Miguel Hernández Pérez
Faculty of Behavioral Sciences
University of Groningen
The Turtle and the Bunny fable
Have you ever heard about the fable of the turtle and the bunny? We all know its a story that has been going around, ear to ear, for many generations in which a race takes place betweentwo animals with different characteristics. If you paid enough attention while hearing it you probably understood the moral lesson it contains within. Let me remind ourselves of the plot so that we can understand the analogy to the main subject coming next. If we place ourselves in the very beginning of the story we will find two animals with two different and obvious physical conditions. Evolutiongave the rabbit a miraculous body adapted for rapid movements throughout its context. Their four feet move as fast as the wind as many years of evolutionary engineering improved them little by little for a fast running in order to escape predators, Also, as we all know, in this particular story we find that this fluffy animal has some “human” characteristics such as arrogance, but we will comeback to that later. On the other hand we have the turtle. A dwelling reptile that drives our sympathy since the very beginning of the plot. She is commonly thought to be dumb, dull and obtuse. On top of this we find that evolution gave her a different defense against danger. She has a heavy carapace shield, so it really does not surprise us when she does not move quickly. In fact, her slow legs takea long time to take just one step, and it is also very notable that she has slow reactions to the context stimuli that surround her. Apparently a big mess. We would all agree that the outlook is not very promising for this animal. Then again, we find in her one beautiful human characteristic: motivation.
To this point the scene is very clear. We have two animals about to start a race.One of them has what it takes in terms of biology to win without any problems. The other one will have to use other non birth characteristics. The turtle will not be running with her legs. She will be running with her background history and memories. Her learned traits will make it hard for her to give up. No matter how fast the rabbit runs, she won’t stop.
This story, in my opinion, can betransported to humans, talking about one subject: Intelligence. As it is known, the intellectual performance of human beings can differ from one human to another. We will find that some of them have large capabilities for abstract thought and find it easier to understand new information. Communication can also be better since intelligent subjects have a larger range of vocabulary gained overtheir lifetime to transmit the ideas they have on their minds. Reasoning and learning also seems to outstand from others because recall and usage of past experiences in the new contexts make them more efficient since they have more “available useful information” at all times to understand what's going on. They are good planers and quick dynamic problem solvers. Soon enough in the classrooms we findourselves with some human rabbits, turtles and other subjects in the middle of both ranges. Some of them are quick processors of the information given and will rarely need it to be repeated twice. Some others will need more time to fully understand the concepts given by the teacher. To this point we have something clear: They all have the same age but still, they apparently don't really behave orthink as common logic would expect for children the same age. They differ in intellectual capabilities. They are fast or slow, turtles or rabbits.
What really interests us in this case is not the appropriate definition of intelligence which is still hardly discussed now a days. We have three main points that are really relevant for our purpose 1.- to what extent are the intellectual...