Stephen Fry looks at nature vs nurture

One of the UK's brightest brains, Stephen Fry, talks to Heights about intelligence.

Stephen Fry on Intelligence

Stephen Fry smiling and wearing a checkered shirt and cardigan

Stephen Fry is regarded as one of the UK's brightest brains. He's a prolific writer and actor who can apply his shrewd analysis and razor-sharp wit to just about any subject. So how does he keep his mind curious?

On today's Braincare podcast, Stephen shares his thoughts on intelligence of every shade - cognitive, mathematical, poetic - down to the very tautology of the word, and where he falls on the nature-nurture divide.

You can listen to episode 2 here.

One of the tragedies of much of life is how many of us are really all as intelligent as each other.

Difference between intelligence and wisdom

Stephen believes that inquisitiveness and interest are paramount to intelligence, but wisdom is the rarest bird of them all. What makes being wise so distinct from our traditional definitions of cognitive ability? How do intelligence and wisdom differ? And why is it so difficult to define on a sentimental level?

The best definition of wisdom I ever came across was a man called Michael Randall, who said wisdom is the ability to cope...and that's always stayed with me.

Podcast episode takeaways

In this second episode with Stephen Fry we will cover:

  • Whether upbringing shapes our future intelligence

  • The difference between intelligence and wisdom

  • The privilege of not-knowing and the Dunning–Kruger effect

  • How our attitude to learning can impact our intelligence

Listen to the full episode here —and subscribe to The Braincare Podcast to get more bitesize interviews with the world's leading scientists and experts.

In case you missed it and are eager to hear more from Stephen Fry, check out our 1st episode with Stephen on living with mental health disorders.


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