Module 29 Page 1
Introduction to Intelligence
Intelligence - mental quality consisting of the ability to learn from experience, solve problems
and use knowledge to adapt to new situations. People assign the term to the qualities that
enable success in their own time and in their own culture.
Intelligence Test - a method for assessing an individual's mental aptitudes and comparing them
with those of others, using numerical scores.
Is Intelligence one General Ability or Several Specific Abilities?
Charles Spearman (1863 - 1945) believed we have one General Intelligence - a general
intelligence factor that underlies specific mental abilities and is therefore measured by every
task on an intelligence test.
He granted that people often have special abilities that stand out and he helped develop Factor
Analysis - a statistical procedure that identifies clusters of related items on a test, used to
identify different dimensions of performance that underlie a person's total score.
LL Thurstone (1887 - 1955) identified 7 clusters of mental abilities (word fluency, verbal
comprehension, spatial ability, perceptual speed, numerical ability, inductive reasoning, and
memory). It was still found that those who scored high in one area generally scored well on the
others. Still concluding that there is some evidence of a common g factor.
Satoshi Kanazawa (2004, 2010) argues general intelligence evolved as a form of intelligence
that helps people solve novel problems - stop a fire from spreading, find food during a drought
etc. While common intelligence - how to read a stranger's face or how to mate, require a
General intelligence scores do correlate with solving various novel problems but do not correlate
with individual's skills in evolutionarily familiar situations - marrying, forming close relationships,
and navigating without a map.
...Academic and Social skills may come in different bodies.
Theories of Multiple Intelligences
Howard Gardner's 8 Intelligences (1983, 2006)
Savant Syndrome - a condition in which a person otherwise limited in mental ability has an
exceptional specific skill, such as computation or drawing. About 4 in 5 people with this are
males, and many also have autism a developmental disorder.
Kim Peek, the inspiration for Rain Man did not have autism. He could read and remember a
page in 8-10 seconds & give travel directions to any US city after looking at a map.
The recipe for success combines talent with grit: those who become highly successful tend also
to be conscientious, well-connected, and doggedly energetic. With humans, performance tends
to peak near midlife. Module 29 Page 2
Sternberg's 3 Intelligences
1. Analytical (academic problem-solving) Intelligence - assessed by intelligence tests
Ex. Predicts school grades modestly.
2. Creative Intelligence - demonstrated in reacting adaptively to novel situations and
generating novel ideas.
3. Practical Intelligence - required for everyday tasks, ill-defined with multiple solutions. Ex.
Skill at writing effective memos, motivating people, reading people, delegating tasks &
promoting one's own career.