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A new study in the U.K has shown that brain surgeons and rocket scientists are not more intelligent than everyone else. This is contrary to everyday phrases such as ‘it’s not brain surgery and ‘it’s not rocket science’ to denote the level of difficulty.

How researchers conducted the experiment 

The study suggests brain surgeons and rocket scientists have the same intelligence levels as the general population. It adds that people put these professionals on a pedestal unnecessarily.

The researchers gathered 72 brain surgeons and 329 aerospace engineers. They compared these two groups to 18,257 people to the general population. The researchers gave these volunteers the Great British Intelligence Test. The test, which Cognitron, a platform based on artificial intelligence made, works by evaluating six aspects of intelligence. These include processing emotions, attention, working memory, reasoning spanning planning, and cognition.

The team took factors like experience in a specialty, handedness, and specialty into consideration when analyzing the results. They found that the two professions had similar intelligence to the rest of the participants in most aspects.

However, the researchers found a few differences between neurosurgeons and rocket scientists, and other volunteers. For instance, aerospace engineers were more skilled at mental manipulation. Brain surgeons, on the other hand, had better semantic problem-solving skills.

When the team compared their scores to the rest of the participants, they didn’t significantly differ in domains. Moreover, surgeons’ memory speed was slower despite having better problem-solving skills.

The researchers suggested looking into different domains of intelligence

In addition, about 90% of participants had an above average in at least one field. The researchers believe this highlights the need to look into different intelligence domains instead of concentrating on one. As a result, people could easily find careers that suit their mental abilities.

Researchers point out that their study was observations. For this reason, more studies might be necessary. In addition, the study does not represent surgeons globally.

The study results suggest that people put these two professions on a pedestal and might need to use more appropriate phrases unrelated to careers. The team also added that other jobs could be more deserving of the pedestal.