Memory: The Shortcut to Intelligence?

How does one define that which makes one person smarter than another? That which makes one person more intelligent? For instance, some of my peers consider me a fairly smart guy; however, I am by no means “smarter” than many of my peers. Compared to some of my peers, I am just,well, mediocre…when it comes to getting the academic grades anyway. But, what about when it comes to spatial intelligence or webpage design? Well, heck, I can hang with the best of them. So, what if I combine my designing intelligence with my mediocre-grade knowledge of medicine and come up with an awesome, massive telemedicine company? Then, what if my telemedicine company, and the software I design to use with it, blows up and I become a multi-millionaire? Now, people would probably consider me smarter than all of my peers together with which I graduated.

This above scenario proves several things about the way we perceive intelligence. There are several fallacies in the above scenario that usually go unnoticed. Let’s explore these fallacies first before we begin speaking about the benefits of memory:

Fallacy #1:We mistake academic intelligence to be the only indicator of “smartness”

Academic intelligence is, in a nutshell, what we test for at school. Now, there are two types of memory like this – recall and recognition. Recall memory is the hardest of the two, for it requires the student (in keeping with the scenario in this example) to “recall” the answer from memory. Think “fill-in-the-blank” type tests for this example.  Recognition academic memory, on the other hand, would be more akin to multiple choice-type questions. In this case, one is merely selecting the right answer out of a slew of possible choices. Both of these types of academic intelligences, however, are merely tests of one’s memory!

What if you could remember EVERYTHING your teacher ever told you, and EVERYTHING you ever read from the beginning of the semester until the end? By golly, then you would be considered the “smartest” person in the class! All you would have to do is either “fill in” the correct answers, write the correct keywords, phrases and contexts in the essays, or select the correct answers. Therefore, academic intelligences of this type that we test for in school systems rely heavily and mainly on memorization skills. Therefore, if one increases his or her memory, then one increases his or her academic intelligence. Sort of… you see, there are exceptions to this. Classes like mathematics, literature interpretation, etc. test other types of academic intelligences.

Fallacy #2:We mistake success with intelligence

Often we think of successful people as being intelligent. This is a horrible correlation to make! Some people become successful by luck, some one-time “stroke” of genuity for an idea, or by marriage, inheritance, windfall, etc. None of these has to do with a single once of intelligence. To make things much worse, sometimes a person like Steve Jobs excels in life by combining talents – in his case, his artistic ability of calligraphy along with his computer knowledge (or that of Steve Woznik’s) to create an enormous idea. Was he very smart? You betcha! He networked two ideas, was a sales-pitch artist, and utilized unbelievable business skills that most of us could never dream of having. But, was he academically intelligent? Not compared to a typical MBA graduate of Harvard. Heck, Steve Jobs never finished college; therefore, we would be comparing apples to oranges. He was simply smart in the area of applied computer knowledge that he needed to know, and he was smart in other areas. Now, this is not to say that he was DEFINITELY not smart in literature or science, but it was not proven by academic tests. Therefore, we could not say at all that he was smarter academically than a Harvard MBA graduate.

Fallacy #3: We forget that multiple types of intelligence exist

Howard Gardner, prominent twentieth century developmental psychologist, came up with an original list of 8 intelligences that he later expanded to a possible nine. The nine are: 1. musical – rhythmic 2. visual – spatial 3. verbal – linguistic 4. logical – mathematical 5. bodily – kinesthetic 6. interpersonal 7. intrapersonal 8. naturalistic 9. existential/moral intelligence

A sports player would have bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, but a musician would portray musical-rhythmic intelligence. What do we get from all of this in this blog? I hope that you are now able to make the following connections:

1. Many types of intelligence exist (i.e. Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory)

2. In school, we typically test for recall or recognition academic intelligence

3. Recall and recognition intelligence is merely memory retention

4. If one improves his or her memory, then one improves his or her recall and recognition tests performance(s)

5. We typically (albeit wrongly) base a person’s “smartness” or intelligence upon his/her academic test performance

6. Thus, if one improves his/her memory, one improves his/her test scores, and one thereby improves how smart he/she is perceived to be

7. So, here is the kicker…the BIG PICTURE:

Instead of working for hours on end studying by reading and re-reading the same page or listening over and over to that one lecture…simply improve your memory skills. This is the shortcut that I have found that has boosted my grades and slashed by studying time exponentially. Take some time to work on improving your memory every day and you will then study less but have better test results, and ultimately…better TEST GRADES!!! Contact me for more info. Thanks!



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