HomeAnswerNotificationsCustomize Feeds
What do you consider to be the true measure of intelligence?
I frequently come across people who believe their ability to retain copious amounts of information makes them intelligent. I even heard someone claim they were "highly intelligent" because of their retention rate. I personally think this is foolish, that retention is only one aspect of intellect. So would you say, or agree that intelligence in the encumbrance of both retention, as well as the ability to reason and maintain objectiveness? If retention rate alone were the true measure, then it would be safe to say the internet itself is intelligent, because it can store information and remember it better than the smartest person, but the internet doesn't have the ability to be objective, or reason. If the internet is objective, it's only claiming it's objectivity from data that's already retained, and it's merely mimicking other people's arguments. (at least in it's current state.) So can a person truly be intelligent just by memorizing copious amounts of information? Personally, I think not. What do you think?

I totally agree with you. Absolutely not.

There is abso!utely no correlation between having a capacity to store information, a good memory and your level of intelligence.

Mywife is an occupational therapist and we see many children with severe autism and other issues that can memorize anything. One little boy at 3 can tell you every flag in the world and point to it on a map the spout a load of facts and figures about that country but can't tie a shoe lace or work out even the most simplest puzzle.

Intelligence is not what knowledge you store but how you apply that knowledge to life. The more intelligent, the more creative uses of your knowledge you will find. 

Intelligence is about problem solving, about finding the best wqy to get from point A to Point B using the availab!e resources, about examining a problem, looking at the available tools to solve it and then applying this to provide a solution.

Intelligence on a more personal level is emotional intelligence, how we deal with people and our fellow human beings with respect and dignity. In this case, the tools are empathy, compassion and understanding and the applying them to relationships.

But the biggest sign of intelligence is shown in the way we deal with people who are less intelligent. Tolerence and understanding and treating them as equals. The most important thing.

Brilliant question and explanation. Thank you :-)

1 Comment

Wow. Well this is a tough question to say that least. I had to take a deep breath before I even thought of trying to give it an answer.

In my opinion, the truest measure of intelligence is DEFINTELY NOT how much information a person's brain can retain in period of time, but that person's adaptability and how this affects his or her relationship with her fellow humans.

Most succesful people we see today owe their success to this trait. The bility to adapt and maintain a relationship with people they come across. Hell, the fact that humanity still exists today is mainly because of our adaptability. Learning to channel this primordial instict, then, is for me the true measure of intelligence.

Life doesn't always go as planned. Nine times out of ten the way things are in our head isn't the way they turn out to be. The philosophers call it "naive realism." A man of great intelligence is one who can try to assimilate as many views of life as possible. Views different from his own-- and adapt to them.

This is not a very easy thing to do of course, cos most times our subjectivity comes strongly into play, and as a by product, in fact, there may even be a case of cognitive dissonance. Which is when there is such a disconnect between the things one is used to; things one believe in so strongly and a new idea or thought that one has only just come upon.

Imagine, then, how hard it would be to navigate this dissonance. Which is why I say that this is the true measure of intelligence-- a kind of conditioning that every man or woman who claim to have a remarkable intellectual capacity must have. A conditioning whereby your brain isn't closed to possibilities, where you give yourself an education that is as wide and ecclectic as possible. So that in the end that basic instict is forever in you. And it is this instinct in fact that we call intelligence.

But again this is not the end. Having this instinct is one thing, applying it in one's relationship with one's fellow creators is an entirely different thing. Which is why you'll see some people with a huge intellect and adaptive capacity who are unable to relate. Because they have masteted just one side of the coin.

I do not believe that any man who claims to be intelligent and doesn't have a single respect for his fellow man; Well treats him like dirt as he boasts of his own superior intellect; I personally don't think such a man is truly intelligent.

So there you have it, my measure of true intelligence; adaptability and the ability to use this adaptability to get the best with your fellow man. Cheers.


Well you're right to a very understandable level, when you look at the society we are in today you will see that retentiveness is even a high paying job on it's own because it's felt that retention helps in all works of all from statistics to mathematics to medicine, remembering formulaes and equations figures expecially in a firm that deals with number alone is a big deal in my country and people will definitely kill for retention which is considered a very important aspect of human intellectual intelligence that's very valuable.

However I think retention is only a branch of intelligence in my opinion, life alone is a puzzle and being able to cook without match, fire or stoves is what I call intelligence. For example people who can sift through information by looking at anomalies, finding similarities and odds in very difficult circumstances and yet manage to get results in riddles that people have tried and failed because they weren't so smart.

Intelligence for me means more than retention, it's definitely not only measured by a university degree, it's definitely being extraordinary when it comes to situation that's impossible, finding loopholes in place where there are non and obviously being able to tap into the futherest part of ones abilities in order to get things done.

1 Comment

I think this question is best explained if we differentiate being Intelligent and being Smart first.

Like what you've said, a person who is intelligent has the innate ability to retain copious amount of information. In other words. Intelligence is one's capacity for learning and is something that he/she was born with, like how your IQ (Intelligent Quotient) doesn't change even if you have read all the books available or if you have studied before taking the IQ test (it does change when you get older). Being Smart however is how a person applies that knowledge and experience he had previously learned and acquired. 

A good example to differentiate the two would be a bookworm Engineering Student who is only absorbed in reading but does not try to apply what he had read. 

If you ask him any question, he will for sure know the answer because he knows how it all works in theory after reading so many books. The problem though is that most books do not teach you unforeseen variables that only come up in reality. And here is where being Smart comes in, One must know how to quickly adapt and apply what he has learned. 

Intelligence might help you memorize all the theories from the book but it is one's Smartness that determines how quickly you can apply that knowledge to good use.

So yeah going back to your question, I think one can be intelligent just because he can memorize large chunk of information, but he is not always SMART. :)


Intelligence can be measured by checking how a person handles different situations by finding good solutions. Normally people will think solutions in common way but intelligent people will handle the same situation in more effective and efficient way. They will be positive in every situations. They usually keep their promises without saying excuses. They work till end results and will not quit so soon. Intelligent people will give end result they try their best to achieve their goal. There thoughts and the words they speak will be clear and practical. They won't waste time by complaining others or putting blame on someone else for their mistakes. Intelligence is the powerful thing which attracts all people more than beauty and money.


This answer is going to  too short for an inquiry as profound as 

There is no unit to quantify your knowledge whether that is the thing that you are inquiring. It changes, some of the time on expertise, some of the time on memory since crude potential remains yet to be estimated in type of knowledge.

What I would rather persuade is that insight is in respect to the peeps around you. You are wise on the off chance that you got distinctively tallented individuals around you. On the off chance that you are among similarly invested individuals, you may wind up feeling less capable and savvy.

For instance: Lets name two schools, schools An and B. School A scores a normal GPA of 3.4. While the national normal is 3.8. School B scores a normal of 4.0. Presently a 3.9 at school B will most likely get you less weightage in your school applications than a 3.6 at school because of the fact that they know who you are competing with

Thus the only thing that is important is putting resources into yourself and winding up better by the clock in light of the fact that the greater part of the unique things we believe are extremely vital, for example, knowledge, are really relative.