Brain surgeons, rocket scientists are not brighter than the rest
The findings reveal that only neurosurgeons showed a significant difference, with quicker problem-solving speed but slower memory recall compared with the general population, the report said
Researchers have found aerospace engineers and brain surgeons are not necessarily brighter than the general population, The Guardian reported.
"It may therefore be best to ditch rocket science and brain surgery idioms for phases like "it's a walk in the park", added the researchers.
"It is also possible that other professions might deserve to be on that pedestal, and future work should aim to determine the most deserving group," they said, the report added.
Researchers examined data from an international cohort of 329 aerospace engineers and 72 neurosurgeons who completed 12 tasks online using the Great British Intelligence Test (GBIT) from the Cognitron platform, as well as answering questions around their age, sex and levels of experience in their speciality.
The findings published in the festive edition of BMJ, reveal that only neurosurgeons showed a significant difference, with quicker problem-solving speed but slower memory recall compared with the general population, the report said.
"The difference in problem-solving speed exhibited by neurosurgeons might arise from the fast-paced nature of neurosurgery, which attracts those with a pre-existing flair for rapid processing, or it could be, albeit less likely, a product of training for rapid decision-making in time-critical situations," the researchers noted.
The researchers said the study was, in part, carried out to lay to rest the question of whether one of the professions had the intellectual upper hand.
"Essentially what we think it shows is that everyone has a range of skills, some people are better at some things and other people are better at other things, and it is very difficult to be better in everything across the board," said Aswin Chari, a neurosurgical trainee at Great Ormond Street hospital and an author of the study, The Guardian reported.
Referencing the two professions in the study, Chari added: "It is not that they are better at everything, but they are better at certain things that make them good at what they do."