Intelligence Meaning and Types

20/04/2020 0 By indiafreenotes

One of the most important single variables, which affect schooling, is intelligence. Intelligence is the ability to acquire and apply knowledge. Success in school and colleges and in one’s own profession, social adjustment, possession of general information etc. are all associated with the concept of “intelligence”. The word intelligence is derived from the Latin verb ‘intellegere’ which means understanding.

According to Alfred Binet intelligence is the ability for judgement or common sense. Thorndike defines intelligence as “one’s capacity to deal effectively with situations”. For Jean Piaget, ‘intelligence is the ability to adapt to one’s surroundings’. In the words of Cyril Burt, “Intelligence is the capacity of flexible adjustment.”

According to David Wechsler (1977): ‘The global capacity to think rationally, act purposefully, and deal effectively with the environment.’

Intelligence is defined as mental capability that involves the ability to reason, to plan, to solve problems, to think abstractly, to comprehend complex ideas, to learn quickly and to learn from experience. It is not merely book learning, a narrow academic skill, or test-taking smartness.

In simple words, intelligence is nothing but thinking skills and the ability to adapt to and to learn from life’s everyday experiences.

Nature and Characteristics of Intelligence

Intelligence is not acquired after sustained labour. It is a gift from nature. Intelligence is not memory. An intelligent person may have poor memory. Intelligence is not a skill which a worker acquires after planned practice. Intelligence is not a guarantee of a good behaviour of the individual.

To understand the nature of intelligence we need to know the classification intelligence as given by E.L. Thorndike and Garret:

  1. Concrete Intelligence

It is the ability of an individual to comprehend actual situations and to react to them adequately. The concrete intelligence is evident from various activities of daily life. This type of intelligence is applicable when the individual is handling concrete objects or medicines. Engineers, mechanics and architects have this type of intelligence.

  1. Abstract Intelligence

It is the ability to respond to words, numbers and symbols. Abstract intelligence is required in the ordinary academic subjects in the school. This is acquired after an intensive study of books and literature. Good teachers, lawyers, doctors, philosophers etc. have this type of intelligence.

  1. Social Intelligence

It means the ability of an individual to react to social situations of daily life. Adequate adjustment in social situations is the index of social intelligence. Persons having this type of intelligence know the art of winning friends and influencing them. Leaders, ministers, members of diplomatic sources and social workers have it.

Thus we see the nature of intelligence as the ability for adjustment to environment, ability to perceive relationship between various objects and methods, ability to solve problems, ability to think independently, ability to learn maximum in minimum period of time, ability to benefit from one’s own experience and the experience of others.

Therefore, intelligence is an inborn ability of an individual, the distribution of intelligence is not equal among all human beings. There is wide individual difference that exists among individuals with regard to intelligence.

Characteristics of Intelligence

The main features of Intelligence are the following:

  • Intelligence is an innate natural endowment of the child.
  • It helps the child in maximum learning in minimum period of time.
  • The child is able to foresee the future and plan accordingly.
  • The child is able to take advantage of his previous experiences.
  • The child faces the future with compliance.
  • He develops a sense of discrimination between right or wrong.
  • The developmental period of intelligence is from birth to adolescence.
  • There is a minor difference in the development of intelligence between boys and girls.
  • There are individual differences with regard to the intelligence between boys and girls.
  • Intelligence is mostly determined by heredity but a suitable environment necessary to improve it.

Types of Intelligence

  1. Naturalist Intelligence

Naturalist intelligence designates the human ability to discriminate among living things (plants, animals) as well as sensitivity to other features of the natural world (clouds, rock configurations). This ability was clearly of value in our evolutionary past as hunters, gatherers, and farmers; it continues to be central in such roles as botanist or chef. It is also speculated that much of our consumer society exploits the naturalist intelligences, which can be mobilized in the discrimination among cars, sneakers, kinds of makeup, and the like.

  1. Musical Intelligence

Musical intelligence is the capacity to discern pitch, rhythm, timbre, and tone. This intelligence enables us to recognize, create, reproduce, and reflect on music, as demonstrated by composers, conductors, musicians, vocalist, and sensitive listeners. Interestingly, there is often an affective connection between music and the emotions; and mathematical and musical intelligences may share common thinking processes. Young adults with this kind of intelligence are usually singing or drumming to themselves. They are usually quite aware of sounds others may miss.

  1. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence

Logical-mathematical intelligence is the ability to calculate, quantify, consider propositions and hypotheses, and carry out complete mathematical operations. It enables us to perceive relationships and connections and to use abstract, symbolic thought; sequential reasoning skills; and inductive and deductive thinking patterns. Logical intelligence is usually well developed in mathematicians, scientists, and detectives. Young adults with lots of logical intelligence are interested in patterns, categories, and relationships. They are drawn to arithmetic problems, strategy games and experiments.

  1. Existential Intelligence

Sensitivity and capacity to tackle deep questions about human existence, such as the meaning of life, why we die, and how did we get here.

  1. Interpersonal Intelligence

Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to understand and interact effectively with others. It involves effective verbal and nonverbal communication, the ability to note distinctions among others, sensitivity to the moods and temperaments of others, and the ability to entertain multiple perspectives. Teachers, social workers, actors, and politicians all exhibit interpersonal intelligence. Young adults with this kind of intelligence are leaders among their peers, are good at communicating, and seem to understand others’ feelings and motives.

  1. Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence

Bodily kinesthetic intelligence is the capacity to manipulate objects and use a variety of physical skills. This intelligence also involves a sense of timing and the perfection of skills through mind–body union. Athletes, dancers, surgeons, and crafts people exhibit well-developed bodily kinesthetic intelligence.

  1. Linguistic Intelligence

Linguistic intelligence is the ability to think in words and to use language to express and appreciate complex meanings. Linguistic intelligence allows us to understand the order and meaning of words and to apply meta-linguistic skills to reflect on our use of language. Linguistic intelligence is the most widely shared human competence and is evident in poets, novelists, journalists, and effective public speakers. Young adults with this kind of intelligence enjoy writing, reading, telling stories or doing crossword puzzles.

  1. Intra-personal Intelligence

Intra-personal intelligence is the capacity to understand oneself and one’s thoughts and feelings, and to use such knowledge in planning and directioning one’s life. Intra-personal intelligence involves not only an appreciation of the self, but also of the human condition. It is evident in psychologist, spiritual leaders, and philosophers. These young adults may be shy. They are very aware of their own feelings and are self-motivated.

  1. Spatial Intelligence

Spatial intelligence is the ability to think in three dimensions. Core capacities include mental imagery, spatial reasoning, image manipulation, graphic and artistic skills, and an active imagination. Sailors, pilots, sculptors, painters, and architects all exhibit spatial intelligence. Young adults with this kind of intelligence may be fascinated with mazes or jigsaw puzzles, or spend free time drawing or daydreaming.