Emotional Intelligence Quackery [was Re: Mensa]

Darin Sunley (rsunley@escape.ca)
Wed, 11 Aug 1999 00:24:24 -0500

Edd111@aol.com wrote:


> is the staid, old verbal/spatial reasoning
> aspect of IQ.


> IQ is now defined to measure other things in
> a person, viz. Creativity, Kinesthetics, Music Ability, etc.


> their own 'intellectual
> abilities'.

I disagree completely. The only reason "IQ is now defined" as ANYTHING other then "verbal/spatial" reasoning is that a bunch of social psychologists in the mid 70s decided how unfair it was that only people with good spatial/verbal abilities got to call themselves "intelligent", as if intelligence was ever anything more then one's result on a spatial/verbal abilities test.

Much as people are not entitled to their own "facts", people are not entitled to their own "intelligences." There are hundreds of perfectly good words to describe creative ability without using the word "intelligence", which already had a perfectly coherent meaning. The only reason people push for the label of "intelligence" for their particular mental strong suit is the ridiculous notion that an ability isn't "real", or "legitimate" unless it's been "canonized" as a form of "intelligence".

This issues actually harkens back to the beginnings of modern psychology. Binet's test was exactly what's been described: a test of spatial and verbal ability, graded against the results of one's peer group. It was only with it's adoption by a bunch of quacks at Stanford (hence Stanford-Binet) that the meme formed in (American) psychological thought that the "intelligence" score described an inherent trait that denoted social superiority.

What's wrong with using the word "abilities" to describe abilities?

Darin Sunley