Executive Intelligence - Characteristics
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Psychologists understand intelligence as much more than IQ. They identify it with an individual’s ability to adapt to their environment. Executive intelligence is the ability to know how to make decisions and curb impulses. The ability to reflect on what we feel and think. This means knowing how to plan our actions and direct our attention.
Studying this type of intelligence in the physiological plane makes one focus on the frontal lobe. Especially in the prefrontal cortex, the one responsible for impulse control and decision-making.
When looking for information on the biological basis of executive intelligence, you’ll most likely find the term “executive functions”. This is because executive intelligence is a separate field of study: every skill and every function . This is why scientific articles usually talk about executive functions - not about intelligence. However, the term executive intelligence is correct; it refers to the use of all functions as a whole.
Self-control is one of the main components of executive intelligence. Self-control is one of the main components of executive intelligence. The frontal lobe is responsible for regulating our many behaviors; for assessing the possible consequences of our actions and deciding what to do in each situation. The weight of education and cultural pressure rests with the frontal lobe and is part of executive intelligence.
The regulation of our behavior is part of executive intelligence. This type of intelligence is about the ability to know when to act and when to simply do nothing. It's about the ability to control our impulses. That is why one way to attain this type of skill is to make it a point to gain self-control.
Why is the working memory part of executive intelligence? Our working memory allows us to establish relationships between different elements and we make decisions based on them. Thus, working memory is what allows us to integrate information, to reason, and to reach conclusions after processing information from different sources. One way to boost your working memory is by performing mental calculations.
Working memory is the type of memory we use to develop reasoning; to remember things in the very short term. It’s what allows us to develop action plans and make decisions. Let’s say it’s the type of memory we call a processor, or CPU, on a computer. Working memory allows us to manage a large quantity of information in a short amount of time. We can put everything together in order to assess what to do, how we feel, and what’s the next step to take.
Being able to make decisions in a thoughtful manner in the shortest possible time is part of executive intelligence. An intelligent decision-making process values the pros and cons of each possibility. The decision-making process we carry out from executive intelligence implies a great capacity to consider a scenario beyond reality and mentally consider all the various possible scenarios.
Planning skills are another component of executive intelligence. Executive intelligence is responsible for devising plans and strategies to achieve goals through planning.
A properly developed executive intelligence allows you to adjust your ideas to the changes you experience in your reality. A change in opinion is a sign of cognitive flexibility. It allows you to adapt your thoughts or plans to the circumstances of a given moment. Being flexible at the cognitive level has to do with a greater capacity to manage frustration.
Highly intelligent people, at the executive level, have a greater ability to adapt to adversity. It’s all due to their cognitive flexibility . If they have a plan and things don’t go as expected, they keep the goal but change the plan.
This component of executive intelligence is perhaps what makes you human. Abstract reasoning is what allows you to work on your emotions, feelings, doubts, fears, and other psychological aspects. You can think in abstract terms about “things” that don’t exist in the physical world but in the mental or emotional one. You can also think about what you think (metacognition). Abstract reasoning is what helps you feel that your existence is worth it. Without the capacity for abstract reasoning, you would have an excessively pragmatic and meaningless life.
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