar

A person that can/will try to understand without necessarily agreeing.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Intelligence in my mind, is defined by someone who, when presented with new evidence, or facts, can change their opinion to reflect that. Intelligence isn’t what you know, to me, it’s being able to change your views when the evidence presented cannot be logically denied.

Believing something because it is the views of the status quo, or because you have always believed it, seems to me to be the epitome of ignorance.

ragingloli's avatar

The capability to recognise and solve problems with tools and information that you already have, and to gain new information out of that.

mattbrowne's avatar


(SQ referring to social intelligence)

seVen's avatar

Depends what intelligence you are asking, there’s worldly and there’s Godly. There’s a huge difference.

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