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The Emperor, the Cannibal, and Inquiry
If you’ve seen the movie Gladiator with Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix you may remember that the first act is set at the Battle of Vindobona in the forests around the Danube River, where the Emperor (and Stoic Philosopher) Marcus Aurelius has just defeated the Germanic horde.  Marcus Aurelius did die in Vindobona in the year 180. It dramatically interprets what was a real historical event.
In the Meditationsof the same Marcus Aurelius, which he wrote as personal journals throughout the last 20 years of his life, he describes, as a methodology of inquiry and  examination:  “This thing, what is it in itself, in its own constitution?  What is its substance and material? And what is its form? And what is it doing in this world. And how long does it subsist?” ( Book 8 chapter 11)
It is, many years after Aristotle but long before Francis Bacon and the modern scientific method, an effort to describe a process in how he might examine new things, a mode…

Cognition

Cognition
The terms cognition and cognitive are used a lot in our profession but both words lack a truly clean and precise definition. 
The terms originate from the Latin cognoscere which means ‘get to know’ and it is the blanket term for all of the mental and intellectual processes and concepts of concrete and abstract processing which have to do with learned knowledge, abstract reasoning, perception, judgment, memory, processing, reasoning and logical construction of thought within the human mind. It is not how much you have learned, nor is it your IQ. It is perhaps best described as the processes at work in your brain when you are “thinking” and using cognitive tasks, which are those those mental actions that, when working together, represent the level of your cognitive ability. But there is also good evidence that the processes of learning (just like everything else) result in outcomes which are actually very much influenced by the strategies which are utilized by the learner. In ma…

Basics of Intelligence, part 2

Basics of Intelligence, part 2 Heritability of IQ In some circles it is controversial to state this, but, like every single biological trait, the range of potential IQ is inherited. However, like many things which are inherited traits, it is also impacted by environment. Many studies find that heritability, once the offspring is through adolescence, accounts for about 80% of adult IQ, which roughly correlates to the heritability of height. So one of the best ways to think about the how IQ works with our students is to use height as an analogy: 1. A potential for height is determined by genetics and a person will not get taller than a genetically predetermined limit to his or her height. 2. That potential height is then reduced by environmental factors such as fetal stress, malnutrition, lack of exercise, lack of sleep, exposure to disease, neglect, and a home environment without physical stimulus. 3. At some point in late adolescence, a person will stop getting taller, and will not grow…