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THEORIES OF INTELLIGENCE

Is intelligence a general characteristic that affects all facets of behavior, or are there different kinds of intelligence, each affecting a spesific facet of behavior? Today intelligence researchs tend to assume there are several kinds of intelligence (Sternberg & Wagner, 1993). The notion that intelligence is positively correlated with faster brains in explored in the Psychology Versus Common Sense feature
While intelligence is one of the most talked about subjects within psychology, there is no standard definition of what exactly constitutes 'intelligence.' Some researchers have suggested that intelligence is a single, general ability, while other believe that intelligence encompasses a range of aptitudes, skills and talents.
Charles Spearman - General Intelligence:
British psychologist Charles Spearman (1863-1945) described a concept he referred to as general intelligence, or the g factor. After using a technique known as factor analysis to to examine a number of mental aptitude tests, Spearman concluded that scores on these tests were remarkably similar. People who performed well on one cognitive test tended to perform well on other tests, while those who scored badly on one test tended to score badly on other. He concluded that intelligence is general cognitive ability that could be measured and numerically expressed (Spearman, 1904).
Louis L. Thurstone - Primary Mental Abilities:
Psychologist Louis L. Thurstone (1887-1955) offered a differing theory of intelligence. Instead of viewing intelligence as a single, general ability, Thurstone's theory focused on seven different "primary mental abilities" (Thurstone, 1938). The abilities that he described were:
• Verbal comprehension
• Reasoning
• Perceptual speed
• Numerical ability
• Word fluency
• Associative memory
• Spatial visualization
Robert Sternberg - Triarchic Theory of Intelligence:
Psychologist Robert Sternberg defined intelligence as "mental activity directed toward purposive adaptation to, selection and shaping of, real-world environments relevant to one’s life" (Sternberg, 1985, p. 45). While he agreed with Gardner that intelligence is much broader than a single, general ability, he instead suggested some of Gardner's intelligences are better viewed as individual talents. Sternberg proposed what he refers to as 'successful intelligence,' which is comprised of three different factors:
• Analytical intelligence: This component refers to problem-solving abilities.
• Creative intelligence: This aspect of intelligence involves the ability to deal with new situations using past experiences and current skills.
• Practical intelligence: This element refers to the ability to adapt to a changing environment.
While there has been considerable debate over the exact nature of intelligence, no definitive conceptualization has emerged. Today, psychologists often account for the many different theoretical viewpoints when discussing intelligence and acknowledge that this debate is ongoing.
The study and measurement of intelligence has been an important research topic for nearly 100 years IQ is a complex concept, and researchers in this field argue with each other about the various theories that have been developed. There is no clear agreement as to what constitutes IQ or how to measure it. There is an extensive and continually growing collection of research papers on the topic. Howard Gardner (1983, 1993), Robert Sternberg (1988, 1997), and David Perkins (1995) have written widely sold books that summarize the literature and present their own specific points of view.
The following definition is a composite from various authors. Intelligence is a combination of the ability to:
1. Learn. This includes all kinds of informal and formal learning via any combination of experience, education, and training.
2. Pose problems. This includes recognizing problem situations and transforming them into more clearly defined problems.
3. Solve problems. This includes solving problems, accomplishing tasks, fashioning products, and doing complex projects.
This definition of intelligence is a very optimistic one. It says that each of us can become more intelligent. We can become more intelligent through study and practice, through access to appropriate tools, and through learning to make effective use of these tools (Perkins, 1995).
PBL can be used as a vehicle in which students can use and improve their intelligence. More detail on the work of Gardner, Sternberg, and Perkins is given in the next three subsections.
Howard Gardner
Some researchers in the field of intelligence have long argued that people have a variety of different intelligences. A person may be good at learning languages and terrible at learning music--or vice versa. A single number (a score on an IQ test) cannot adequately represent the complex and diverse capabilities of a human being.
Howard Gardner has proposed a theory of multiple intelligences. He originally identified seven components of intelligence (Gardner, 1983). He argues that these intelligences are relatively distinct from each other and that each person has some level of each of these seven intelligences. More recently, he has added an eighth intelligence to his list (Educational Leadership, 1997).
Many PBL-using teachers have studied the work of Howard Gardner and use some of his ideas in their teaching. For example, in creating a team of students to do a particular project, a teacher may select a team whose collective "highest" talents encompass most of the eight areas of intelligence identified by Gardner. The teacher may encourage a team to divide up specific tasks in line with specific high levels of talents found on a team. Alternatively, a teacher may encourage or require that team members not be allowed to work in their areas of highest ability in order to encourage their development of knowledge and skills in other areas.
The following table lists the eight intelligences identified by Howard Gardner. It provides some examples of the types of professionals who exhibit a high level of an intelligence. The eight intelligences are listed in alphabetical order.
Intelligence Examples Discussion
Bodily-kinesthetic Dancers, athletes, surgeons, crafts people The ability to use one's physical body well.
Interpersonal Sales people, teachers, clinicians, politicians, religious leaders The ability to sense other's feelings and be in tune with others.
Intrapersonal People who have good insight into themselves and make effective use of their other intelligences Self-awareness. The ability to know your own body and mind.
Linguistic Poets, writers, orators, communicators The ability to communicate well, perhaps both orally and in writing, perhaps in several languages.
Logical-mathematical Mathematicians, logicians The ability to learn higher mathematics. The ability to handle complex logical arguments.
Musical Musicians, composers The ability to learn, perform, and compose music.
Naturalistic Biologists, naturalists The ability to understand different species, recognize patterns in nature, classify natural objects.
Spatial Sailors navigating without modern navigational aids, surgeons, sculptors, painters The ability to know where you are relative to fixed locations. The ability to accomplish tasks requiring three-dimensional visualization and placement of your hands or other parts of your body.
You might want to do some introspection. For each of the eight intelligences in the Howard Gardner list, think about your own level of talents and performance. For each intelligence, decide if you have an area of expertise that makes substantial use of the intelligence. For example, perhaps you are good at music. If so, is music the basis of your vocation?
Students can also do this type of introspection, and it can become a routine component of PBL lessons. Students can come to understand that they are more naturally gifted in some areas than in others, but that they have some talent in all of the eight areas identified by Howard Gardner. Curriculum and instruction can be developed to help all students make progress in enhancing their talents in each of these eight areas of intelligence.
David Perkins
In his 1992 book, Smart Schools, David Perkins analyzes a number of different educational theories and approaches to education. His analysis is strongly supportive of Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences. Perkins' book contains extensive research-based evidence that education can be considerably improved by more explicit and appropriate teaching for transfer, focusing on higher-order cognitive skills, and the use of project-based learning.
Perkins (1995) examines a large number of research studies both on the measurement of IQ and of programs of study designed to increase IQ. He presents detailed arguments that IQ has three major components or dimensions.
1. Neural intelligence. This refers to the efficiency and precision of one's neurological system.
2. Experiential intelligence. This refers to one's accumulated knowledge and experience in different areas. It can be thought of as the accumulation of all of one's expertises.
3. Reflective intelligence. This refers to one's broad-based strategies for attacking problems, for learning, and for approaching intellectually challenging tasks. It includes attitudes that support persistence, systemization, and imagination. It includes self-monitoring and self-management.
There is substantial evidence to support the belief that a child's neural intelligence can be adversely affected by the mother's use of drugs such as alcohol and cocaine during pregnancy. Lead (such as from lead-based paint) can do severe neural damage to a person. Vitamins, or the lack thereof, can affect neural intelligence.
Moreover, there is general agreement that neural intelligence has a "use it or lose it" characteristic. It is clear that neural intelligence can be maintained and, indeed, increased, by use.
Experiential intelligence is based on years and years of accumulating knowledge and experience in both informal and formal learning environments. Such knowledge and experience can lead to a high level of expertise in one or more fields. People who live in "rich" learning environments have a significant intelligence advantage over people who grow up in less stimulating environments. Experiential intelligence can be increased by such environments.
Reflexive intelligence can be thought of as a control system that helps to make effective use of neural intelligence and experiential intelligence. A person can learn strategies that help to make more effective use of neural intelligence and experiential intelligence. The habits of mind included under reflexive intelligence can be learned and improved. Metacognition and other approaches to reflecting about one's cognitive processes can help.

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Mahasiswa Magister Akuntansi di Universitas Mercu Buana, Karyawan di PT. Summarecon Agung, Tbk, Alumni STIE Indonesia'07, Psikologi UIN Jakarta '08,

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