Rocket scientists, brain surgeons aren’t necessarily smarter: research

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Rocket scientists and brain surgeons are not necessarily smarter than the general population, a new UK study has found, challenging long-held assumptions about these professions.

The phrases “it’s not rocket science” and “it’s not brain surgery” are often used to describe tasks that can be easily performed, compared with the high-level intelligence required to do those jobs.

However, a research published Monday in the BMJ sought to finally end the debate over whether rocket scientists or brain engineers are smarter.

It asked study participants to complete the “Great Britain Test of Intelligence” by artificial intelligence platform Cognitron, seeing how both groups of experts rated on cognitive dimensions, including planning and reasoning abilities, working memory, attention, and emotional processing.

The study used results from 329 aerospace engineers and 72 neurosurgeons worldwide, comparing them with scores from more than 18,000 Britons who had previously completed the test.

The study’s authors said there was “no significant difference” in how aerospace engineers score across any field compared to the UK’s general population. Meanwhile, neurosurgeons showed only faster problem solving and slower memory recall, compared with the broader population.

In fact, 90% of Britons scored above average on at least one aspect of intelligence, which the study’s authors said illustrates “the importance of studying the many areas that make up the concept of intelligence.” Smarter concept is the only yardstick.”

The study’s authors say it’s possible that both neurosurgeons and aerospace engineers are “unnecessarily put on a pedestal”, based on the study’s findings. Instead, they suggest using phrases like “it’s a walk in the park” or a phrase related to another job, arguing that “maybe other professions could be worth it, too.” on that pedestal.”

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