Relationship Between Freestyling and Intelligence

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Ever wonder how freestylists can make up such brilliant and authentic lines within seconds? This video discusses how freestyling requires abilities that are directly related to intelligence–or at least how psychologists define intelligence.

One of the many things students enjoy is rapping and creating music. In fact, many of our students are extremely skillful at putting words together to create meaningful stories. An important question is, what abilities are required to rap effectively—that is, to use literal and figurative meaning, similes, metaphors, and antecedents? The answers are working memory, processing speed, long term memory, and verbal processing, all of which we use to understand and explain the world with which we live.

IQ tests do not measure intelligence Most people believe IQ tests measure intelligence; this is far from true! There are no tests out that have the capability to capture human “intelligence.” There are no tools effective enough to capture all of our abilities. Additionally, many people, including psychologists, have different definitions of intelligence. Instead of measuring intelligence, psychologists measure abilities or “constructs” that are believed to be “related” to intelligence.

Cognitive abilities that psychologists measure are: Verbal abilities/processing, perceptual reasoning, working memory, and processing speed. In the video that follows, we show how these abilities are used to rap effectively. Most students I know who rap do not realize they use abilities psychologists associate with intelligence. These students define intelligence by academic standards. This is unfortunate because many of our students who rap have such developed verbal reasoning skills that they could go on to become great artists, including writers. For example, Shakespeare is regarded by many as one of the greatest English writers; he was skillful at using crystallized intelligence (which we explain in the video below). He was also skillful at rhyming and using couplets—using two lines with rhyming endings. He often used couplets to end sonnets. An important question is, how do we use our students’ abilities to empower them in the classroom and to increase engagement? Let’s see how the art of rap require abilities psychologists associate with intelligence.


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