The Positive Manifold is Annoying

Scott Barry Kaufman, an accomplished cognitive scientist who began his academic career as a special ed student relegated to the resource room, explains in his book Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined, The Truth About Talent, Practice, Creativity, and the Many Paths to Greatness that smart people (typical smart people, not savants or people higher on the autism spectrum) tend to be smart in all subjects, and do well on an entire battery of cognitive tests-- there is a positive correlation between succeeding in French class and being able to do Calculus, between discerning musical pitch and mentally rotating objects . . . and this seems unfair, that the intellectually rich get richer, but what pioneering cognitive psychologist Charles Spearman called "the indifference of the indicator" has now become a psychological law . . . the positive manifold always correlates and though you'd expect "that the more time a student puts into one area of study, the more performance in another suffers" this isn't the case; students who do well in one particular subject tend to perform well in other subjects (and this does not preclude them from being athletic, as kinesthetic sense also positively correlates, so you might not be able to beat them up to punish them for their superior academic performance).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

not true. I know more than a few excellent programmers that are dyslectic to the bone. These two are very common, too common to ignore.

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