Defining Intelligence Essay

867 words - 3 pages

Intelligence is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as being the capacity to acquire and apply knowledge. When knowledge is spoken of, it is generally used in terms of education. The extent of education a person has achieved is then what most often determines how much knowledge one has accumulated. Nevertheless, with this definition of intelligence in mind, one might possibly consider the average person to be intelligent. After all, even a person who has never gone to school a day in their life is capable of acquiring knowledge and applying it to some area of their life. Acquiring and applying knowledge could be something as simple as being shown how to mop a floor and then conducting the job using the newly gained know-how.
What one might gather from these different perspectives on intelligence is that any human being has some degree of intellect. A couple of theorists who developed theories based on views such as these were Howard Gardner and Robert Sternberg. They each offered compelling theories that originated from the viewpoint that a child’s intelligence can be thought of as a number of specific abilities (Santrock, 2009, pg. 300).

Howard Gardner proposed that there are eight types of intelligence. He suggested that everyone has all of these intelligences to some varying degree. The eight frames of mind that he suggested were: verbal, mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist (Santrock, 2009, pg. 301).
Robert Sternberg developed the triarchic theory of intelligence. This theory states that intelligence comes in three forms: analytical intelligence, creative intelligence, and practical intelligence (Santrock, 2009, pg. 300).
To sum up these two theories, one might say that intelligence is something that consists of many different abilities and is not restricted to one skill. Children, for instance, all have different areas in which they excel. A child who excels in school and is listed on the honor roll each term would obviously be considered intelligent. However, a child who is very talented in music but obtains bad marks in school might not be deemed a smart child by the average person; nevertheless, this child would also be considered intelligent.
Once a person has an idea of what intelligence is and what it means, a final thought one might consider is what influences are responsible for the different types of intellect. Two possible influences are genetics and the environment in which one lives, with genetics being the strongest influence (Santrock, 2009, pg. 302). Most researchers agree that a...

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