Monday, January 23, 2012

Talent Matters! Good News or Bad?

Neuroscience is hitting the op-ed pages of newspapers and feature sections of magazines with increasing frequency. "Sorry, Strivers: Talent Matters" is the title of a Nov. 2011 NY Times article opposing the theory that hard work beats smarts and practice does make perfect. Malcolm Gladwell, pop-psychologizing K. Anders Ericsson's research results, implies that we are all capable of dramatic achievement if we just take the time to practice, with the help of an encouraging mentor, coach, tutor.

The authors of  "Sorry Strivers . . . " heartily disagree.  Researchers Hambrick and Meinz insist that intellectual ability is in fact the only, the real, and true path to extraordinary accomplishment. "A high level of intellectual ability gives you an enormous real world ability." Not that practice isn't useful for all, smart or not, but the smarties have a head start — pun intended. The last few sentences of their article emphasize that IQ is king, but also say it is " . . . not impossible for a person with an average I.Q. to, say, earn a Ph.D. in physics. It's just unlikely, relatively speaking. Sometimes the story that science tells us isn't the story we want to hear."

 Psychology and neuroscience findings can seem at odds with each other and even within their individual discipline. E.g. Is intellectual ability really a stable characteristic across the life span as Hambrick and Meinz assert? But — wait a minute. Other recent research says we can continue to raise our IQ throughout our entire life. The discovered neuroplasticity of the brain makes anything possible is the latest hype. Brain gymnastics, learn intuitive plus rational thinking, study a foreign language, play chess or duplicate bridge, talk through problem solving out loud all can make you brighter some say! I guess that' s the story I prefer to hear.
Talent Matters! Good News or Bad?SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

No comments:

Post a Comment

Tell me what you think!