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Five ways to find out if someone is smarter than you (and why you need to know)

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According to a well-known story, Amos Tversky, the Israeli Nobel Prize winner who pioneered the scientific study of behavioral economics, was so freakishly smart that he inspired his academic colleagues to create an intelligence test based on him. What was the test? Simple: the sooner you realize that Tversky is smarter than you, the smarter you are. Actually, the test would only be simple for those who were smart enough to understand how smart Tversky was and rather difficult for everyone else. One of the fundamental features of competence is the ability to recognize not just one’s incompetence but also other people’s competence.

Human intelligence is just like height. Some people have more of it than others. However, variations in intelligence are much harder to detect than variations in height. The main reason for this is that, unlike height, intelligence is not always correctly understood. Some see it as people skills, others as success in life or as being book smart. This explains most of the disputes about whether one person is more intelligent than another. People are often referring to different attributes.

A second reason is that no matter how someone defines intelligence, the word itself is socially and emotionally loaded. Nobody wants to be told that they’re not as smart as someone else. This is why people have always resisted scientific attempts to measure intelligence, particularly when they don’t score highly on standardized tests. We are quite defensive about the possibility that we may not be as smart as........

© Fast Company