Intelligence doesn’t mean that someone is simply “smart.” It does not mean that someone is intelligent if they have a high IQ or gets straight A’s on their report card. It also does not mean that someone with intelligence can do all things well. There is more to intelligence than what our society has portrayed it to be over the years.
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Myers & DeWall (2017) define intelligence as having the “ability to learn from experience, solve problems, and use knowledge to adapt to new situations (p. 238).” There are several components to intelligence mentioned in the definition that goes above and beyond what grades someone makes in school. To be intelligent you need the ability to learn from your experiences, use problem-solving skills, and apply your knowledge to adapt to your environment and circumstances. Rather than the regurgitation of facts and figures, true intelligence would reflect that there is deeper comprehension where connections are made and concepts have been applied to other aspects of life.
Memorizing the medical terminology in Anatomy and Physiology class is one thing, it is another to be able to see how everything works together to understand functional and dysfunctional movement. Many might agree with the definition of intelligence but determining which theory of intelligence is more appropriate has become controversial. There are several theories of intelligence that are debated in psychology (and in Compass Honors High School PSYC 101 class). It originated with Charles Spearman’s theory of general intelligence (g) and then it developed over time with Howard Gardner’s theory about multiple intelligences, Robert Sternberg’s incorporation of creativity, and the concept of social or emotional intelligence. Every theory has is its fans as well as its naysayers depending on each’s perspectives of intelligence. However, cognitive psychologists are looking for answers to questions regarding one general ability or multiple abilities, how intelligence should be measured (or can it be measured), and which one is more valuable for success.
General IntelligenceCharles Spearman believed that people have a general intelligence (g) that can be measured on an intelligence test. The theory is that someone who has a high score in one area will have a high score in other areas. This is based on factor analysis, a statistical tool that searches for clusters of related data. Biologically speaking, general intelligence is like the concept of numerous neural networks in the brain that work together to enable our abilities to perform as a whole (Myers & DeWall, 2017). A familiar assessment for general intelligence is the IQ test. A criticism is that humans are complex and a general intelligence test is too simplistic. It is also argued that the IQ test is formatted without considering ethnicity, culture, and gender.
In opposition to the theory of general intelligence,
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