Essay about The Difficulties in Defining and Measuring Intelligence

2396 Words May 30th, 2013 10 Pages

Intelligence can be described in many ways with many tests focusing on an individual’s cognitive abilities and failing to account for the social and practical aspects of intelligence. Tests to measure intelligence vary immensely and test different types of intelligence; such as Emotional Intelligence, which has proved popular in more recent years. Although researchers are unable to agree upon a general definition of intelligence they do agree that there are 2 factors to be included in a broad definition: an individual’s ability to adapt to their environment and a capacity to learn from experience (Sternberg and Detterman, 1986). Tests do not , however, measure these components
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For example, Thurstone (1983) disagreed with Spearman’s theory of g and instead came up with his own theory of intelligence that included 7 primary components: verbal comprehension, reasoning, perceptual speed, numerical ability, word fluency, associative memory and spatial visualisation. He argued that the unilinear ranking of people (using standard psychometric tests without deviation) was not appropriate and that the essence of a person was in their individuality and how their primary mental abilities (PMAs) differed. Other theorists expanded on his primary mental abilities.

Gardner (1983) proposed a more inclusive concept of intelligence that he called Multiple Intelligence. His theory moved away from the traditional measurement tests that require you to memorise facts, do math, think logically and write perfect sentences. Instead he opted for a more varied approach to judging mental abilities. His initial classification system consisted of 7 categories, each covering a different area of intelligence: linguistic intelligence (ability to learn languages), logical-mathematical intelligence (problem solving in a logical manner), musical intelligence (ability to think in terms of notes, pitch and rhythm), spatial intelligence (solving problems visually, inside one’s head), bodily-kinaesthetic intelligence (control of muscle movements and hand-eye coordination), interpersonal intelligence (social skills; ability to pick up on moods,

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