May 18, 2013

"I'd like to be able to say to myself, and believe it, that I lived a good life"

"What am I living for? What is the purpose of living on? What do I want to do with the time I have left? That kind of stuff. I'd like to be able to... I don't know whether I'll have the opportunity or not... to say on my deathbed (this picture of one dying, surrounded by friends and family...who knows? It may never happen that way). I'd like to be able to say I had a good life. And what's the definition of a good life? I made some difference. That's it. If I could just say that. I've made some difference because I've been here in this world. Life is a little bit better and I contributed to that. I think that would be a good life. I'm getting tearful about that because I think it's really important. I'd like to be able to say that to myself, and believe it, that I lived a good life. I don't know if I'm going to do that or not. We'll see."


May 7, 2013

Intelligence is not one-dimensional - forget about IQ

Fractionating Human Intelligence
By Adam Hampshire, Roger Highfield, Beth Parkin, & Adrian Owen

Abstract: What makes one person more intellectually able than another? Can the entire distribution of human intelligence be accounted for by just one general factor? Is intelligence supported by a single neural system? Here, we provide a perspective on human intelligence that takes into account how general abilities or “factors” reflect the functional organization of the brain. By comparing factor models of individual differences in performance with factor models of brain functional organization, we demonstrate that different components of intelligence have their analogs in distinct brain networks. Using simulations based on neuroimaging data, we show that the higher-order factor “g” is accounted for by cognitive tasks corecruiting multiple networks. Finally, we confirm the independence of these components of intelligence by dissociating them using questionnaire variables. We propose that intelligence is an emergent property of anatomically distinct cognitive systems, each of which has its own capacity.

Highlights: ► We propose that human intelligence is composed of multiple independent components ► Each behavioral component is associated with a distinct functional brain network ► The higher-order “g” factor is an artifact of tasks recruiting multiple networks ► The components of intelligence dissociate when correlated with demographic variables

Read more: Scientists Debunk the IQ Myth: Notion of Measuring One's Intelligence Quotient by Singular, Standardized Test Is Highly Misleading

May 1, 2013

More choice is not necessarily better

Research into self-determination theory has shown there is a strong connection between the degree to which people feel they can make their own choices and follow their own preferences and their well-being en healthy functioning.  Researchers argue that supporting autonomy of individuals is therefore a good thing (see for example here, here, and here).

The solution-focused approach also emphasizes individuals' agency and freedom of choice. In the solution-focused approach therapists and coaches help clients define their own preferred future and help them choose steps forward. Also, as much as possible clients' preferences are followed in the way therapist/coaches and clients work together. When clients are not self-motivated for therapy or coaching the therapist of coach deliberately emphasizes client-choice (see this article for why that is and how it works).

While more choice is generally a good thing a closer look shows a more nuanced picture. Both within self-determination theory and in solution-focused therapy and coaching it is recognized that autonomy and freedom of choice is limited. For instance, this article describes how to combine structure with autonomy. Also it is recognized that not every type of choice is good for a person and that a rethoric of freedom does not by definition result in more freedom.

The video below shows an even more detailed picture of the effects of increasing choice. Barry Schwartz explains that increasing choice by adding options can make us worse off for two reasons. A first disavantage of offering more choice is paralysis: we can become stressful and feel unable to choose. A second disadvantage is that when we have chosen we can feel less satisfied because we have chosen from a large set of options. Even when we feel we have chosen the best option we tend to keep on thinking about all the other wonderful options we have said no to.

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