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Old 12-21-2016, 02:00 PM
md2000 md2000 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 14,194
Originally Posted by photodiver View Post
In addition to the potential to be smart on the genetic level, you also need to have the potential to use those IQ points, both on the genetic level and environmental level. We all appreciate that a child born in Mogadishu, with poor parents, may never even learn to read, much less live up to his/her full potential. On the flip side of the coin, we can appreciate the movie "A Beautiful Mind" but for the most part a schizophrenic with an IQ of 160 is never going to be allowed to be a professor at MIT. On a less extreme level, I'm sure we all know someone who was sailing through school at the top of the class until they hit puberty and discovered (a) their penis and/or (b) drugs. What's your IQ when you sell your slide rule for a tab of oxycodone?
Did oxycodone even exist when people typically used slide rules?

I remember going to a job fair in Toronto where one student asked one of the HR execs (Esso Canada, IIRC) how important were marks for success? The guy said they did an informal survey of most of the top executives and none were outstanding at the top of their class. There are plenty of stories of "brilliant" people who were hopeless at other mundane tasks. being a successful executive probably calls on skills that are not typical parts of the college curriculum - office politics, organizing, managing personnel, project management. More general smarts can't hurt, but the top people at Fortune 500 aren't up there because of their engineering or math skills.

The same might be said of imagination or math skills or any other challenge. Many of my classmates were far better than me at remembering and regurgitating data on tests, but given a practical application problem, were lost.

But on the physical level - your brain is an organized jumble of interconnected neurons. The connections (synapses?) are more efficient connectors when trained, and various activities and pastimes train our brains to do certain tasks. So how good our brain cells are is a matter of genetics and random and environmental development. repetitive training can make people better at certain tasks, but if the layout of neurons due to genes or development makes a person predisposed to be able to do those tasks - then they are "smarter" at them.

Some personality traits - curiosity, determination, fascination with certain topics, taste - all contribute to the motivation to practice. However, what builds those traits is open to debate too.