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Are Smart and Intelligent the same or different?

  1. Jun 16, 2018 #1


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    That's the question. Is smart the same as intelligent, or are they different?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 16, 2018 #2


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    I have always tried to make the distinction but it might be a bit blurred. Intelligence has additional degrees of freedom. Smart to my mind implies cleverness with knowledge while intelligence includes insight, and vision, doing the right thing. I think intelligence is more an intrinsic quality while smartness is more a developed quality. An intelligent person may not have the knowledge and may not be judged smart. And smart people do stupid things. So.
  4. Jun 17, 2018 #3
    As a high function autistic I have been called smart and/or intelligent because of an eidetic memory and high pattern recognition.
    Life choices and personal decision making strongly contradict that assessment.
    Folks with IQ test numbers half what mine test do a lot better in job placement, social status, and monetary reward for their labors.
    Just what is the definition of smart and intelligent? Achievement or potential?
    Have they more in common than differences?
  5. Jun 18, 2018 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    Smart answer: Yes.
    Intelligent answer: Maybe.
  6. Jun 18, 2018 #5

    Wrichik Basu

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    Smart and intelligent are completely different.

    If you're intelligent in some field, it means that you can use your brain in that field and do something new and innovative. (Solving sums, however tough, doesn't always measure intelligence; similarly, IQ tests cannot measure intelligence.) For example, both Einstein and Beethoven were intelligent in their respective fields. When a person is called "intelligent" in general, it indicates intelligence in his/her field of excellence.

    Smartness is an adjective for a person as a whole. Your dress, your behaviour and your character together determine whether you're smart. It is independent of intelligence. There are many people who are smart, but do not have any intelligence in any field (or in another way, have not been able to find the field in which they're intelligent). People who are not so smart, may be very intelligent.

    Nowadays, teachers advise to study "smarter" and not "harder". For example, a student who memorises sums from the textbook will get more priority than a student inventing something in that field. This happens at least in school, where intelligence is defined by marks. The first student is smart, the second is intelligent.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2018
  7. Jun 21, 2018 #6
    Intelligence is the quality of a being to be well informed and be smart in all the activities. On the other hand, a smart person is one who is clever and quick in thought and action.
  8. Jun 27, 2018 #7
    A distinction without a difference.

    Of course it depends on the definitions, but if we define it to be based on cognitive processes related to be highly skilled at abstract problem solving( pattern recognition or whatever) and also cognitively highly adaptive to the immediate environment, then I can't see why they can't be the same.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2018
  9. Jun 27, 2018 #8


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    Some members presented very thoughtful discussions. One reason that I asked is that "smart" and "intelligent" came from different language origins and therefore could correspond to different ways to identify whatever the concept was. In English, we have these two words. One of them came from Germanic origin and the other obviously from Latin-based origin.
  10. Jun 27, 2018 #9
    It feels like they are different concepts. In society, people use the word smart to mean being good at making wise, or clever, or at least self preserving (not impulsively stupid) decisions that does results in good or at least acceptable outcomes whereas being intelligent relates to some innate characteristic of having raw computational brain power or creativity/ ability to generate epiphanies. There are plenty of reasons why those with raw brain power might be held back in making wise decisions. I just feel the maximization of the probability of getting good results is ultimately what matters in defining whatever cognitive processes as being impressive.
  11. Jun 27, 2018 #10
    By my book 'intelligence' is about understanding, while 'smart' is more about application. While they are not completely different in concept, their area of usage is different.
  12. Jun 28, 2018 #11


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    Hey! THAT'S GOOD.
  13. Jun 28, 2018 #12


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    Ever heard the phrase of the mother to the teenager,
    " Don't get smart with me young lady!"
    ( "Don't get cute with me young lady! " )

    The word smart has more colloquial usage and meanings than the word intelligence.
    context is the thing.
  14. Jun 28, 2018 #13
    Smart Clever...just words really

    Smart where I am from can mean well dressed.

    Intelligence is more defined but certainly has grey areas also (not just matter)
  15. Jul 12, 2018 #14
    "just" words? Without words there would be no PF!

    "Intelligent" should be the first choice of a scientist to describe better than average cognitive skills. As others have pointed out, "smart" is more colloquial and might be used when the speaker wishes to be colorful rather than precise. A slapped face can "smart" without having anything to do with intelligence. A light bulb can be "bright" or "brilliant" without having any intelligence at all!

    As a wordsmith, I believe that no two words mean the same thing. The meanings will always be slightly different. And even the same word can have different meanings depending upon context or even upon who is using it. Finally, the same word will mean different things to different people or even different things to the same person at different times or under different circumstances.

    Actually, that is both the power and the beauty of language!
  16. Jul 12, 2018 #15
    Smart is having the information.

    Intelligence is knowing how to use it.
  17. Jul 12, 2018 #16


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    I'm not sure; but keep working on that one.
  18. Jul 13, 2018 #17


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    I would have said the opposite

    take Sheldon from Big Bang Theory he is very intelligent, knows physics to the nth degree
    But he doesn't have the smarts to use that intelligence/knowledge wisely when interacting with others
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
  19. Jul 13, 2018 #18


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    That points-up two different areas of intelligence.
  20. Jul 13, 2018 #19
    Also the ambiguity which is what I was getting at.
  21. Jul 13, 2018 #20
    A fair point, but I would say he lacks social intelligence.

    I have taken multiple IQ tests designed to measure your intelligence quotient. These tests are focused on your ability to deduce or induce the correct answer from a given puzzle. In school tests are geared towards how much knowledge you have retained for the book you have been studying. Having accumulated a significant amount of knowledge is often closely associated with being smart, but just because you have the information does not mean you have the ability to use. I believe intelligence is have the ability to use the knowledge you have gained in a practical application outside of the it was given to you.

    Best example I could come up with:

    Smart- knowing that on earth under normal circumstances when I throw an ordinary object up it will come down.

    Intelligence- figuring out how I can use this information to toss my lunch wrapper into the trash can across the room.

    I am attempting to show that intelligence is finding a way to use information you have. Analogies just aren’t my thing. :smile:
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