Intelligence Alone Does Not Guarantee Good Critical Thinking

It goes without saying that every manager wants to hire a bright employee. So why not use an assessment that can identify the candidate with the highest intellectual horsepower—a pure measure of cognitive ability?


While intellect is an undisputed asset in the workplace, the ability to apply brainpower to make well-reasoned judgments and draw accurate conclusions cannot be assumed. Most of us have had the experience of working with an incredibly bright individual who can regurgitate every morsel of learned knowledge or breeze through cognitive ability tests, and yet when confronted with a complex problem that requires careful and logical reasoning, their horsepower is rendered paralyzed.

How is that possible? The answer is simple; intellect is only one component of critical thinking. Although scores on the Watson-Glaser have a positive relationship with cognitive ability, the additional information obtained by measuring critical thinking provides insight into an individual’s ability to put brainpower into practice. Specifically, critical thinking involves:

  • Attitudes that enhance one’s ability to recognize the existence of problems and an acceptance of the general need for evidence in support of what is asserted to be true.
  • Knowledge of the nature of valid inferences, abstractions, and generalizations in which the weight or accuracy of different kinds of evidence are logically determined, and
  • Skills in employing and applying the above attitudes and knowledge.

To learn more about why critical thinking matters in the workplace, download the Critical Thinking Means Business white paper here.

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