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Comment & Response
July 10, 2018

Importance of Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence for Physicians

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychology, Harvard University Extension School, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • 2Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia
JAMA. 2018;320(2):204. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.6282

To the Editor In a Viewpoint, Dr Emanuel and Ms Gudbranson1 outlined the need to consider applicant abilities beyond surrogate measures of IQ when selecting medical school applicants. Although the authors highlighted emotional intelligence (EQ) as an alternative to IQ, other predictors of success in medicine should be considered as well.

As alluded to by the authors, there is not a binary choice between IQ and EQ. A wide range of other intelligences, some of which may strongly predict medical school success, have been explored.2 Formulaic intelligence, the ability to extrapolate from known or intuited formulas to novel problems triggered by overcoming adversity, may be a strong predictor of success both academically and personally, whereas grit, or resilience, is a better predictor of academic success in adolescents than IQ.2 A minimum level of academically oriented intelligence, whether judged as formulaic intelligence, grit, or IQ, is needed—along with high EQ—for effective medical practice.

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