Why can't I increase my intelligence

interview : Intelligence grows through effort

Ms. Hannover, is intelligence a fixed quantity, in other words: innate and unchangeable?
No. It is by no means that mystical, God-given magnitude that it is often viewed as. What we understand by intelligence - the ability to adapt to new situations and benefit from experience - can of course be changed, at least to a certain extent. Because you come into the world with a certain, individual potential. How strongly this unfolds then depends on the environment. An example of this is language development: language distinguishes intelligent organisms. The ability to do this is inherent in human genes. The level of linguistic competence a child attains, however, depends on whether and how people speak in their environment. For example, if it grows up in isolation, its language potential remains largely unused. It is the same with the intelligence potential as a whole.
How big is the influence of genes, how big is that of the environment?
Science is still debating this controversially. However, previous studies indicate that genes make up around 60 percent of intelligence. The environment adds the rest. Regardless of whether this relationship is exactly right, the following applies: An intelligent being can only use its intelligence when there are opportunities to try it out: learning opportunities. Because everything a person can do he has to learn.

But learning can be quite exhausting.
That's right. Basically, learning has to be strenuous! Because with the development of intelligence it is like with sport: If I do exercises that do not exhaust me, I may maintain my fitness or my strength - but I cannot increase them by doing so. I only experience an increase in performance when I do exercises that make me exert myself. All offers that promise "learning while you sleep" or the like are therefore Kokolores, they simply don't work. If I don't have to exert myself on a task, I don't benefit from it. If I have to make an effort, it means that my intelligence is growing. Unfortunately, unlike in Asia, for example, exertion has a rather negative image in our culture, at least in the field of education: Here, high exertion is often equated with lower skills. Schoolchildren are often considered the coolest among school children who seemingly do nothing for school and still have good grades. These are possibly precisely those who are least exploiting their potential.
How do I get someone to make an effort to learn something - a student or myself?
In general it can be said: people like to learn. Out of curiosity and a striving for autonomy and competence, they like to develop new areas and new skills. Learning works particularly well when you do it for yourself. So not for a teacher or a parent who stands behind you in a warning and threatening way. But when learning is self-directed: when it comes to pursuing and achieving self-set goals. Then people put up with greater efforts for it. It is important to awaken this inner ambition - and then to provide support.

The full interview can be found in the magazine for medicine and health in Berlin: "Tagesspiegel Gesund - Berlin's doctors for the brain and nerves".

Further topics of the edition: Fact check. Exciting information about the brain. What is intelligence About everyday skills, situational cunning and personality traits. Networked.What happens in our brain when we learn something new? Stay smart while playing. Wide awake into old age. Streamlines. Neurologists use electroencephalography to make brain waves visible - but what do the curves mean? The Stroke Mobile. Quick help in the event of a stroke: a hospital on four wheels. Doctor's letter. How to recognize and treat strokes. Stroke rehab. After a cerebral infarction, the thinking organ has to reorganize. Long-term rehab.Relearn everyday life. Signal interference.Relieve tremors, cramps and stiff muscles - how brain pacemakers help against Parkinson's. Harbinger sleep disorder. A REM sleep behavior disorder indicates Parkinson's - and opens up new therapeutic approaches for medical professionals. On your own two feet. Multiple sclerosis doesn't have to end in a wheelchair. BSE goodbye? Did the danger begin? what happened to the mad cow epidemic? Thunderstorm in the brain. What helps with epilepsy. Furious pain. A cluster headache patient reports of perplexed doctors and incomprehensible fellow human beings. Hangover - without alcohol. Where the migraine attacks come from and what helps against the headache. Little bloodsuckers. Ticks are on the rise - and transmit dangerous pathogens. Lyme disease and TBE. How to recognize and treat tick diseases. Also: A comparison of clinics and rehabilitation centers."Tagesspiegel Gesund" - Now in our shop

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