Models of Intelligence


Intelligence commonly refers to  capabilities to form ideas, find solutions to a problem, think in an abstract manner, comprehend languages, and learn new skills - Models of Intelligence introduction. We all owe these aspects to intelligence. Yet intelligence is a vague notion that psychologists have a myriad of theories in order to  ascertain the very essence of intelligence. Psychologist Howard Gardner proposed an educational theory called multiple intelligence theory. It suggests that each individual exhibits a plethora of  intelligences which they show in varying degrees. Another theory is from Robert Sternberg called the triachic theory of intelligence and the investment theory of creativity that suggests in the environment of ideas, the most creative and innovative individuals “buy low yet sell high”.  Lastly, Charles Spearman proposed the cognitive theory of general intelligence factor in order to quantify the scores in all intelligence tests and to determine certain similiraties in it. Arguably, these theories either complement or deter each other’s credibility.

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Theories of Intelligence

Howard Gardner’s theory contradicts the conventional definition of intelligence due to the notion that each individual manifests their distinct set of intelligence in a subjective manner. This leads us to the notion that each individual has a distinct cognitive profile. Gardner’s theory suggests that an individual who has superior intelligence in a certain field cannnot be assumed superior in other fields as well. For instance, a person who has an exceptional intelligence in the field of mathematics cannot be deduced to having superior mastery in poetry. One notable application of Gardner’s theory is the use of several case studies that was used in determining exceptional intelligence in people with mental disabilities. He called this Savant Syndrome. Individuals who exhibit unique inclinations in art or have unparalleled feats of memory yet are mentally handicapped are those who have Savant Syndrome (Gardner, 1983). Garner’s critics constantly contest his theories and associate it with the “G factor” or Charles Spearman’s theory of general intelligence factor.

Both Spearman’s and Gardner’s theories complements the notion of single dominant type of intelligence. Spearman’s theory of the G factor or general intelligence suggests that there is one similarity in a set of intelligence tests (Spearman, 1940). In an experiment by Spearman, The grades of students in a series of unrelated subjects have positive correlations which suggested that it was influenced by the G factor or the dominant factor of general intelligence. Spearman created a model in which all similaraties and differences of test scores. Two factors were considered. The first one was to gauge the dominant skill of a person from the skills he has the least mastery of. Secondly, The G factor is the one responsible for the organization of cognitive tasks (Spearman, 1940).

Psychologist Robert Sternberg’s theory would prove an anti-thesis of both Gardner’s and Spearman’s models of intelligence. Sternberg believed that intelligences tests measured mental abilities like comprehension, memory, and problem-solving. Yet Sternberg felt that this was unbecoming for an apt psychologist. Sternberg did not assumed that intelligence is gauged through intelligence alone but rather through the correlation between an individual’s intelligence and behavior. Sternberg emphasized that certain types of “measurable” mental skills is irrational and shallow (Sternberg, 1977). Spearman’s conviction is that with such study of intelligence, only a portion of intelligence is seen, and is only limited to the understanding of individuals who have formal schooling (Sternberg, 1977). Amidst the principles he stood for, Sternberg’s theories have received criticisms as well. It lacked empirical data that lead to the proliferation of various intelligences that had similiraties with Gardner’s theories (Sternberg, 1977).




Gardner.H,. (1983). Multiple Intelligences. Frames of Mind:Theory of Multiple Intelligences.

pp. 5, 56

Sternberg, R. J. (1977): Intelligence, information processing,and analogical reasoning: The        componential analysis of human abilities. New Jersey.

Spearman,C. (1940). General Intelligence: objectively determined and measured. American Journal        of Psychology.


























































































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