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Intelligence-Individual Differences

By farheen17 Apr 17, 2013 1116 Words
Intelligence and its Development
Intelligence can be defined as the ability of an individual to think logically, understand different circumstances and solve them successfully by using the existing resources. Over the years, different psychologists have defined intelligence in several ways and also have come up with a number of methods to measure intelligence. The main purpose to measure intelligence was to aid those children who had lower intelligence in comparison to the other children of the same age group, by providing additional help, it would accelerate their development. This essay will mainly focus on the views projected by different psychologists about intelligence, the different methods of intelligence testing and the importance of emotional intelligence (EI). Nature and nurture both play a very crucial role which effects the development of intelligence in an individual. According to the early psychologists such as Spearman and Terman, every individual is born with a general level of intelligence, known as the intelligence quotient or IQ (Cottrell, 2003).This suggests that if an individual has high IQ or low IQ, they will possess that quality throughout their life without many changes occurring. Other psychologists such as Gardner believe that intelligence is a talent which develops in an individual through learning and hence the role of genes is very minimal. Raven’s Progressive Matrices was an intelligence test created by John Raven, which gave strong evidence that environment effects the intellectual performance of an individual (Cottrell, 2003). After further experiments, psychologists like Thurnstone, Gardner and Guilford came to a conclusion that there are multiple intelligences instead of a general intelligence. It is a known fact that every individual is different from one another in its natural endowments. Another philosopher, Raymond Cattell believed that intelligence constituted of crystallized intelligence, representing the acquired information and fluid intelligence, ability to use that information. Sternberg argued that intelligence are of three types; logical, capacity to resolve issues immediately, practical, using common sense to find solutions and creative, formulating new ways to solve complications. In order to assess these differences, a few scientists came up with different types of intelligence tests. Sir Francis Galton was the first scientist who put forward the idea of these tests. He tried to relate human behavior with Darwin’s theory of evolution. He provided feedback to a number of people who were evaluated based on muscular control, sensory acuity, body dimensions and reaction time (Myers, 2010). From these tests, he came to a conclusion that intelligence is computable and the majority of people fall in the average category (AllPsych and Heffner Media Group, Inc., Intelligence, para. 2). In 1904, two French psychologists, Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon developed the first successful intelligence test for measuring the academic performance of Parisian schoolchildren. Their key objective was to measure each child’s mental age, the level of performance naturally linked to a certain chronological age (Myers, 2010). The children took a number of tests which helped to study their cognitive development. It included reasoning and problem-solving questions which helped them to analyze the conditions provided to them. From the observations, Binet suggested that, in order to improve the mental age of a child, he should be provided with “mental orthopedics” such that, there is further development of their concentration level and strength of mind. He contradicts the theory proposed by Galton suggesting that his tests, fairly measured minor abilities of an individual. He also believes that his tests do not accurately measure the inborn intelligence of a child and it isn’t necessary that these tests are applicable to individuals all over the world. Binet’s worries were recognized after Lewis Terman tested his technique on California schoolchildren and poor results were attained. He then modified Binet’s test, by adding some items and crafting new age standards, which provided successful results. This came to be known as Stanford-Binet’s method of measuring intelligence. From these types of tests, German psychologist William Stern defined intelligence quotient. Basically, the IQ is the mental age of a person divided by his chronological age and it is multiplied by 100 in order to remove the decimal point (Myers, 2010). Originally, the formula was meant to calculate everyone’s IQ starting from children to adults but positive results were obtained only for children and not for adults. At present, IQ is just used to denote “the test-takers performance relative to the average performance of others the same age” (Myers, 2010, p. 417). Some psychologists like Guilford examined the existing tests and came to a conclusion that every test highlighted diverse primary skills. Today, the most commonly used intelligence test is created by David Wechsler and it is known as ‘Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale’. Two different versions of this scale are available for preschoolers and school children. It is ideal because it considers both verbal tests and performance tasks, and hence it doesn’t just provide the overall IQ scores of individual but also separate scores for verbal ability, memory and sensitivity. The other forms of tests that explore our intellect are aptitude tests and achievement tests. The former, predicts the capability to learn new skills and the later, reproduces what you have learnt (Myers, 2010). Success, fame and satisfaction are some factors that all individuals want to achieve. It isn’t essential that you will achieve these, by having a good IQ or an academic record. Some psychologists believe that emotional intelligence is very significant for the well-being of an individual. It can be defined as the ability to perceive, analyze and control one’s emotions. Emotional quotient or EQ, is how EI is calculated. Many programs have been organized, so that it helps to improve the emotional intelligence of children which will result in better academic performance and also train them to deal with complications in the future. To conclude, intelligence can be developed over the years and can be looked upon from different perspectives. It also makes us aware that along with a good IQ level, we need to possess a good EQ level as well. The tests invented by different psychologists measure various aspects of intelligence and thus, are not comprehensive. Nevertheless, these tests more or less help assess an essential faculty of humans and thus, may aid in scientific studies.

Reference List
AllPsych and Heffner Media Group, Inc. (1993-2003). Psychology 101: Memory, intelligence and states of mind. Retrieved November 8, 2011, from Cottrell, S. (2003). The study skills handbook: Intelligence and learning. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. Indiana University. (2007). Biographical profiles: J.P. Guilford. Retrieved November 9, 2011, from

Myers, D.G. (2010). Psychology: Intelligence. New York, NY: Worth Publishers. NCERT. (2007). Psychology. Delhi, India.

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