25

Aug

The link between intelligence and goals


I am always intrigued by the subject of intelligence and many scientists try to measure this by experimenting with animals and birds. One such example, included an experiment with a species of bird, the Caledonian crow. Here the bird is subjected to various devices that tackles their cognitive abilities in order to get a rewards such as a worm for a treat. To most humans, the contraption would take several minutes before it could be solved and apparently some of these birds were able to solve the problem without making a single mistake. You can read this very interesting story below..

 

Caledonian birds using tools

 

The question then arises, could intelligence be measured by the time someone takes to understand and solve a problem?
Does our attitude towards how we look at the world around us define our intelligence – could this also offer some clues to the mind?
A baby simply observes the world around them in the first few months with just a few simple survival techniques ie. crying eg. for attention or for food. I have observed my own daughter to simply just observe intently and then engage with objects when she is able to.
Could our idea of intelligence be measured by the sum of our experience or what actual perceptions we have when we observe events, problems etc.
For the Caledonian bird the goal is to get the treat by solving the problem of getting a stick to open up the boxes. Further problems are solved with relative ease.

 

What is our motivation for doing something – is it the actual drive to accomplish a goal and if that goal is important to us. This is important to the Caledonian bird as depicted in the TV program ‘Nova Inside Animal Minds’. Towards the end of the program, they compare dogs which fail to solve the problem. But this is flawed in my opinion because there is no desirable ‘end goal’ for the dog. It seems that the desire to accomplish something so challenging or great requires an end goal for it to succeed. For the Caledonian bird, the ‘treat’ is a highly motivational force to go about finding ways to solve the problem.

 

Understandably, do we as humans need a similar kind of motivation to propel us to go forward beyond anyone and anything else. I think this entirely stems from our own inner desires and perception of ‘how we feel’ once we have reached our goal. This could be in the form of acquisition of much money, greater desire to be recognized in the community, or a deep satisfaction of having accomplished something new. We could then argue that intelligence is an artifact of the course of path we undertake to fulfill our goals from within our desires.



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