The Difference Between Being Smart, Educated, and Intelligent

Intelligence is a topic that has fascinated me since childhood. As a child, my mother called me “smart.” But I soon discovered that all parents refer their children to themselves as smart. All children, like all babies, are not smart. I discovered this over time. If this were true, there would be a world filled with intelligent, beautiful people. But that is not the case.

Some people are smart, but not as smart or as we think. Other people are smarter than we think. Which makes me wonder: What is smart? What makes one person more intelligent than the next? Is it more important to have “street smarts”, or “book smarts”, than having “book smarts?” Are you smart or dumb? Do genetics or environment have a greater influence on intelligence than one’s genes?

Then, there is the issue of intelligence, education and wisdom.

What does it mean for someone to be highly educated. What is the difference in being highly educated from being highly intelligent? Are you automatically highly educated if you are highly intelligent? Are you able to be highly intelligent even without being well educated? Is IQ really a measure of intelligence? What is the definition of wisdom? Why wisdom is usually associated with old-age?

To find the answers to these questions, I invested many hours in intensive research. These hours included reading 6 books, hundreds of research papers, and endless hours on the Internet. But, this pales in comparison to the life-long studies and research of pioneers in intelligence, education, such as Howard Gardner and Richard Sternberg, Linda S. Gottfredson and Thomas Sowell.

My goal was simple. I wanted to synthesize, analyze, and present data that explains what it means being smart, educated, intelligent so it could be understood by everyone for their benefit.


With all of this in mind it is a good idea to consider the place where we started our existence, which was the womb.

The evidence is mounting to show that prenatal brain development is dependent on iron intake. Studies have shown a strong correlation between low iron levels and lower IQ. Rich in iron foods include kidney beans (lima beans), pinto beans, spinach and broccoli.

Children with low iron status (in the uterus), scored lower on every test, had lower language abilities, fine-motor skills, tractability, and overall performance than children with higher prenatal iron levels. Prenatal care is crucial for cognitive development.


Cognitive skills refer to the fundamental mental abilities we use in order to think, understand, and learn. They cover a variety of mental abilities that allow you to analyse sounds and images and recall information from your memory. You can also make associations between pieces of information and focus on certain tasks. Each one can be identified and measured. The ability to learn is directly linked to cognitive skills and efficiency.


Drinking during pregnancy is not smart. It is actually downright stupid.

In Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, a study found that even moderate to light drinking during the second quarter of pregnancy is associated with lower IQs at 10 years old. This result was particularly evident among African-American offspring.

“IQ” refers to a child’s ability learn and survive in a given environment. It determines the child’s ability to succeed in school and daily life. A small, but significant, percentage of children are diagnosed annually with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. However, many more children are subject to alcohol during pregnancy and still experience cognitive dysfunction and growth problems,” explained Jennifer A. Willford.

Paul D. Connor, the Fetal Alcohol and Drug Unit’s clinical director and assistant professor at the University of Washington’s department of psychiatry and behavior sciences has some words to say on the subject.