Intelligence and Adaptive Behavior

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Intelligence and Adaptive Behavior
Melissa Furash
Grand Canyon University: SPE 351
June 17, 2012

Intelligence is a difficult term to define. It seems, at first, to be so clear that we all know what is intelligence. Once we start trying to define it the term seems amorphous, changing with each passing thought. British psychologist Charles Spearman concluded that intelligence is general cognitive ability that could be measured and numerically expressed. Dr. Spearman used Factor Analysis to evaluate multiple aptitude tests. He identified that people who scored well on one test would score well on others, while those who scored poorly on one test would score poorly on others.

Psychologist Robert Sternberg proposed that intelligence is "mental activity directed toward purposive adaptation to, selection and shaping of, real-world environments relevant to one’s life" (Sternberg, 1985). He believed that intelligence is made up of three factors. The first is Analytical Intelligence, which is used for solving real-world problems. The second form of intelligence is Creative Intelligence. This form of intelligence is used for identifying and adapting new situations by using past experiences and current skills. The third and final form of intelligence is called Practical Intelligence and is used to adapt to current events and a changing environment.

The debate on the true nature of intelligence is ongoing and so psychologists, teachers, and others tend to use the definition that most suits the situation that they are defining. The 2002 definition of Mental Retardation by the American Association on Mental Retardation (AAMR) is that “Mental Retardation is a disability characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills. This disability originates before age 18. The following five assumptions are...
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