Essay on Intelligence: Meaning, Theories and Distribution!
Essay on the Meaning of Intelligence:
Intelligence is understood as the ability to acquire knowledge, to think and give reason effectively and to deal adaptively with the environment. This mental capacity helps him in the task of theoretical as well as practical manipulation of things, objects or events present in his environment in order to adapt or face new challenges and problems in life as successfully as possible.
Intelligence derives from ability to learn and utilize what has been learned in adjusting to new situations and solving new problems. The concept of intelligence owes much to early studies of animal learning. About a century ago, following publications of Darwin’s “Origin of Species”, there was a flurry of interest in the evolution of intelligence and many tests ere devised to measure intelligence in animals ranging from ants to chimpanzees.
These were tests of learning ability. The general procedure was to block a customary access to food or to introduce a disturbing element from which escape was possible. Intelligence is the capacity to understand the world, think rationally, and use resources effectively when faced with challenges.
Intelligence represents a focal point for psychologists, they intend to understand how people are able to adopt their behaviour to the environment in which they live. It also represents a key aspect of how individuals differ from one another in the way in which they learn about and understand the world. Psychological tests are used to measure individual differences that exist among people in abilities, aptitudes, interests and aspect of personality.
Essay on the Definition of Intelligence:
“An individual is intelligent in proportion as he is able to carry on abstract thinking”.
Intelligence as “the power of good responses from the point of view of truth or fact”.
“Intelligence is the capacity to learn and adjust to relatively new and changing conditions”.
“Intelligence is the capacity to understand the world, think rationally, and use resources effectively when faced with challenges”.
5. Woodworth and Marqis:
“Intelligence means intellect put to use. It is the use of intellectual abilities for handling a situation or accomplishing any task”.
Intelligence has three common aspects:
1. Practical problem:
Solving abilities such as reasoning logically, seeing all sides of a problem and open mindedness.
2. Verbal abilities:
Such as appropriate communication skills and well-practiced reading skills.
3. Social intelligence:
Such as sensitivity to social cues, interest in one’s surroundings, and a concern for important norms (Sternberg 1981).
Essay on the Theories of Intelligence:
1. Factor theory of intelligence
2. Cognitive models process-oriented theories.
1. Factor Theory:
1. Theorists who have studied the organization of mental ability.
2. Primary interest is in identifying the factor of factors which constitute intelligence.
3. Intelligence is a single characteristic, or it is a collection of specific distinguishable abilities.
4. A statistical technique known as factor analysis is used.
2. G-Factor Theory:
1. British psychologist Charles Spearman (1921) proposed that a broad general intelligence (G) factor lay beneath the surface.
2. Spearman noted that a number of different cognitive tasks and intellectual measures tend to be correlated with one another that is people who score high on one hand tend to score high on the others as well.
3. Using factor analysis, he found a single common factor G shared by various tests.
4. He said each individual’s intellectual task taps both general intelligence or some other abilities specific for the particular task.
For example, an arithmetic test might tap both G and A specific mathematical abilities.
5. Spearman’s views are called as factor theory—Intelligence tests that yield a single score such as an IQ.
Spearman’s two-factor theory:
This theory was advocated by Spearman. According to him every different intellectual activity involves a general factor ‘g’ which is shared with all intellectual activities and a specific factors which it shares with none.
In this way, he suggested that there is something which night be called general intelligence—a sort of general mental energy running through all different tasks but in addition to this general factor there are specific abilities which make an individual able to deal with particular kinds of problems.
For example, g + s/1 + s/2 + s/3 + s/4 + … = A
The factor g will enter in all specific activities. The total ability or intelligence of such an individual is symbolized as A.
It has been criticized on various grounds and the main reasons are:
1. According to this theory each job requires some specific abilities. This view was not proper as it implied that there was nothing common in the jobs except a general factor and professions such as those of nurses, compounders and doctors could not be put in a group.
2. Spearman said that there are only two factors expressing intelligence but as we have seen above there are not only two but also several factors.
1. In contrast to Spearman, several theories have concluded that intelligence has multiple components.
2. Most influential multifactor theories are of LL Thurstone and JP Guilford.
Thurstone’s Primary Mental Abilities:
Thurstone proposed that intelligence involves a number of distinct primary mental abilities. He believed that assessment of a person’s intelligence profile required measurement of all seven abilities.
Guilford’s Model of Intelligence:
According to Guilford’s model there are three distinct functions of intelligence; operations, content, and product. Each of these general functions can be further broken down to create a three dimensional model containing 150 different mental functions.
Each of these factors or functions is represented by a cell in the cube and in some combinations of these three dimensions:
(i) Five kinds of operations,
(ii) Six kinds of products and
(iii) Five kinds of contents.
i.e. 5 x 6 x 5 or 150 factors of intelligence are represented.
Each factor is represented by a cell in the cube and in some combination of these dimensions:
1. Five kinds of operation
2. Six kinds of products
3. Four kinds of contents (figural, symbolic, semantic and behavioural), i.e. 5 x 6 x 4 = 120 factors of intelligence are represented.
Hierarchical Theory (PE Vernon):
There seems to be some truth in both G factor theory and those theories that propose multiple factors. We can identify some ability factors that are relatively independent of one another, but when we do usually find some significant relations among the factors indicating that they share some sort of general intelligence factors.
Consequently, some (for example, Vernon 1950) have proposed that elements of G factor theory and the multifactor theories be combined to form a hierarchical theory. In such a theory intelligence is pictured as a sort of pyramid. At the top of the pyramid in G general intelligence which shows up in virtually all kinds of intellectual activity underneath it are several moderately specific ability factors like Thurstone’s primary mental ability.
At the bottom of the pyramid there are a larger number of highly specific abilities, similar to Spearman’s factors abilities that may come into play on one particular task. This hierarchical theory borrows from several factor theories to form a multilayered view of intelligence.
Process-Oriented Theories of Intelligence:
The factor theories of intelligence attempt to find the component parts of intelligence and how these parts fit together. An alternative approach to understanding intelligence is to focus on intellectual like pattern of thinking the people use when they have reason and solve problems.
These theories speak of cognition and cognitive processes rather than intelligence, cognitive psychologists use an information processing approach. They do not focus on the structure of intelligence or its underlying content of dimensions. Instead, they examine the processes involved in producing intelligent behaviour.
They are interested in how people go about solving problems and figuring out answers than in how many right answers people get, finally the process-oriented theories intend to focus on the development of intellectual processes like how the process change as individual mature.
1. Piaget’s Theory:
Jean Piaget (1970) is a process theorist. He has given us the stage theory of cognitive development, the stages of cognitive growth according to Piaget are:
1. Sensorimotor stage (first 2 years)
2. Pre-operational stage (2 to 7 years)
3. Concrete operational stage (7 to 12 years)
4. Formal operational stage (12 years onwards).
a. Thinking abstractly.
b. Hypothetical thinking:
Thinking about how things might be, if certain changes took place.
c. Deduction and induction:
Hypothetical and abstract thinking make sophisticated deduction and induction possible.
Deduction is rather reasoning from abstract general principles to specific hypotheses that follow from the principles.
Inductive thinking is the process of observing a number of specific events or instances and inferring an abstract, general principle to explain those instances.
d. Inter-propositional logic:
Formal operations involve the ability to judge whether propositions are logically connected to one another.
e. Reflective thinking:
The process of evaluating or testing your own reasoning. In Piaget’s views, intelligence is an adoptive process that involves an interplay of biological interaction with the environment. He views intellectual development as an evolution of cognitive processes such as understanding the laws of nature, the principles of grammar and mathematical rules.
2. Bruner’s Theory:
Yeroms Bruner (1973) is a process theorist who sees intellectual developments as a growing reliance on internal representation, bodies according to Bruner have highly action-oriented form of intelligence they “know” an object only to the extent that they can act on it. Young children know things by perceiving them and are consequently strongly influenced by the vivid perceptual characteristics of objects and events.
Elder children and adolescents know things internally and symbolically, this means that they are able to devise internal symbols or representations of objects and actions and have these mental images in mind. Bruner is interested in how these growing abilities are influenced by the environment especially by the rewards and punishments people receive for using particular intellectual skills in particular ways.
3. Information-Processing Theories:
These theories break down intelligence into various basic skills that people employ to take information, process it, and then use it to reason and solve problems. By breaking tasks and problems into their component parts and identifying the nature and speed of problem-solving processes, researchers have found out differences between those who score lower. Take for example, a college students who is asked to solve the following analogy problem.
Lawyer is to client as doctor is to:
(a) Patient or
According to Sternberg’s theory a student presented with this analogy tends to move through a series of stages in attempting to reach a solution.
First she will encode to initial information this means providing each item with identifying these cues. These cues help to retrieve relevant information from long- term memory. For example, she may think of lawyer in terms of law school, a court room.
Next she will infer any possible relationship that a client employs a lawyer or that a lawyer gives service to a client. Once she has inferred the relationship she must map the higher order relationship between the first half of the analogy and the second half, both deal with people who provide professional services for a fee.
The important stage which comes next is application. Here she comes out with answer by comparing the relationship she has inferred. She decides that a doctor provides professional services to a patient not to medicine. Finally, the last component of solving the problem is responding. Therefore, problem-solving involves the following stages: (i) Encounter problem, (ii) Information processing and (iii) Stages in solving analogies (Sternberg).
Essay on the Distribution of Intelligence:
The distribution of intelligence is not equal among all human beings, it varies as in terms of health, wealth, beauty and similar attributes. The distribution of intelligence can be studied in terms of individual differences, changes in age, sex and in terms of social or cultural differences.
Classification of IQ:
In accordance with the individual’s mental level as expressed in terms of IQ, attempts have been made by different investigations to classify them under different categories.
In the revised Stanford Edition of the Terman Merit Test this classification has been presented as follows:
The area under the curve between scores corresponds to the percentage in population between those scores. The scores on this IQ bell curve are colour-coded in ‘standard deviation units’. A standard deviation is a measure of the spread of the distribution. 15 points is one standard deviation for most IQ tests.
Nearly 70% of the population score between 85 and 115, i.e. plus and minus one standard deviation. Avery small percentage of the population (about 0.1% or 1 in 1000) have scores less than 55 or greater than 145, i.e. more than 3 standard deviations out.
A critical insight from research over the past decade is that IQ is not a fixed, genetically determined attribute. An individual’s score on the bell curve is not static. Over time—weeks, months or years—an IQ level can change substantially. Here is a general information on evidence-based methods for how to increase IQ for long-term.
Essay on Individual Differences in Intelligence:
The assessment of intelligence by various tests have given enough reason to believe that not only intelligence does vary from individual to individual but it also tends to vary in the same individual from age to age and situation to situation.
1. Intelligence and Changes in Age:
As the child grows in age, so also intelligence does as shown by intelligence tests. And also the age at which growth ceases, varies from individual to individual. It tends to stabilize after the age of 10 years and is totally stabilized during adolescence.
In majority of cases, the growth of a person’s intelligence reaches its maximum sometime between the age of 16 and 20 years after which the vertical growth of intelligence almost ceases. But the horizontal growth, i.e. with respect to achievement the realization of the intelligence in terms of accommodation of knowledge and acquisition of skills, etc. may continue throughout an individual’s life.
2. Intelligence and Gender Difference:
Many studies conducted to know whether men are more intelligent than women, showed no significant differences. It may be, therefore, stated that differences in sex do not contribute towards difference in intelligence.
3. Intelligence and Racial or Cultural Differences:
A research process was done by the research workers to check whether a particular race, caste or cultural group is superior to another in intelligence, and has been established that intelligence is not the birth right of a particular race or group.
The bright and dull can be found in any race, caste or cultural group and the differences which are found can be the result of environmental factors and influences.
Thus we can consider the intelligence is normally distributed in nature, i.e. a product of both heredity and environment, it grows with age and its vertical growth stops at 16 to 20 years of age, it shows a wide variety of individual difference but factors like sex, race, culture, caste and colour, etc. are not found to be influencing the degree of intelligence.