From Einstein to Sabrina (What could we be missing)?

To this day, there is still great debate regarding what defines intelligence and how we can measure it. Without a clear and definite definition of what it is, it follows that actually measuring it will prove to be a very difficult prospect. Nonetheless, there is a continuously growing demand for psychometric assessments to predict one’s behaviour and likely performance, and with varying success, these assessments have been proven to assist in predicting these factors. However, what could we possibly be missing, are there avenues that we have not explored that would open up a whole new world of possibilities.

Neuropsychology is a relatively new branch of psychology, it has been defined as a sub-specialty of clinical psychology that specializes in the assessment and treatment of patients with brain injury or disease. However there are a variety of other possibilities that this branch of psychology could introduce. With its inception we have opened new opportunities into the understanding of human behaviour and brain functioning. This in turn could have vast implications for psychometric testing, the world of work and even how we interpret the world around us. It is possible that by having a better understanding of the brain and how it influences our behaviour we would better be able to understand intelligence, how it can be measured and/or better utilised to increase functionality and performance. If we can understand each individual from their own perspective, we could tap into how they view the world and thus make use of their strengths, rather than apply a one size fit all blanket to all individuals i.e. testing a certain ‘intelligence’ and making predications on an individual’s likely success based on this.

Einstein is considered the most influential physicist of the 20th century. Yet he faced difficulty being able to express himself eloquently as a child, leading some of his teachers to believe that he may have been cognitively underdeveloped. In addition, his first attempt to get into FIT (Institute of Technology) was denied as he failed the entrance exam. What a different world we would be facing, had Einstein been defeated by the external measures of his intelligence. Had his teachers been able to explore Einstein’s mind at that point they may have realised earlier on that he had a brilliant mind, it just worked differently to what was considered the norm. It is said that Einstein was very poor at languages and this lead him to develop the habit of thinking in images rather than words (This can be compared to how some people with hearing disabilities process language). By understanding the strengths of all individuals, and thus understanding each individuals unique functioning, we could potentially explore various different facets of intelligence and perhaps open up various pathways to success that we have never even imagined before.

Today innovation and viewing things differently are increasingly becoming more important and celebrated. Sabrina Pasterski the now-22-year-old is being held up as the “new Einstein”, a young woman whose brain works in ways few have ever worked and whose future is limitless. If we are celebrating people like Sabrina because of how differently their brains function, should we not be able to explore the brain better to understand all the various possible functionalities of such a complex organ. It is enthralling and exhilarating to think that perhaps in the not too far future we will view human behaviour and intelligence in a whole new light: what possibilities.