Cognition and Intelligence

How Are We Smart?

What does it mean to be intelligent? How does intelligence develop and vary in humans? How much do thinking dispositions contribute to intelligent behaviour? Can intelligence be learned? Flossie Chua discusses what we know about these questions.

These questions around what intelligence is and what it means have intrigued and inspired researchers at Harvard’s Project Zero for over 50 years, and our inquiry suggests that intelligence, far from being singular, innate and fixed, is in fact multifaceted and learnable. Rather than equating being smart with scoring the highest test scores, or being born with a fixed amount of ‘smartness’, we believe that being smart is having a profile of learnable intelligences that enables one to identify and solve problems, and to create products that are of value in contemporary society. In short, we propose that intelligence is multiple, dispositional and learnable.

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