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What makes a person "intelligent?"

When it comes to intelligence, many people reference IQ. But, as I've said many times before it's not a complete picture of intelligence. IQ tests were designed to determine services for people who have low intellect.

There are so many different ways to be intelligent. I'm not sure it's all quantifiable. Such as the child that can pitch a ball with speed and precision, the ability to sense emotions, or just general social skills often go unmeasured.

And, I often hear people say they know someone is intelligent. Sometimes, I think people use it to say "I agree with this person."

So, how do you decide whether or not you think a person is intelligent?

silvereyes 8 Mar 12

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appropriateness, utility, lucidity, critical thinking and condemning magical thinking all lead me to recognize intelligence from others


the ability to learn new things, and to accept when their knowledge is in error.

Absolutely! Great comment!


Nice post thanks! I remember taking an I.Q test for a work assessment the assessors said after a full days work - I had a great score but, sorry to point out that my spatial awareness was seriously low and that I wouldnt be able to be a potter as I wished - I gained several prizes for my raku pots and achieved a first in fine and applied arts despite my 'apparent ' disability, the tests were proven not to be accurate, good job I never listened. I agree many many ways to be intelligent


Unless intelligence is on par with an Einstein, which few of us are, I prefer to measure people by their wisdom. Wisdom is equal parts intelligence, observation, and careful introspection.


You know a bunch of cool stuff that's interesting to talk about while high

Few have never been so profound, as when stoned.



Intelligence is the ability to extrapolate meaning and usage from information.

@silvereyes yes, but the correctness isn't as important as the ability to assemble the idea. Jimmy Jones, Manson are good examples of this. We confuse people who can regurgitate books and quotes for brilliance (like that bones character on that bones show...she is as dumb as a box of rocks, but has a asberger like ability to retain a very specific type of information, but can't learn anything else).

not many people can do that very well or they do it with a lot of errors


Easy, just take a quick glance at the INT score on their character sheet 😀

I put all my INT points into charisma


If they know what they are talking about and what they are doing, they have intelligence. My friend is an aerospace engineer, but got married twice on first dates. He has intelligence, but sometimes lacks smarts


I think children who are able to play the piano, or something similar, at a level far above the average have talent, not necessarily intelligence. If those same children are able to learn at an above average rate, they are intelligent. Intelligence includes social, "street", knowledge as well as academic training.


Being clever on paper means nothing really in the real world.


In my opinion, @Akfishlady nailed it regarding emotional intelligence ... highly under-appreciated. And while I greatly admire and respect pure savant-like intellect, I believe we've become so consumed with specialized talent that sometimes forget what it means to be 'well rounded.' Where are the Renaissance men and women today? The high IQ, artistic, athletic, engineering geniuses who have emotional intelligence?


My late 2nd wife pegged the IQ tests somewhere north of 140, but that was because the test measured a narrow aspect of intelligence -- IQ tests ignore emotional intelligence for example and don't test for how rationally you apply what your know, they don't measure the sophistication or well-roundedness of your artistic tastes, and on and on.

I loved her to death but she was very conventional and provincial and unsophisticated in many ways. For her, the proof that there must be an afterlife was that so many people believed there was. This was literally her entire take on the matter and she never saw a reason to look further than that. Case closed. This was not an intelligent aspect of her. Nor was her obsession with Thomas Kinkaide paintings a reflection of a wide-ranging curiosity about art. Yes she could read a hexadecimal core dump like it was a Stephen King novel and yes she got straight As in high school and college and yes she was considered the leading expert in software development at a large multinational corporation. But those things aren't the whole picture of what intelligence is.

Everyone's intelligence is selective -- some more than others. Truly remarkable intelliegence is well-rounded and indiscriminately curious. My current wife and I could not best my prior wife on an IQ test (though we're no slouches either) but I think we are more well rounded and have breadth as well as depth. This is no knock against the dead; its just an honest assessment. I wasn't and am not "better" than her or "smarter" or "dumber", but I am more broadly curious and I think that this is the best marker of intelligence. A lot of what passes as intelligence is an excess of raw processing power, like a computer with a very fast clock speed, but without much software to actually run on it.


Experience, learning from mistakes, creating, thinking outside normal perimeter (box), patients, logical thinking, deduction, willingness to try new things, strategy..


You are right. It's all a matter of who and what you agree with.
As a former appliance repairman I was always running onto people who had saved a part from one brand so they could use it on another. Sorry. That doesn't work.


The first is common sense. The second is being able to understand that there are different ways to look at things. Also by the way the they speak and write.

"common sense" is a platatude. Define what you think "common sense" is, please.

@dahermit Google defines it better. I'm sure you know what common sense means.

@dahermit Stopping at a crosswalk, waiting for a car to park before getting out, etc...


Play 8 ball with them


I think that the greater intelligence shows it self in making many and lasting connections between things which are not obviously connected - hence progressing human knowledge. It is not connected with remembering knowledge although both tend to occur together . I picture something in the brain wildy waving arround to try to connect to a different waving something from another retained thought.


You have to be smart enough to hang out with the right people. Folks just a little dumber than you. Which makes you smartest one in the room.

Or you could hang out with people who are smarter than you are , and learn things , and you will then actually be smarter .


The examples you mentioned about being quantifiable made me think of things that Dr. Sheldon Cooper lacks. 😛


It's highly contextual and relative. Need to define skills and talents separately. Their effective correlation with your environment can be considered intelligence.

A person good in spatial intelligence need not be good in other spheres like verbal intelligence and vice versa.

I am good in observation and I can identify small changes in people's behaviour to me but I lack in communication or expression so basically I fail to reciprocate to people in the way they want. Am I intelligent or not?


I thought it as about ‘processing speed’, so to speak, but I may be wrong.


I am intellegent, but I don't think I meet the grade for wht you are asking🙂


I'd say the ability to learn, welcome new ideas and think critically. The rest, like being good at math for instance, it's really like an elaborate game of trivia.

Yes, I'd agree with the ability to learn.


The ability to question and to not hold to confirmational bias with availability of updated facts is my key indicator of intelligence. A dogmatic belief system loses a large chunk of points if grading on a point scale.


if a person is capable & willing to discuss a topic controversially without losing the thread & getting personal, especially personally insulting - that's already a good indicator for intelligence in my eyes. distinguishing facts from opinion, rationale from emotions, personal preference from the big picture & .... humility before everything else.


1 Comprehension of the Universe and all the physical laws that apply
2 An understanding of mans history
3 The ability to listen, analize, and separate opinion from fact

gater Level 7 Mar 13, 2018
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