Turkey: Adaptation And Intelligence

Last Updated: 13 September 2016
Article by İzel Levi Coşkun

Harmony, in other words. One dictionary definition of "adaptation” is "a trait which allows the organisms that have this trait and have succeeded through natural selection to be more evolutionarily adaptive.1A magic word for a living thing to sustain its existence. The explanation continues as follows: "Adaptation is the evolutionary process whereby a population becomes better suited to its habitat. If a population cannot move or change sufficiently to preserve its long-term viability, then obviously, it will become extinct, at least in that locale.

According to Jean Piaget (1896-1980), a Swiss Biologist and Professor of Child Psychology, intelligence is a form of adaptation, wherein knowledge is constructed by each individual through the two complementary processes of assimilation and accommodation.2Piaget emphasises the dialectic relationship between assimilation and accommodation while defining adaptation as the incorporation of the awareness relating to the outer world. "Intelligence is assimilation to the extent that it incorporates all the given data of experience within its framework... Assimilation can never be pure because by incorporating new elements into its earlier schemata the intelligence constantly modifies the latter in order to adjust them to new elements."

If we are to elucidate Piaget's above-quoted comments, which seem to be a little complicated, we should be able to define assimilation as blending new information with our past data of experience without making any alterations to it. During the accommodation process on the other hand, we have to alter our past knowledge in order to incorporate new information into our system of thought and harmonise what we already know with the new information.

If assimilation is fitting practice to theory then accommodation is fitting theory to practice.3 The studies conducted on this subject have shown that in children, the processes of assimilation and accommodation pose similar difficulties whereas, with the aged, the situation is different. Whereas aging does not cause any problems for the process of assimilation, the process of adaptation to what is new –accommodation- becomes more challenging with age.

The process of specialisation on finance that an individual who has been trained in the field of economics goes through using their economic background may be given as an example of assimilation. However, the desire of an individual with a marketing background (which is a branch of social sciences) to specialise on finance would require an extensive process of accommodation.

Adaptation implies change and it is a two-way process involving both the individual and the environment. Not only are people affected by their environments, but environments are also affected by people in their process of adaptation. Coping is a form of adaptation that implies a struggle to overcome problems. Although adaptation may involve responses to new conditions that are either positive or negative, coping refers to the way people deal with the negative experiences they encounter.4Some examples of coping strategies may include the following: acquiring information which meets our needs, planning for the future, controlling emotions, identifying alternative ways to solve a specific problem, increasing the capacity for resistance or building a social network.

Wouldn't you agree that it is intelligence that renders all these strategies useable and help us to cope with problems?

I have been asking the following question to myself in the majority of the situations I encountered since I have started doing research on adaptation and intelligence: will my adaptation to this situation require a process or assimilation or a process of accommodation?

The number of times I have had to go through a process of accommodation in relation to various situations I have encountered recently has greatly outnumbered the times when I have gone through a process of assimilation. This is what I find really unsettling: are the processes of accommodation I have to go through in order to adapt to situations that in no way suit my past experience, understanding of ethics and way of thinking, just simple cases of assimilation for others?

Or is it that the unease caused by failure to adapt due to negative influences leads to a "shrugging-off" or "self-indulgence", both of which are different ways of "coping"? Is it that while I choose to go through a process of accommodation, others deem negative circumstances unmanageable and choose to "ignore" them?

Like the inhabitants of Lilliput and Blefuscu, spooning the delicious cake served for us, how do we react to its changing taste in times when the problem of otherisation has become a significantly established one in our society? Do we close our eyes, hold our nose and try to swallow the cake; do we eat it with mineral water for better digestion; do we give the impression that we eat it with pleasure whatever the circumstances may be; do we refuse to eat the cake and be disqualified or do we say "I am going to eat this cake but only if I am the one who gets to put the cream on top of it"?

These indubitably are all different methods of coping. Of course, it all depends on whether you perceive the cake as an "opportunity" or as a "threat".

It is possible to use intelligence for adaptation in many other ways than I have thought of and presented above. My preference is to use intelligence and the creative capacity to convert some negative situations to positive ones, rather than to use them for a temporary adaptation accompanied by a shrug-off approach.

The main question here is whether to have to incorporate intelligence through accommodation, under circumstances we deem unfavourable, or to struggle to convert these circumstances into positive ones for the purpose of coping. I believe that one trait that renders intelligence unique is the ability to evaluate the circumstances in full awareness of this question, and when necessary manage to find the right way out without subordination.

Isn't this what makes a human a human?


1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adaptation
2 http://www.indiana.edu/~intell/piaget.shtml
3 http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/assimacc.htm
4 Understanding Human Behaviour & The Social Environment, Charles Zastrow, Karen K. Kirst-Ashman, P.29

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions