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Sunday, January 01, 2006

Vocabulary and Intelligence

I'm going to give myself a little credit. I was a prolific reader as a kid.

It has dropped off considerably to some dissappointment. It got me to thinking the other day how much of what we value as intelligence is related to one's ability to communicate what they're thinking. Not all of it, there are true idiots...but a lot of it.

For instance, a HUGE chunk of medical school is vocab. You're learning the concepts of course, but it is possible for me to understand, say the anatomy of the heart but without the common use names of the features and anatomical descriptors of position, I would have a hard time teaching anyone else it or showing I know it...or instilling faith in a patient once that time rolls around.

As much emphasis as there is in a student's progress towards being able to translate their newly learned medical vocabulary into everyday language for patients there is also some security for me as a patient when a doctor sounds intelligent, even if I don't understand all that he says.

The same is true in everyday life to an extent and nothing improves your communication skills more than reading.

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