Intelligence redefined

  • February 26, 2013
Intelligence redefined

Scott Barry Kaufman has published a book questioning our established beliefs about intelligence.

Gifted and talented programmes should be opened up to a wider group of children and they should be allowed multiple chances to qualify, according to a new book by a Gates Cambridge alumnus.

Ungifted: intelligence redefined by Scott Barry Kaufman [2003] is published in June.

The book sets out to prove traditional metrics wrong, questioning established ideas about the childhood predictors of adult greatness. It explores the latest research in genetics and neuroscience, as well as evolutionary, developmental, positive, and cognitive psychology, and reveals the diversity of paths to success. It promotes a more holistic approach to achievement that takes into account each young person’s individual psychology.

Scott, who is now a cognitive psychologist, was told as a child that he wasn’t clever enough to graduate from high school, but went on to do an MPhil in Biological Science, earned a doctorate from Yale and is now adjunct assistant professor of psychology at New York University.

He says: “I think gifted and talented programmes are essential if we wish to promote excellence in society, but we should open such programmes up to a wider range of minds and allow people multiple chances to qualify. I’m against damaging labels that imply that abilities are fixed. I’m all about promoting the key competencies that are necessary for anyone, regardless of their goal, to thrive in the real world.”

The book links back to Scott’s research at Cambridge, which aimed to come up with a new theory of human intelligence. It even contains a mention of his Gates Cambridge interview and how he told his interviewers that he wasn’t satisfied with current theories of intelligence.

Picture credit: smoked salmon and www.freedigitalphotos.net

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