So I've always had the intuitive hypothesis that there are different types of intelligence; that different people tend to process information in different ways, whether due to habit or nature.also btw To Make Mice Smarter, Add A Few Human Brain Cells (previously)
But then there are all those people who say that intelligence can be boiled down to a single factor, the mysterious "g" (which I assume stands for either "general intelligence" or "gangsta"). Since this went against years of casual observation, I was somewhat pleased to see the eminent Cosma Shalizi write an essay debunking the notion of "g". But then I saw this blog post defending the notion of "g", and claiming that Shalizi makes a bunch of errors. Basically, the disagreement revolves around the question of why most or all psychometric tests and tasks seem positively correlated with each other. Shalizi points out that this correlation structure will naturally lead to the emergence of a "g"-like factor, even if one doesn't really exist; his opponent points out that if no "g" exists, it should be possible to design uncorrelated psychometric tests, which so far has proven extremely difficult to do.
The latter post, by a pseudonymous blogger calling himself "Dalliard", contains a bunch of references to psychometric research that I don't know about and have neither the time nor the will to evaluate, so I'm a bit stumped. Normally I'd leave the matter at that, shrug, and go read something else, but I realized that my intuitive hypothesis about intelligence didn't really seem to be explicitly stated in either of the posts. So I thought I'd explain my conjecture about how intelligence works.
In a nutshell, it's this: What if there are multiple "g's"? ...just imagine several dozen hyperplanes, and project them all onto one hyperplane... Remember that psychometric tests are simple mental tasks, but most of the mental tasks we do are complex, like computer programming or chess or writing. And for those tasks, learning and practice matter as much as innate skill, or more (for example, see this study about the neurology of chess players). Therefore, everyone can be "smart" in some way, if "smart" means "good at some complex mental task".
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