Sunday, April 08, 2012

Fish in Trees

I assume many people have seen the Einstein quote about fish climbing trees meme. Well, here's an amusing little feature from The Onion that reminded me of it. According to the (hoax) story, scientists have found that dolphins perform less well in a variety of intelligence tests on land and in fact even exhibit a negative learning curve! Yes, I know dolphins aren't actually fish. Still, in conjunction perhaps these two pieces remind us that a lot of what we consider 'intelligence' is really contextual and that someone who performs well in one set of conditions may not do so well had certain features of their environment been different. The kind of lesson situationist psychology has been teaching, to say nothing of quasi-Rawlsian scepticism about talent and desert.

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