Contrary to what many people think, a person’s intellectual capacity is not measurable. The intellectual quotient (IQ) measures abstract thinking, based exclusively on logic and mathematics, but not intellectual capacity, which includes memory, understanding of the phenomena that occur in the environment, creativity, cognitive development, decision-making, response to stress, control of emotions, etc. The new conceptions of intelligence are conditioned by the individual’s ability to adapt to the environment effectively, that is, to function successfully in the society in which he or she has to live.
Not always the smartest people from an IQ perspective are the best adapted to the variability and demands, for example, of a work environment. Sometimes it is the opposite and they fail miserably when they are removed from the environment in which they feel safe because of their abilities. And this means that for decades different attempts have been made to define intellectual capacity or intelligence.
One of them is the one advocated by the so-called G factor to which it assumes the control of all cognitive abilities in its role as the dominant intelligence factor. Other theories differentiate between fluid and crystallized intelligence. The first refers to the flexibility of thought and the capacity for abstract reasoning. The other, to the accumulation of knowledge and skills throughout life. We must also add what is called emotional intelligence and whose definition is to establish the influence of emotions on intellectual capacity.
Be that as it may, the truth is that at present there is no clear definition of intelligence that determines the qualities that a person must meet to be gifted, a term that is commonly used to define those who stand out for some extraordinary ability. However, there are different possible definitions, although the designations vary almost constantly:
- Gifted . It is the person who stands out in an exceptional way in different areas of knowledge.
- Gifted or of superior intelligence . It is one that has an IQ greater than 135.
- Precocious . This section includes children who show unusual intellectual development for their age, which does not imply that they are or become gifted.
- Prodigy . One who demonstrates an unusual capacity in a specific area of knowledge: music, painting, memory, etc.
- Brilliant . Define those who stand out in a context determined by their ability.
- Talent . He is a person who has superior performance in a specific field, be it intellectual, creative, sports, etc.
- Outstanding . They go outside the general norm, at one extreme or the other.
All these terms define various situations of intellectual capacity by elevation above the average or what is considered normal. But the truth is that it should be understood as a concept of potentiality, since education, both family and academic, is decisive to maintain and develop it, especially if it is implemented early. Not surprisingly, school failure is a problem that affects many gifted people, due to their inability to adapt to a general educational norm that neither stimulates nor stimulates the development of their abilities.