Thursday, September 14, 2006

IQ, Training and Time

Many may state, if it is very difficult to extract the cognitive algorithm of a high-IQ individual then for all practical purposes it is not possible to emulate their thinking, hence IQ amplification or enhancement is not possible.

Though one may not be able to extract the exact cognitive algorithm of a high IQ individual, there are many properties of problem solving that are general to any cognitive algorithm. In fact an entire field of study is dedicated to this, it is called heuristics.

Others may state anecdotal evidence demostrating that such enhancement is nearly impossible. The key thing about my argument is that if one is a strict materialist, meaning that only material objects may affect other material objects, then one is forced to conclude that if the mind arises from the processes in our brains, and our brains are physical machines then our minds are machines as well, as such one may be able to emulate it in principle.

Since obtaining the algorithm is very difficult our only option is to instead learn the general problem solving techniques general to any cognitive algorithm. Therein lies the difficultly, because to master a technique requires time and the more time you spend mastering it the better you get, hence a person who has spent nearly their entire life solving problems and mastering problem solving techniques will have a tremendous lead on someone just learning problem solving techniques. As such the ability of the novice to solve problems, even after they have trained, will be much less than the ability of someone who has trained their entire life. This is why it is so easy for people to solve problems in adulthood, if they have practiced solving problems and mastered problem solving techniques in childhood.

This of course does not downplay natural ability, because not all native cognitive algorithms are equal, there are people who's native cognitive algorithm is better geared to solving problems, hence they will have an advantage, these people are known as gifted. One can close the gap with proper training and practice, in addition one can emulate the "gifted" algorithm though it might take more time to solve a problem. These advantages really only make a difference at the highest levels of a field, similar to sports.

Yet, simply because one's native cognitive algorithm is optimized to solving problems and understanding concepts within a certain paradigm, it does not necessarily follow that the algorithm is optimized to create new paradigms. This is why despite the abundance of brilliant and gifted individuals working in a field, new ideas and paradigms are rare.

John G.


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