Intelligence vs. Attention

Intelligence vs. Attention of Students

They are so closely related that often we don’t think of them separately; yet they’re separate entities. Let’s take an example. Intelligence is an ability whereas Attention is the fuel that is required for the ability to be used. For example, a car with great speed, stability and other abilities has a very small fuel tank and a low mileage. This means no matter how fast the car can actually go, the car is literally useless as you cannot keep refueling it every 3 miles. When someone looks at the car, they will judge that it is probably useless and has no capabilities. But, the car has tremendous capability. What it is lacking is the fuel. Similarly, there are many students who are tremendously intelligent in terms of capability and potential, but what they lack is attention and that causes them to not perform consistently.

Often, we tend to always think everything is associated with intelligence. If a student does well in exams, we say he is an intelligent student. Not necessarily true. The student’s intelligence need not be out of this world, but maybe the student has extra attention. A student with high sustained levels of attention will automatically do much better than a student with high intelligence but very low levels of attention. Attention is a behavior that the brain applies and we understand the importance of it more now than previously. Initially, attention is thought of as a low ability form of intelligence and intelligence itself as a high ability form. But, recent research in the past decade especially with ADHD students has revealed that there seems to be some offset between intelligence and attention. While the discrimination is independent, there is also some dependency in some students between high intelligence and low attention spans and vice-versa.

Students and parents should therefore be aware of both these factors that enable the right effectiveness. Intelligence is not everything that we should be acutely aware of. Long spans of attention help in discipline and conscientiousness, and therefore the students will do better because they can study for longer periods and without any shift. There are natural foods that are known to often improve attention spans for students. For example, blueberries, fatty fish, eggs, coffee, green vegetables, and pumpkin seeds are excellent brain food that improves our attention span. 

In the modern world, we have a lot of distractions continuously taking our attention away. There is a lot of noise from various devices, social media, news, and more eyeballs. We constantly burn out our attention. So, refilling attention is an important aspect of our day to day management. 

Remember, it is not just about Intelligence. It is also a lot about Attention.

Hope this is useful, thank you.

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