intelligence and learning

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Intelligence and Learning

Intelligence has historically been linked to knowledge. This old meaning survives in phrases like Military Intelligence. By a natural extension, people have taken learning and the ability to apply logical processes to knowledge as being fundamental to intelligence.

Recently thinkers have come to realise that learning and logic are responses to change not inherrent to intelligence. In static environments animals and humans can exhibit all the signs of intelligence but show no signs of learning or logical extension. People trained to work machinery, perform surgery, operate computers or in agriculture may appreciate the distinction. The work may be complex and detailed, but it does not require any kind of original thought. In heart surgury, the surgeon may need to be very intelligent and quick thinking but be limited to unoriginal techniques!

In cases where the behaviours are known from birth or taught early, there need be no less intelligence than in dynamic environments. In past generations, many cultures focused on "you learn everything you need during adolecence" where learning was done early in life and the skills were meant to last. These cultures now are struggling to adapt to a "learning for life" model where learning, adaption and knowledge extension become the norm of intelligent behaviours.

This clearly demonstrates the difference between Crystalline intelligence with it's focus on building up a database of facts, as seen with the traditional model of education, with Fluid Intelligence, with it's emphasis on flexibility of mind, best exemplified in the learning for life model of education.

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