Understanding Adaptive Intelligence with Dr. Robert Sternberg

Dr. Robert Sternberg joins Mike to talk about his life’s work studying intelligence, creativity, and wisdom. He is Professor of Human Development in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell University. Bob recently wrote Adaptive Intelligence: Striving and Thriving in Times of Uncertainty and we spend time diving into the concepts and frameworks that are central to the book.

For starters, Bob tells his personal story beginning in grade school where initially he didn’t perform well on intelligence tests until a teacher took an interest in him and helped him overcome his test anxiety. Soon after he was performing well on tests and even began administering them to his classmates. This formative experience led him to question the prevailing views of intelligence and IQ testing which have dominated psychology since the early 20th century.

Bob walks us through his evolving theories of intelligence, ranging from the Triarchic theory (creative, practical, and analytic) of intelligence to an increased focus on success and wisdom to his latest work on adaptive intelligence which focuses on the positive contribution one can provide to society. We dive into the timeliness of this construct in light of the challenging times we’ve been facing of late and conclude with Dr. Sternberg’s perspectives on the risks and opportunities we’re facing now in this singular moment in history.

It’s a profound and enlightening conversation that you won’t want to miss. We very much appreciate the opportunity to dive into all of this with a true luminary in the field of psychology, creativity, and intelligence.

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Sternberg, R. J. (2021). Adaptive Intelligence: Surviving and Thriving in Times of Uncertainty. Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316650554