8 Myths About Intelligence Debunked By Psychological Research

Friday, 28 November 2014 0 comments

8 Myths About Intelligence Debunked By Psychological Research


Myth #1: Playing Classical Music To Babies Makes Them More Intelligent

Many people wish to increase their intelligence, and a number of suggestions have been made to help increase intelligence.

One of the suggestions is that listening to classical music, in particular, Mozart, helps raise intelligence levels.

FACT: In 1999, K. M. Steele, K. E. Bass and M. D. Crook attempted to ascertain whether Mozart increases intelligence, and no such effect was found.
There is no proven link between listening to classical music and increased intelligence.

Steele, K. M., Bass, K. E., & Crook, M. D. (1999). The mystery of the Mozart effect: Failure to replicate. Psychological Science, 10(4), 366-369.
Myth #2: You Learn Better While You Are Sleeping

People often believe that if you want to learn a new language it is better to listen to the language being spoken while you sleep.

This idea has been confused with a slightly different theory that holds more merit.

FACT: R. Stickgold found in 2005 that memories are consolidated while we sleep.

In 2003, K. M. Fenn, H. C Nusbaum and D. Margolish found that recollection of newly learned words and phrases was better after sleep. Participants learned either at the start of the day, or before sleep and those who slept remembered more than those who didn’t.

While sleep will assist learning by consolidation of memories, it is not to be assumed that you can actually learn in your sleep.

Stickgold, R. (2005). Sleep-dependent memory consolidation. Nature,437(7063), 1272-1278.

Fenn, K. M., Nusbaum, H. C., & Margoliash, D. (2003). Consolidation during sleep of perceptual learning of spoken language. Nature, 425(6958), 614-616.

Myth #3: Eating “Brain Food” Makes You Smarter

“Brain Food” is a term often used to refer to specific foods that apparently make you smarter.

Many believe that ingesting fish oil improves intelligence.

FACT: Fish oil can improve general health, it is good for the heart and helps the body produce beneficial proteins (K. S. Sidhu, 2003) but there is no difference in intelligence in older fish oil supplement takers (O. Van de Rest et. Al, 2008)

O. Van De Rest et all conducted a study with 70 year olds, and found that those who took placebos had the same intelligence level as those who took fish oil supplements.

Sidhu, K. S. (2003). Health benefits and potential risks related to consumption of fish or fish oil. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, 38(3), 336-344.

Van de Rest, O., Geleijnse, J. M., Kok, F. J., Van Staveren, W. A., Dullemeijer, C., OldeRikkert, M. G. M., … & De Groot, C. P. G. M. (2008). Effect of fish oil on cognitive performance in older subjects A randomized, controlled trial. Neurology, 71(6), 430-438.

Myth #4: Word And Number Puzzles Increase Intelligence

Another common confusion between intelligence and memory is the idea that word and number puzzles such as crosswords and Sudoku puzzles improve intelligence.

FACT: In 2011, J. A Pillai et al conducted research that shows performing crosswords every day relayed memory decline in older people.

It is suggested that these types of puzzles can improve memory.

B. Power however, pointed out in 2002 that though daily participation in certain tasks like crosswords help train particular functions in the brain, without training other parts as well, the overall result will not be of significance, and intelligence will not be increased.

Pillai, J. A., Hall, C. B., Dickson, D. W., Buschke, H., Lipton, R. B., & Verghese, J. (2011). Association of crossword puzzle participation with memory decline in persons who develop dementia. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 17(06), 1006-1013.

Power, B. (2002). Brain Power. Brain, 1, 1.

Myth #5: Academic Performance Is Based On Intelligence
Many will believe the idea that you can only pass your exams if you are intelligent, and that this, more than anything else is what will allow you to pass.

Some believe that if they don’t have a high enough IQ, it doesn’t matter how hard they try, they won’t pass.

Research suggests this is not true.

FACT: In 2005, A. L . Duckworth and M. E. Seligman found that it was actually self-discipline that ensured pupils passed their exams, more than intelligence.

Students who disciplined themselves had a higher pass rate than those who did not.

IQ is not the most effective way to predict high academic performance.

Duckworth, A. L., & Seligman, M. E. (2005). Self-discipline outdoes IQ in predicting academic performance of adolescents. Psychological science,16(12), 939-944.

Myth #6: Bigger Brain = Higher Intelligence

If you have big brains, it is widely believed you are more intelligent.

Often, people will refer to their intelligent friends as “Brainy”.

Although some studies have claimed to find a relationship between brain size and IQ, there it little to back this claim up.

FACT: D. H. Stott in 1983 found that there was not definitive evidence to suggest that brain size and IQ were at all related.

Having a bigger brain does not necessarily mean you are more intelligent.

Stott, D. H. (1983). Brain size and ‘intelligence’. British journal of developmental psychology, 1(3), 279-287.

Myth #7: Intelligence Is Down To Genetics

A question often asked about intelligence is “Is it nature, or nuture?” Is intelligence a result of genetics or environment?

FACT: Research by  F. N Freeman, K. J Holzinger and B. C. Mitchell in 1928, suggested that environment played an important role in intelligence, and more recently, T. W. Teasdale and D. R. Owen came to the same conclusion in 1984.

Intelligence is affected by environment, including schooling and domestic circumstances, among others, as well as genetics.

Freeman, F. N., Holzinger, K. J., & Mitchell, B. C. (1928). The influence of environment on the intelligence, school achievement, and conduct of foster children. Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education.

Teasdale, T. W., & Owen, D. R. (1984). Heredity and familial environment in intelligence and educational level: A sibling study. Nature.
Myth #8: Intelligence Is Based On What You Know
When considering intelligence, many people think about what people know, how well they remember things and how well they can recall facts.
Emotional intelligence is a term used to describe awareness of your own and other people’s emotions, and being able to gauge and label them appropriately.

Some do not consider emotional intelligence as an actual measure of intelligence.

FACT: Emotional intelligence allows humans to understand their own states of mind as well as the states of others. This facilitates more fluid interactions with other members of our species, improving our ability to function in social circumstances.

J. D. Mayer et al discussed in 2001 the validity of the claim that emotional intelligence is a standard form of intelligence, and their research shows that it is the case.

Mayer, J. D., Salovey, P., Caruso, D. R., & Sitarenios, G. (2001). Emotional intelligence as a standard intelligence.

Source: http://psych2go.me/post/103591596782/8-myths-about-intelligence-debunked-by

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