What is the routine of intelligent students


And what role does a person's environment play?

First of all, there are very profound factors: A starving or neglected child will have difficulty developing into an intelligent adult. Language support is also important. That you learn with children to name the world and not wait for it to happen by itself. The importance of linguistic competence is shown when you take the same intelligence test once in your mother tongue and once in a foreign language: the results will be worse and worse in the foreign language. But conclusive thinking can only be learned through reading and writing. And the school gives the last quantity. Differences in intelligence only stabilize when they go to school. The longer someone goes to school, the greater their chances of becoming intelligent and getting good results on an intelligence test. In an optimal learning environment, the genetic differences in intelligence would show up 100 percent.

Can intelligence be measured reliably at all, and if so, how?

Not as precise as size or weight, but generally yes. There are measurement errors, but these are deviations of only a few points.

What does the result of an intelligence test say about a person's performance?

A high level of intelligence never hurts. That can be said clearly. Of course there are also a few very intelligent people who have thrown their lives against the wall, but not because of, but despite their intelligence. Those who have good intelligence genes always have better chances of being good in many areas. And he's also happier, by the way. Because intelligent people have greater chances of living the life they want to lead. They deal more flexibly with what they find and handle situations they encounter more skillfully. You can find alternatives if something doesn't go well.

What role does intelligence play in relation to learning performance?

Intelligence means the ability to learn. But in the sense that it is understood and not just memorized. Just memorizing will not get you very far if what you have learned is not applicable. In my next project, by the way, we will investigate whether particularly intelligent students “shut up” earlier in class than less intelligent ones, if it is not about meaningful learning. How well I learn also depends on my goal. The method must be a by-product of the content. Learning strategies must be developed on the object. Sometimes repeating facts stubbornly makes sense, sometimes it doesn't. For example, I don't understand the physical phenomenon “force” by memorizing the definition.

What can you do to promote and develop your own intelligence or that of your employees?

Intelligence has stabilized in adults. There isn't much that can be done anymore. A person who is normally intelligent no longer becomes highly intelligent. As an employer, the question should be rather: How can I optimally use the existing intelligence? And do I even need highly intelligent employees for every job? Are not other competences sometimes more useful for a job? Very intelligent employees have to be challenged and just not left to the routine. Less intelligent people, on the other hand, should not be overwhelmed; they must be given security. employer
So you have to think carefully: What do we expect from which employee?

Can you lose intelligence in the course of your life, for example if you don't use your thinking skills? Of course, dementias are excluded.

If you look at a person's intelligence test results over a lifetime, they don't get significantly worse. The participant may slow down and maybe lose three points, but overall intelligence is surprisingly robust. Of course, it's also about motivation: How do I use my intelligence? I am sure that if it were a requirement to be able to speak Chinese overnight in order to be able to retire at 65, even 60-year-olds would learn Chinese very quickly. So the question is always about the pay-off.

Are people getting smarter and smarter in the course of human history? At least that is what the results of IQ tests suggest.

The genes that control human intelligence are unlikely to have changed significantly in the past 40,000 years. But today's environment makes better use of the intelligence genes - because the framework conditions are better than they were 100 years ago. However, we currently assume that the optimum has largely been achieved in western civilizations.

There are also theses that humanity will lose intelligence.

At best, I could imagine that neglecting linguistic development in childhood and being under-challenged in school could at some point lead to a measurably poorer intelligence performance of the general population. But at the moment there can be no question of that.

Prof. Stern, thank you very much for the interview.