Friday, February 8, 2019

On intelligence

Learning about design principles, albeit an oversimplification of them, helped me to broaden my definition of "intelligence."

Human Brain from _DJ_ on Flickr

Mental models

If someone doesn't know how something works, it's possible that they've simply retained a different mental model of how a system works. For example, if someone can't figure out how a particular faucet works, it's likely that they've been operating an entirely different kind for most of their lives. It's not a lack of intelligence as much as it is a lack of experience and poor design on behalf of the faucet designer.

Interaction Design Foundation

Emotional design

Products and systems can have a strong influence on our perspectives and thoughts. Think state-run media and today, products that strongly incorporate emotional design (like social media). Don Norman emphasizes the importance of reflective processing in design. That involves tapping into users' visceral and behavioral experiences in creating a product. Products are increasingly designed to use our behaviors and attitudes to get us to think or feel a certain way, so we can attribute a lot of personal beliefs and behaviors to our daily interactions in our environment.

Furthermore, emotional intelligence speaks to the ability to transcend manufactured preconceptions through empathy and tolerance, but not everyone has the fortune to have grown up open-minded. James Flynn incorporates a historical perspective into intelligence. He claims that the average IQ rose from 70 in the 1900s to 100 today. Nowadays people are "smarter" because they are able to form logical thoughts from abstractions, or think in the hypothetical, he also says. People of the 20th century primarily analyzed the world in terms of how much it would benefit them and established their personal values and priorities accordingly. This lends to the idea that intelligence is a highly malleable social construct.

James Flynn's TED Talk

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