I was cruising Quora recently and came across this interesting question:

How does one determine the level of intelligence of a person based solely on conversation?

With my media background, I’m always interested in finding ways to dig in someone’s mind, unearth their thoughts, and put those thoughts together in a way that does justice to who they truly are.

So, I couldn’t resist talking a crack at answering this question. Here it goes…

You might be able to measure someone’s knowledge in your fields of expertiese but you have no ability to measure someone’s raw intelligence.

However, by asking the right kind of questions, you can get a subjective sense of three important ingredients in many intelligences:

1) Their ability to identify and predict patterns.
2) Their ability to self-reflect.
3) Their ability to apply their existing knowledge to novel problems and situations.

Asking questions like:

Where do you think your field is headed in the next 5 years? How do you think your friends would describe you to a stranger? If you received a grant to work on any project you could, what would you work on?

In other words, measuring intelligence is not measuring the size of their mental library of facts. Measuring intelligence is roughly gauging their ability to speculate, theorize, and strategize.

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Posted by Wildman

Husband. Dad. Pastor. I like to capture moments, pull their threads, and see what unravels. Lead well, read well, think well. And grace. Lots of grace.

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