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Theories & Defining Intelligence

Essay by   •  January 15, 2011  •  Essay  •  682 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,040 Views

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Today we seem to have a pretty good idea of how to define intelligence. There are basically two different theories that are focused upon today; one being the "general intelligence theory", and the other being the "multiple intelligence theory". Today I am going to focus on how each theory is proposed, and which one I believe fits into our society today.

The General Intelligence Theory

The general intelligence theory proposes that all intelligence comes from one general factor, known as g. (Encarta, 2006, Spearman). Psychologist Charles E. Spearman was one of the first persons to come up with this theory. He did extensive testing and research that lead him to believe that all mental tests had positive correlations. Spearman found that people who scored high on one test would also score high on other tests. He also felt that people, who scored low on one test, would score low on others as well. Spearman felt so strongly about this that he continued his studies by using a technique called factor analysis. This technique showed positive correlations of the underlying factor in these ability or IQ tests. This theory seems to make sense when you think about a person who does well on every IQ test they have taken.

The Multiple Intelligence Theory

The multiple intelligence theory proposes that we have multiple intelligences, each of an independent system of the brain. (Encarta, 2006, Gardner). Psychologist Howard Gardner proposed this theory of intelligence and felt very strongly about it. He argued that humans don't have underlying general intelligence, but that the brain had several parts to it and was responsible for multiple intelligences. Gardner focused his studies more on the biological part of the process, rather than the results of the mental tests. He did his research and testing on the human brain, believing that is was the major determinant of intelligence. During his studies he found that certain parts of the brain were responsible for certain physical functions. This is how he came up with the idea of there being seven different forms of intelligence. Multiple forms of intelligence were proved to exist when Gardner showed that one could have extraordinary intelligence in one area and none in another.

Which theory better fits in today's psychology?

The theory that fits better in today's society would be Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences. I would also have to agree in saying that I believe in Gardner's theory. It is the most practical and believable theory of them both. Gardner's theory has been accepted by more educators than any other simply because it implies that humans can have strengths



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