Intelligence has always been hard to define although both traditional and modern psychologists have come up with suggested meanings. Based on early theorists, intelligence revolves around having the capacity to engage in a learning process (Sigelman & Rider, 2011). Therefore, it can be viewed as the amount of knowledge that has been acquired by an individual in a certain period of time.
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It has also been defined as the ability to successfully adapt to new environmental changes without any problem. According to Sigelman and Rider (2011) Piaget definition of intelligence was centered on the thinking ability of human beings thus defining intelligence as an adaptive behaviour towards something.
Another definition of intelligence is that it involves abstract thinking or having the ability to effectively solve problems (Sigelman & Rider, 2011). Based on these definitions, intelligence lacks a constructive definition but it revolves around the thinking abilities of human beings.
Jean Piaget, a Swiss psychologist is believed to have been the link between the traditional and the modern psychometric intellectual tests analysis. Piaget work on intelligence came to be referred as the Piaget’s theory of intelligence. According to the theory which is centered on cognitive development, human beings intelligence is modeled by the cognitive and biological structures (Naidenova, 2010).
Piaget believed that the environment people live plays a great role in their cognitive development. Through assimilation processes, a child is able to incorporate new information from the surrounding to their cognitive structure. The cognitive structure which is referred to as schemata allows an individual to strike a balance between assimilating and accommodating new information (Naidenova, 2010).
The scheme concept allows individuals to intellectually adapt and organize their environment. For example, speech construction or resolving problems effectively is based on the schemata behaviour. Through environmental interaction, children are able to experiment and explore their surroundings.
Obvious, a discrepancy is created between what the child already knows and what they have experienced. This disequilibrium state leads to schemes development. Past experiences develop the cognitive abilities to ensure that a future experience can be resolved based on a past experience.
Piaget theory is based on four stages through which a child undergoes as they develop their intelligence. The stages are sensory- motor which is based on permanence and symbolic thoughts in regard to objects (Sigelman & Rider, 2011). In this stage, a child learns slowly on what their environment has through objects and, attaches meanings to these objects as they grow.
The other stage is pre-operational stage in which a child develops self-awareness of their surroundings (Walsh, 2005). The concrete operation phase follows in which a child is able to perform mental calculations or operations (Walsh, 2005).
Lastly, formal operational phase allows the children of eleven years and above to formally manipulate concepts and ideas using abstract thinking. At this point, the schemes are wholly developed and a child can assimilate and accommodate different experiences.
Most of the traditional intelligence tests assumed that intelligence was innate and that the social surroundings had little influence over it (Sigelman & Rider, 2011). However, psychometric intelligence tests have proven that the environment that individual grows from has a greater impact on their cognitive constructs.
Traditional intelligence tests were biased tools of intelligence measure as scientists have come to prove intelligence as both a learned process as well as an innate ability (Sigelman & Rider, 2011). Socialization process and the environment from where an individual grows from play an integral part in designing their intelligence.
Although there is no agreed definition of intelligence, it is centered on an individual’s thinking capability and resolve. Piaget’s theory of cognitive development is based on four stages from where a child learns to make equilibrium between what they already know and new experiences in life.
Naidenova, X. (2010). Machine learning methods for commonsense reasoning processes: Interactive models. Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.
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Sigelman, C. K., & Rider, E. A. (2011). Life-span human development. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
Walsh, K. (2008). Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. Web.