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What is Intelligence? Report (Assessment)


A person’s proficiency in crisis management involving features such as responsiveness, insight, analysis, decision making and conclusion can be termed as intelligence. In simple words, how a person tackles situations is called his/her intelligence.

Theories of Intelligence

Discussions have been held on whether intelligence is a single skill or it has various features. But there hasn’t been a universal acceptance on any one ideology. Different psychologists have evolved different theories of intelligence over the past 100 years. Following are some of them:

Charles Spearman:

British psychologist, Charles Spearman, noticed that people who scored well in a mental aptitude test, scored well in others as well and those who scored poorly in one test, scored poorly in others as well. This was called the factor analysis and Charles termed it as ‘General Intelligence’ or the ‘g factor’.

Louis L. Thurstone:

Thurstone’s centre of attention was seven different aspects of mental abilities namely, verbal comprehension, reasoning, perceptual speed, numerical ability, word fluency, associative memory, and spatial visualization.

Howard Gardner:

Gardner developed eight kinds of intelligences namely, visual-spatial intelligence, verbal-linguistic intelligence, bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, logical-mathematical intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, intra personal intelligence, musical intelligence and naturalistic intelligence.

Robert Sternberg:

According to Robert Sternberg, intelligence is a “mental activity directed towards purposive adaptation to, selection and shaping of, real-world environments relevant to one’s life.” According to him, intelligence has three factors namely, analytical intelligence (abilities to solve problems), creative intelligence (innovation), and practical intelligence (adaptation to changes).

It’s very difficult to understand human nature and more specifically, human behavior (including intelligence). In my opinion, the debate on different meanings or theories of intelligence will continue for times to come and new theories will keep on being evolved.

How can intelligence be measured?

Measuring of intelligence is called the ‘intelligence quotient’ (IQ). Based on the aforementioned theories, there are various ways of measuring the intelligence quotient. The most common method of measuring the intelligence of a person is the ‘multiple aptitude test’. But this method is gradually becoming out-dated.

The most favored method of testing the IQ is the ‘Standardization’ method where everything, except the child’s answers, has a standard set of criterion. This is a good method because after the scoring is over, a child’s performance can be compared to the rest of the children in the same age group. His/her scores can be compared to the average scores. Another favorable test is the spatial ability test, where the person’s ability of hands is also tested. There are other intelligences also that help us succeed in life.

All human beings don’t have the same biological features. Intelligence is also such a feature that develops at different ages for different people. But in schools and colleges, the same questions are given to all students. How can a student, whose intelligence hasn’t developed yet, answer the questions in a manner that an intelligent student will do.

Some have the intelligence to solve problems; some have the intelligence to grasp fast, some do well in academics, while some have the intelligence to succeed in life.

So who is more successful? Would you call a person intelligent who can solve a complex mathematics problem but doesn’t know how to write? Would you call the Managing Director of a company intelligent if he couldn’t clear his board exam? On the other hand, a slum boy, who hasn’t gone to school and got his IQ tested, could be more intelligent and smarter than a school going boy.

Intelligence inherited or developed

It is a proven fact that we inherit qualities from our parents and ancestors. These may be physical and/or mental. These qualities are determined by our genes. In order to prove that intelligence is more of inherited than developed; we shall take an example of twins (identical). Identical twins are brought up in the same environment and share the same kind of amenities. Moreover, they have the same kind of genes (non-identical twins have half of their genes common).

They even share the same kind of food. Studies have revealed that the correlation factor in twins is up to 0.95 (whereas a perfect correlation factor is 1). In non-identical twins, this factor is 0.6. This illustration shows that genes do play an important part in the development of a person’s personality and his/her intelligence.

Intelligent parents tend to have intelligent children. In our daily lives, we see traits of parents in their children. Even in our homes, we see the similarities. A good politician’s son is more likely to become a good politician as well. A vandal’s son will, most probably, become a ruffian too, except if there is a chance of improvement due to influence of some good people.

Human brain has two parts namely, the grey matter and the white matter. The grey matter consists of brain cells and the white one consists of filaments that carry messages to the rest of the body. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) has proved that it is the grey matter that is linked to intelligence. It means the more grey matter a person has, the more intelligent he/she is. The quantum of this grey matter depends on the genes. So it can be said that intelligence is inherited as well as developed, but it is more of inherited.

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"What is Intelligence?" IvyPanda, 24 Apr. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/what-is-intelligence-assessment/.

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IvyPanda. "What is Intelligence?" April 24, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/what-is-intelligence-assessment/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "What is Intelligence?" April 24, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/what-is-intelligence-assessment/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'What is Intelligence'. 24 April.

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