Common Sense vs Intelligence: Difference and Comparison

Common Sense and Intelligence are two elements of human psychology which do not require any introduction as the terms are frequently used by all in day-to-day life.

However, the true meaning of both of the terms are confusing to people. Common Sense and Intelligence have different meanings and impacts on individuals.

Key Takeaways

  1. Common sense refers to the ability to make practical decisions based on experience and knowledge, whereas intelligence is the ability to learn and understand new concepts.
  2. Common sense is more related to everyday practicality, while intelligence is more about cognitive abilities.
  3. Common sense is considered innate, whereas intelligence is thought to be developed through learning and education.

Common Sense vs Intelligence

Common sense is the ability to make sound judgments and decisions based on practical knowledge and experience. Intelligence is a more complex and multifaceted concept that refers to a person’s overall cognitive ability. A high IQ and intelligence do not equate to the presence of common sense.

Common Sense vs Intelligence

Common sense can be described as good sense and sound judgement in practical situations. Often unrealised, common sense is used in several practical situations and comes without any specialised knowledge.

Common sense can be acquired through experience, observation or curiosity. As a basic level of practical knowledge and judgement, common sense is unconsciously used by people in daily life. 

Intelligence can be described as a quality that allows one to gain knowledge and skills. It is a concept that is prioritised in academia and is included in several courses such as Philosophy and Psychology.

Intelligence requires specialised skills and can be acquired through logical reasoning, problem solving, comprehension, awareness, etc.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonCommon SenseIntelligence
DefinitionIt is described as good sense and sound judgement in practical matters.It is described as the ability to gain knowledge and acquire skills.
EtymologyIt is derived from several European languages. Latin, French and Greek are some of the other languages that has related words to intelligence.It is derived from the Latin noun Intelligentia or  intellēctus
FocusFocuses on practical situations.Focuses on the intellectual capacity of an individual.
MeasureIt can not be measured.It can be measured through various Intelligence Quotient (IQ) tests.
Specialised KnowledgeDoes not involve any specialised knowledge.Involves specialised knowledge through learning and adapting.

What is Common Sense?

Common sense can be described as good sense and sound judgement in practical situations and decision making. It can be said to be the basic level of practical knowledge one might  need in several circumstances.

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Hence, it can be demonstrated as a good sense with vital significance as it helps to function in any society. Common sense does not involve any specialised knowledge yet it helps to make sound judgements.

Being something not extraordinary, common sense trains one to be adaptive to whatever information is available in hand and make sound judgements out of it.

Any decision from common sense is made within a limited time period which gradually enhances one’s mind work process. To some believes, common sense was discussed by Aristotle in his discipline as a sense in line with human perception.

Common sense is acquired as implicit knowledge since birth and is unconsciously used from time to time. As it does not involve any specialised knowledge, one acquires it through awareness, curiosity and practical situations without being aware of it.

For example, being well dressed when going to an interview could add to one’s first impression and can be an example of common sense. 

common sense

What is Intelligence?

Intelligence can be described as an ability to gain knowledge and apply skills. It is said to be a mental quality that consists of several processes which include comprehension, problem solving, awareness and memory.

Intelligence helps one to adapt to new environments, learn from past experiences and understand unknown ideas and act accordingly. 

As a word that describes quality in people, Intelligence can be measured through several Intelligence Quotient (IQ) tests.

The intelligence level among people may differ due to various factors like genetics, education and experience and the higher the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) level, the higher is the quality of intelligence among people.

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As its virtue has been observed, intelligence can be considered to be a part of academia as it allows individuals to learn and progress.

It is mainly a part of the disciplines of Psychology and Philosophy that helps train an individual. Intelligence is used in everyday life to make decisions and sort priorities.

As an example, a person, in order to minimise their expenses would use their intelligence to prioritise their needs and spend accordingly.

artificial intelligence 1

Main Differences Between Common Sense and Intelligence

  1. The origin of the two terms is different. While Intelligence is derived from a Latin noun Intelligentia or  intellēctus, Common Sense is derived from several European languages along with French, Greek and Latin.
  2. The two terms have different focuses. While Common Sense focuses on practicality and rapid decision making, Intelligence focuses on the intellectual capacity of an individual.
  3. The two terms have different definitions. Common Sense is described as sound judgement and good sense in practical situations whereas Intelligence is described to be an ability to gain and apply knowledge and skills.
  4. Common Sense can not be measured but on the other hand, Intelligence can be measured through Intellectual Quotient (IQ) tests.
  5. Common Sense does not involve any specialised knowledge but on the other hand, Intelligence involves specialised knowledge through learning, logical problem solving and awareness.
Difference Between Common Sense and Intelligence
References
  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/13668250.2011.626759
  2. https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037/0003-066X.50.11.912

Last Updated : 25 November, 2023

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