Battle of the Brains

Battle of the BrainsCan you think of 100 different uses for a sock? How would you cope with glasses that turn everything upside down? What's your emotional intelligence? Can you create a work of art in 10 minutes? Horizon takes seven people who are some of the highest flayers in their field: a musical prodigy, a quantum physicist, an artist, a dramatist, an RAF fighter pilot, a chess grandmaster and a Wall Street trader, and puts them through a battery of tests to measure their intelligence. Who is the most intelligent?

The principle way that we measure intelligence, the IQ test, is based on research done before even Einstein was in his prime. Because these tests label us with a single number they are still a popular and convenient way to divide people into clever clogs and dunces. But most psychologists agree that they only tell half the story, at most. Where they disagree is how we measure intelligence, for the very good reason that they still don't know exactly what it is.

Horizon looks for evidence of intelligence in the brain, in our genes and in our upbringing and tests some of the latest theories using them to see which of the seven has the highest intelligence. Wall Street Trader, Nathan Hasselbauer has an IQ of 167, but is he creative? Artist Stella Vine left school at 13 how would she know the distance from London to Hong Kong? Dramatist and critic Bonnie Greer has got a great vocabulary, but what's she like at inductive logic?

Watch the full documentary now (playlist)

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Ratings: 8.65/10 from 20 users.
  • Tyler

    Good one. Interesting results.

  • HaTe_MaChInE

    Very entertaining... It doesn't really come out and say but it seemed the top performers were the ones that were highly educated and continue to use there education.

    I wish they would have thrown some CEO types in there for good measure. I bet even top athletes would have done well.

    I think it would also be interesting to come back 10 years and retest the musical prodigy. 14 year old against a fighter pilot just doesn't seem fair.

  • http://www.thunderboltsproject.com/home.html Dusty

    It missed the mark in my book. It focused on too many ideas and did none well. It could have kept score which would have made the ending make sense. It went off doing a report which had nothing to do with the "competition". It asked more questions than it answered.

  • krisota

    dont know much about how these tests are designed, but most of the time people good in math and science do better in these tests which doesn't seem fair to me.

  • Allequal

    This is my view.
    I believe anyone given the right training and opportunity can do anything,unless they have some sort of brain damage or their I.Q is below average.
    I believe you can take a person and mold this person into anything you want,provided you give them the proper training,motivation,opportunity,time.
    Anyone can study and learn,provided the above approach is used.
    Learning is about doing something over and over until it sticks in your memory,it does not matter what the subject matter is,sooner or later you can teach a person anything you want,as long as you allow them time and you nurture them.
    I believe I can be trained to do any job on earth as long as the above principles are followed.
    There are people walking around out there who know the cure to Cancer but they themselves are yet to be discovered because they might not have had the opportunity to be trained and nurtured in that field of science.
    I could be a fighter pilot,I could be a research medical scientist,given the right training and opportunity,we all can.
    I am 47 years old,I bet you could train me in any occupation as long as you have the time/money and patience.
    I challenge you ! wxp8876z [at] tpg [dot] com [dot] au

  • just brousing

    I've never scored high on these tests, for example, they asked me who invented the light bulb. I said, well, I don't know. You see, they credit Edison with the ivention, but it's not...do you know who invented the light bulb? It was Swan, Swan invented the incandescent light bulb. Edison apparently had the genius of being a business man to get it on the market as his idea. Oh well, Edison wasn't that ingenious after all. Maybe we ought to throw the test out all together. You see, what is it that you are measuring needs to be asked first, what is intelligence? I must be able to discover a truth, a meaning and theorize. We all can do that..even infants do it...they have why questions, tell you meanings and make up things too.

  • Epicurean_Logic

    @just brousing

    'Maybe we ought to throw the test out all together. You see, what is it that you are measuring needs to be asked first, what is intelligence?'

    A good definition of intelligence is the ability to input, manipulate and retain information.

    I really liked the way this docu. explained that the road to genius is the addition of creativity to the IQ equations.

    i also agree that good maths skills improve an IQ score.

    Love the sock test too.

  • mr savage

    singers are not musicians they are singers.
    they should have used someone like a guitarist or violinist.

  • mr savage

    i think this a very good first step towards realisicaly measuring intelligence rather than knowledge(as in the iq test), but there is still a lot missing, also the test subjects were not evenly matched and there should have been more people from more walks of life, especialy interesting would have been a jack of all trades character with not much specific discipline in a single area and mabey someone like a circus performer or a philosopher.

  • mr savage

    NB intelligence is the abillity to understand/use concepts and logic.

    also there is a missing section of film between the penultimate and the final clip in the playlist, i don't know how long it is but it could be a sizable peice considering how different the points being made are.

  • DeathSSghosT

    well just so everyone doesnt think im biased, i went to public education and community college, but i think creativity was the sole cause of humans dominating neanderthal and once we had no competators, we turned our creativity to make tools better and more efficient to help build on society. but not just that, we have been creative enough to ask the question, why are we here, where did we come from, what is our purpose. but because our creativity is so diverse and covers so many areas, because even designing a new intersection needs creative thinking, that it would be impossible to messure completely.

  • http://Yourproctologist Superpescado

    Should have been titled 'How to breed intellectual bullies and divide society'.

  • Kurrrt

    An introduction to answers provide mankind a method of learning and knowing until new evolved answers apply, do tests?

  • Kurrrt

    Thought released to act upon itself will return in manifestation glorified and in a form more magnificent then the limited focused mind can imagine.

  • Kurrrt

    Out of challenge born of desire and nessity comes the conception of that which is different.

  • coyote03

    Really good documentary, the people involved and the makers of the documentary knew this series of tests wasn't the end all be all, they mention that many times and even finish the documentary stating that. WATCH THE WHOLE THING! It was definitely an interesting watch :)

  • ddd

    The artist is cute.

    Gardner's theories by the way have absolutely never been confirmed via peer-reviewed publication. It's a just-so story that has become very popular but it backed by no good proof.

  • AGKrisko33

    @8:39, I want that painting so bad!!!!!! LOVE IT!!!!

  • DDRD

    @ Mr Savage, that kid wasn't just a singer, he was a composer who knew many different forms of musical media

  • http://www.facebook.com/BlondieUK1988 Bambi L'Amour

    Fantastic documentarym, alslo the new site design is really good, well done mate, if there were some kind of website awards this would definately win in it's given catagory.

  • http://www.facebook.com/maxlawlessphoto Max Neveradullmoment Lawless

    Signed, The Riddler.

  • Fred Bazzeeda

    yes, nice design, but it would be nice to have ratings (rate the vids) that the users/viewers could rate the vids.

  • http://profiles.google.com/showmereal g isaac

    I believe the scores on their tests were fixed so that they could ultimately prove their point in the end (Intelligence cannot be measured by a traditional IQ test). How did they calculate 1st, 2nd, 3rd place and what were the actual scores?

    I agree with the underlying message here. However, we shouldn't fight fire with fire. Why use the same tactics that originators of the IQ test used to prove a contrary point? All-in-all, intelligence (nor success) can be measured by a test. We are each a unique product of BOTH our genetics AND our environment or experiences. Some geniuses are born and some are made. That's life!

    Instead of trying so hard to predict who will be a genius we ought to make every effort to nurture genius and creativity whenever and wherever possible.