Meaning, Definitions, Nature and Types of Intelligence

Intelligence has been defined in many ways: higher level abilities such as abstract reasoning, mental representation, problem solving, and decision

Meaning and Definitions of Intelligence

Intelligence has been defined in many ways: higher level abilities such as abstract reasoning, mental representation, problem solving, and decision making, the ability to learn, emotional knowledge, creativity, and adaptation to meet the demands of the environment effectively. More generally, it can be described as the ability to perceive or infer information, and to retain it as knowledge to be applied towards adaptive behaviors within an environment or context.

1. According to Woodworth and Marquis, "Intelligence means intellect put to use. It is the use of intellectual abilities for handling a situation or accomplishing any task."

2. According to Stren, "Intelligence is a general capacity of an individual consciously to adjust his thinking to new requirements. It is general mental adaptability to new problems and conditions of life."

3. According to Terman, "An individual is intelligent in proportion as he is able to carry an abstract thinking."

4. According to Wagnon, "Intelligence is the capacity to learn and adjust to relatively new and changing conditions."

Classification of Intelligence Tests

Types of Intelligence

I. As far as the administrative point of view is concerned the intelligence tests can be classified into two broad categories namely:

  1. Individual test:- In which only one individual is tested at a time.
  2. Group test:- In which a group of individuals is tested at a time.

II. Another way to classifying the intelligence tests is based on the form of the test. Accordingly there are two types of tests:

Verbal tests or Language tests:- These tests make use of language. Here the instructions are given in words (either in written or oral form or both). Individuals are required to use language as well as paper and pencil for giving the responses. The test content is loaded with verbal material.

Non-verbal tests or Non-Language tests:- These tests involve such activities in which the use of language is not necessary. The use of language is eliminated from test content and response except in giving directions.

Factors affecting Intelligence

1. Socio-Economic and Cultural Factors:- Persons with low socio-economic background or with backward or primitive culture do not obtain high scores or intelligence tests. In 1923 it was reported test I.Q. of gipsy children was only 70, because of their isolation from normal life and poor socio-economic and cultural back ground.

2. Home Environment:- Studies show that the children brought up in well-to-do educated and cultured family have higher I.Q. Freeman and his associates found that foster children when brought up in high class family gained 4 to 10 I.Q. points after 4 years.

3. Occupation:- Many investigations have revealed that there is a close relationship between occupation and I.Q. Army Alpha Test has indicated that Engineers, lawyers, teachers, doctors, business executives obtained highest scores. Next scorers were bookkeepers, photographers and policemen. In the lowest category were barbers, labourers, firemen etc. The studies shown that persons of high I.Q. are able to go to higher professions.

4. Urban Verses Rural Environment:- The results obtained while standardizing a revision of Standford-Binet Test proved that children belong to urban areas have superior I.Q. to the children who belong to rural area.

5. Educational Level:- Administration of Intelligence tests have shown that education and training do effect intelligence scores. Freeman and Holzinger have given conclusive evidence to show that identical twins with better education show higher intelligence. Some studies at the universities show that I.Q. is increased up to 10 points if better education is provided.

Characteristics of Good Intelligence Tests

"A good psychological test is essentially a purposeful standardized tool of observing the sample of individual behaviour, objectively and comprehensively."

The following are the criteria of a good test:

(1) Reliability:- Reliability means that the result of any test given in all situations and at any time if repeated should be invariably be almost consistent. If it is so the test is reliable.

According to Anastare, "The reliability of a test refers to the consistency of score obtained by the same individual on different occasions or with different sets of equivalent items."

(2) Validity:- The test should measure that very characteristics for which the test is constructed. This called the validity of the test. The validity of the test is done through various methods, such as, construct validity, content validity, concurrent validity, predictive validity etc. Hence a good intelligence test should always be valid.

(3) Objectivity:- All types of tests should be objective. The objectivity of any test depends on two things. First the test should include those test items or statements which are according to the level of testee. The test items included in the test should bear a definite response. One question should have the possibility of one answer only. If it is not so the test cannot be valid. A non-valid test cannot be a reliable test because it cannot measure that ability correctly and meaningfully which we want to measure.

Second, the administration and evaluation of the test should be in objective manner. For this, a key of definite responses is prepared and according to that key the test should be assessed.

(4) Economical:- A good test should be economical in respect of money, time and manpower. It is very difficult to use these tests which are not economical.

(5) Scorability:- Intelligence tests should be simple so that scoring of tests responses may be easily done. The scoring methods should be such that these can be used by every person. If the scoring method is easy. the interpretation of secured scores will also be easy.

(6) Acceptability:- Good intelligence tests are easily acceptable and can be used by every person in all situations. For example Binet-Simon Intelligence Scale is one of the most acceptable tests.

(7) Representativeness:- Good intelligence tests have the characteristic of representativeness. Those aspects for which intelligence tests are constructed, are measured in a representative manner.

(8) Comprehensiveness:- A good intelligence test should be very comprehensive. It includes items with the help of which majority of aspects of intelligence are measured in order to fulfill its aim.

(9) Interesting Practical:- One of characteristics of good intelligence test is that it should be interesting and practical. The practicability of intelligence test is that it includes of such activities which an individual can perform conveniently. Such activities should be included in which children take interest and can perform easily.

According to Woolworth, "Intelligence means intellect put to use. It is the use of intellectual abilities for handling situations or accomplishing only task."

Importance of Intelligence Tests

Psychologists have shown keen interest in knowing the specific mental abilities of the individual right from the beginning. Intelligent tests provide useful information about these mental abilities such as in academic, vocational, personal counselling situations and many other areas. Present is the age of explosions in sphere of knowledge, ambition and population resulting in vigorous competition. In schools these tests are used for the following reasons:

(1) For Classification:- In schools students are classified on the basis of intelligence. The classes of the students with higher intelligence can be arranged separately and with that of lower intelligence separately. In this way the education can be made effective.

(2) For Guidance Purpose:- Intelligence tests are needed for educational and vocational guidance to the students. On the basis of these tests it is possible to provide proper guidance to them.

(3) For Selection Purpose:- The intelligence tests are needed in selection of various courses, subjects, scholarships or co-curricular activities.

(4) To Know the Individuals:- The intelligence tests are used to know the individuals and their potentialities. For child-centred education, it is essential to know the children.

(5) To Establish Aspiration Level:- On the basis of results of intelligence tests, the aspiration levels of the individuals can be established. The establishment of higher aspirations of persons with low intelligence would be injustice with the persons. In the same way for the persons with higher intelligence, lower aspiration levels would improper.

(6) For Promotions:- It is always proper to use the intelligence test to promote the students to the next classes. In the vocational fields, the use of intelligence tests is always advantageous so that the person may promoted according to their abilities.

(7) For Research Purpose:- The intelligence tests are used in many important research studies too.

From the study of above advantages we can say that importance of intelligence tests is increasing day by day in the modern education system. One cannot avoid the use of these tests.

Limitations of Intelligence Tests

Intelligence tests are not always useful in all situations. The composition of intelligence is yet to be determined. We cannot be sure about the correctness of results of Intelligence Tests. There is a great diversifications regarding the nature of the intelligence. Variations in intelligence are natural. In the presence of these variations the tests are not reliable and valid. Hence the defects in the tests are must. The description of defects or limitations of intelligence tests are as follows:

(1) Lack of Reliability:- Intelligence tests are generally unreliable. Reliability means some results of a test when it is administered repeatedly. For example, if a student secure 50 scores in a test today, after some days the same candidate should secure the same score in the same test. That test is called a reliable test. Intelligence test lack this characteristics. These tests do not give the same results.

(2) Not Accurate and Comprehensive:- Intelligence tests are neither accurate nor comprehensive because the nature of intelligence is uncertain. That is why these tests cannot be accurate. Further all the test items used in intelligence tests do not measure all the aspects of intelligence.

(3) Affected by Culture:- Intelligence tests are affected by the culture. As such students brought up in good and suitable environment secure better results in these tests than those brought up in backward environment. There is a shortage of cultural free tests.

(4) Lack of Standardized Tests:- There is always shortage of standardized intelligence tests. The tests of which reliability, validity and norms are called standardized tests, in these standardized tests all directions are clearly given.

(5) Exhibition of Guess Work:- In intelligence tests sometimes students make their responses as guess work which results in the incorrect measurement of the intelligence. Therefore, there should be such tests which do not entertain guess work.

(6) Lack of Prediction:- No prediction can be made on the basis of results of intelligence tests. Hence, in this context intelligence tests sometimes prove useless and invalid.

(7) Differences:- The sphere of differences regarding the concept of intelligence is very wide. The attitude of psychologists towards intelligence is also not correct. Due to this fact nobody tries to construct intelligence test with interest.

(8) Emphasis on Speed:- In these intelligence tests more emphasis is given to speed. But sometimes students, who are intelligent, show alowness in responding. In this situation intelligent students lag behind in intelligent tests.

(9) Inadequate Apparatus:- Sometimes the necessary apparatus of measuring intelligence are found defective, crude and incomplete in the laboratory due to which intelligence tests are not properly administered.

(10) Non Co-operation:- Sometimes students do not co-operate with teachers or psychologists who put on intelligence tests. Generally children are non-co-operative and do not pay attention to activities they are asked to accomplish.

Types of Intelligence

The research carried out identifies the existence of areas in the human brain that correspond to certain spaces of knowledge, all of which are distinct and relatively independent of each other. Here are the eight types of intelligence explained one by one.

1. Logical-mathematical intelligence

Their problem-solving ability is very striking and is often related to a type of non-verbal intelligence, i.e. they can know the answer to a certain problem long before they verbalize it. Children with this type of intelligence are good at solving mysteries or brain teasers, doing puzzles, logic exercises, counting or doing calculations, computer problems and playing strategy games.

2. Linguistic intelligence

Children with this type of intelligence are skilled and have preferences for activities such as reading, talking, telling stories and jokes, writing poems, learning languages and playing word games.

3. Spatial Intelligence

This type of intelligence shows patterns that prove the kid's capacity to think in three dimensions. People who develop spatial intelligence are good at solving spatial problems such as drawing and painting. reading maps, looking at pictures, solving mazes, or playing construction games.

4. Musical Intelligence

It is typical of children with an innate ability to learn different sounds, which translates into a great ability to sing, listen to music, play instruments, compose songs, enjoy concerts and follow different rhythms. This type of intelligence may notice off-key notes that others do not and can easily memorize songs and tunes.

5. Bodily-kinesthetic Intelligence

It is the ability to use the whole body in the expression of ideas and feelings, and the facility in the use of the hands to transform elements. Children who show kinesthetic intelligence are good at dancing acting, imitating gestures or expressions, playing sports, running, moving and jumping.

6. Intrapersonal Intelligence

It distinguishes those who know themselves best. These children like to work independently, set goals and focus on achieving them, understand their feelings and know their strengths and weaknesses.

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