Rocket scientists and brain surgeons aren’t necessarily smarter than the public, study suggests

Researchers have sought to find out if a profession has an intellectual advantage, and have found that they are very similar.

There is also little difference when comparing aerospace engineers and neurosurgeons to the general population.

Online intelligence tests are administered to both neurosurgeons and aerospace engineers from the UK, Europe, USA and Canada. Feedback from 329 aerospace engineers and 72 neurosurgeons was included in the final analysis.

The study, published in BMJ Christmas No., has been professionally conducted and peer-reviewed, but this special issue of the British Medical Journal is usually dedicated to gentle studies.

“The main aim of our study is to settle this debate once and for all and provide rocket scientists and brain surgeons with evidence to support their confidence in the work they do. company of the other party,” wrote Inga Usher of the National Neurological Hospital and Department of Neurosurgery in London and colleagues.

The researchers tested study participants, who had completed a degree in a related discipline, across several cognitive domains, including emotional discrimination and motor control.

They then assessed the cognitive characteristics of each major using the Great British Intelligence Test from the Cognitron platform, which is used to measure different aspects of human cognition. , planning and reasoning, working memory, attention span, and emotional processing.

The researchers found that aerospace engineers and neurosurgeons “are equally suited across most fields,” but they differ in two areas. While aerospace engineers showed better mental manipulation skills, neurosurgeons were better at solving semantic problems.

There is also little difference between the two professions and members of the public.

“Compared with the general population, aerospace engineers did not show significant differences in any area,” the study authors wrote.

“Neurosurgeons are able to solve problems faster than the general population, but have shown a slower rate of memory recall.”

The researchers suggest people stop saying “it’s not rocket science” as if it means something particularly difficult.

They suggest: “In situations where quick problem-solving is not required, it would be more appropriate to use the phrase ‘This is not brain surgery’.

“Maybe both neurosurgeons and aerospace engineers are unnecessarily put on pedestals and ‘It was a walk in the park’ or another phrase unrelated to the profession. may be more appropriate,” they added.

The team also wants to challenge the public perception of sectors that are predicted to be understaffed in the coming years and could benefit from seemingly less monopolies, the researchers suggest.

“Other majors may deserve to rest on that pedestal, and future work should aim to determine the most rewarding profession.”

CNN’s Maggie Fox contributed reporting.


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