TED Conversations

Jun Park

Student ,

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What does it mean to be "smart"?

What does it mean to be smart? What are the common characteristics of people that are considered to be smart, intellectual, etc?

Can it be quantified in a mere Intellectual Quotient or a grade percentage? Should there be other methods to quantify it, or should it be quantified at all?

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  • Jul 2 2011: Some common characteristics I've come across are: creativity, open-mindedness, being "quick-witted", curiosity and the desire for new experiences. There are so many more, but those are the ones that stick out to me.

    I tend to believe intelligence is quantifiable and can be simplified down to a score that is comparative. The question is whether or not we have the technology and the knowledge to do so, as of yet... and I lean towards "no". It gets a bit tricky when trying to determine how to factor in one's EQ and other complex facets of intelligence into the overall IQ.
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    Jul 30 2011: The person who can persuade others for his or her personal interest is smart person who can overcome his her personal feelings!
  • Jul 22 2011: Being "smart" is knowing you are not "smart".
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    Jul 21 2011: One can be considered wise when he's capable to temper his knowledge with compassion.
    In other words, to be able to interlink reason with intuiton and vice versa.
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    Jul 15 2011: From a psychological point of view:
    Intelligence is well tested and measured and researched.

    It is a broad and raw measure of your knowledge, processing speed, and different aspects of reasoning, ability to learn,...

    I like these definitions:
    "the capacity to acquire capacity " (H. Woodrow)
    "Intelligence is what intelligence tests measure." (Edward Boring)

    I think measuring anything is useful, so intelligence or smartness can and should be measured too.

    That does not mean that what you want it to be is measured...
    and it does not mean that the measurement is necessarily a good measurement.

    As to come to your question:
    What does it mean to be smart?
    It depends... but I think it has to do with your knowledge of the world (explicit and implicit) and how you use it to further your goals.

    This definition implies that smartness should be measured differently according to what an individuals goals are...
    To measure this, one should first try and find out what a person's goals are (through observation, survey,...) and then compare it to different people with similar goals.

    That would imply a multi-level approach, and would mean that what is smart for one person is not necessarily smart for another one.

    I do claim that, on average, you will find a correlation with (currently measured) intelligence: people who know more and are able to reason more clearly are probably smarter.
    I do claim that practical behavior (working hard) would have a correlation too.
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    Jul 15 2011: Does smart implied intellectual?
    People can be smart, not necessarily develop a intellectual attitude.
    Maybe it can be the capacity to question the things he or she experience in daily life circumstances, and from that questioning, develop a better way to resolve and create solutions to improve life.
    Best.
    Heberto Peterson
  • Jul 12 2011: broad minded people with high IQ n extrovert in nature...
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    Jul 4 2011: To solve.
    *shrug*
  • Jul 3 2011: It means you went to U of T. Lol.
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    Jul 2 2011: Informed , open people with a bit of EQ