What is Intelligence?

This is the overall test for how much a person has learned and is usually measured by a person’s capability to solve problems and work on abstract concepts. Some researchers assert that intelligence is a general ability, whereas others state that intelligence comprises certain talents and skills. Psychologists argue that intelligence is inherited or generic, and others assert that it’s largely affected by the surrounding environment. As a result, psychologists have created multiple contrasting theories of intelligence and individual tests that try to evaluate this concept.

According to Charles Spearman, general intelligence or g factor stands for a general mental ability that underlies multiple particular skills, including verbal, numerical, spatial, and mechanical. Spearman used the factor analysis technique to arrive at the theory. Factor analysis is a process through which the correlation between related variables is evaluated to identify an underlying factor that explains the correlation. 

Spearman observed that those who performed well in one area of intelligence also performed well in other areas. He concluded that a single g factor represents a person’s general intelligence across multiple abilities and a second factor stands for a person’s particular ability in one particular area. Together, these two key factors form Spearman’s two-factor theory.

Thurstone challenged the concept of general intelligence. He identified several primary mental abilities that form intelligence, in contrast to one general factor. His model’s seven primary mental abilities are verbal fluency, verbal comprehension, spatial visualization, number facility, memory, perceptual speed, and inductive reasoning. Although Thurstone didn’t completely reject Spearman’s concept of general intelligence, he theorized that intelligence comprises both general ability and several specific abilities, making it easier for future research that had studied the different forms of intelligence.

Following Thurstone’s work, Howard Gardner developed the idea that there’re multiple forms of intelligence. He suggested that there’s no single intelligence, but independent, distinct multiple intelligences exist, each representing unique talents and skills relevant to a particular category. He initially proposed seven multiple intelligences, including logical-mathematical, linguistic, musical, spatial, intrapersonal, interpersonal, and bodily-kinesthetic, and he has since included naturalist intelligence.

Some more forms of intelligence include the following:

Emotional intelligence: It refers to the capacity to monitor one’s own and other persons’ emotions, differentiate between distinguished emotions and label them properly, and utilize emotional information to guide behavior and thinking. Emotional intelligence is vital in people’s everyday lives, seeing as they experience one emotion or another almost every second of their lives. One might not associate intelligence and emotions with one another, but they’re very related.

Fluid intelligence: It’s the ability to solve problems in unfamiliar situations without referencing previous knowledge but instead through the use of abstract thinking and logic. One can apply fluid intelligence to any unfamiliar problem because no particular prior knowledge is required. As one grows older, fluid increases and then begins to reduce in the late 20s.

Crystallized intelligence: It stands for the utilization of previously-acquired knowledge like muscle memory, specific motor skills, or specific facts learned in school. As one grows older and gathers knowledge, crystallized intelligence improves.

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