Re: Emotional Intelligence Quackery [was Re: Mensa]

Anders Sandberg (
11 Aug 1999 18:54:01 +0200

Darin Sunley <> writes:

> wrote:
> > is the staid, old verbal/spatial reasoning
> > aspect of IQ.
> [snip]
> > IQ is now defined to measure other things in
> > a person, viz. Creativity, Kinesthetics, Music Ability, etc.
> 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.

First, IQ is not defined to involve creativity, kinesthetics, music ability, etc. - it is still the same old tests, with components of verbal, numerical, logical and spatial reasoning. It is the same old tests, slightly updated over time. There is no widely used standard scales or tests for the above stuff.

Second, Darin, before you start foaming at the mouth about psychologists, maybe you should read up on the literature? The definition of intelligence remains contested, and several models exist. What mental abilities should be seen as part of intelligence or not is also debated.

As I see it, intelligence is (very roughly) about being able to solve problems in general, especially when we do not know the solution beforehand. The problems may not need to be verbal or spatial, hence the relevance of other measures. Some psychologists claim that there exist a g-factor underlying it all, others suggest a "liquid intelligence" that can be "crystallised" into specific abilities and some view intelligence as composed of many parts. I think I am closest to the last category; however, since these parts are not orthogonal to each other there are a lot of overlap and correlations. Having a good memory and fast neurons makes your effective intelligence higher - but a subsystem such as kinesthetic abilitiy might be lacking resulting in worse problem solving abilities in some areas even if other forms of problem solving are excellent (I have this condition, as anybody who has seen me try to solve a practical physical problem can certify laughing).

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y