NoteThis article covers following important topics of “construct of Intelligence” for CTET, State TETs and other teaching recruitment exams.

Concept of Intelligence and Its Nature & Functions

Theories of Intelligence

Measurement of Intelligence & Types of Intelligence Test

Concept of Intelligence Quotient

Concept of Intelligence and Its Nature & Functions

The Oxford Dictionary explains intelligence as the power of perceiving, learning, understanding, and knowing. Intelligence is a person’s capacity to acquire knowledge, apply knowledge & engage in abstract reasoning. Early intelligence theorists also used these attributes in defining intelligence.

Definitions of intelligence as per various psychologists:

  • Alfred Binet was one of the first psychologists who worked on intelligence. He defined intelligence as the ability to judge well, understand well, and reason well.
  • William stern defined intelligence as follows, “Intelligence is a general capacity of an individual consciously to adjust his thinking to new requirements. It is the general mental adaptability to new problem and conditions of life.”
  • Wechsler, whose intelligence tests are most widely used, understood intelligence in terms of its functionality, i.e. its value for adaptation to environment. He defined intelligence as “The aggregate or global capacity of an individual to act purposefully to think rationally and to deal effectively with his environment.” This means, intelligence includes 3 abilities namely, acting purposefully, thinking rationally and dealing effectively with environments.
  • Howard Gardner defined intelligence as the ability or skill to solve problems or to fashion products which are valued within one or more cultural settings.
  • Stanford University psychologist Lewis Terman defined it as “The ability to carry on abstract thinking.
  • “The capacity to acquire capacity.” H. Woodrow
  • Robert Sternberg defined intelligence as a set of mental abilities necessary for adaptation to as well as shaping and selection of any environmental context.

Spearman and General Intelligence

Charles Spearman was one of the researchers who helped develop a statistical technique known as factor analysis. Spearman believed that general intelligence represented an intelligence factor underlying specific mental abilities. All tasks on intelligence tests, whether they related to verbal or mathematical abilities, were influenced by this underlying g-factor.

Nature of Intelligence

E.L. Thorndike has classified intelligence into following three categories:

  1. Concrete Intelligence – Concrete intelligence is also known as mechanical 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 materials. This kind of intelligence is measured by tests in which an individual is asked to manipulate concrete materials. Engineers, mechanics and architects have this type of intelligence.
  2. Abstract Intelligence – Abstract intelligence indicates the ability to respond to words, numbers and symbols. Abstract intelligence is required in the ordinary academic subjects in the school. An abstractly intelligent person is able to discover relations among symbols and to solve the various problems with the help of such aids (symbols, formula, diagram, letter etc.). Good teachers, lawyers, doctors, philosophers etc. have this type of intelligence.
  3. Social Intelligence – Social intelligence means the ability of an individual to react to social situations of daily life. Social intelligence is possessed by those people who are able to handle people well and also have the ability to make friends easily and understand human relations. Adequate adjustment in social situations is the index of social intelligence. Leaders, ministers, members of diplomatic sources and social workers have it.

Characteristics of Intelligence:

The main features of Intelligence are the following:

  • Intelligence is the power or capacity of human being which helps to make reason, understanding and well-judgment. Intelligence is the capacity which is innate as well as acquired.
  • 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.

See, if you can answer below questions after reading this article:

Question Intelligence is
[Child Development and Pedagogy] [CTET-2016-02]
OptionsA) a set of capabilities
B) a singular and generic concept
C) the ability to imitate others
D) a specific ability
A) a set of capabilities
Question The factor ‘g’ in the Spearman definition of intelligence stands for –
[Child Development and Pedagogy] [CTET-2014-09]
Options A) genetic intelligence
B) generative intelligence
C) general intelligence
d) global intelligence
C) general intelligence
Question The concept of general and specific intelligence was given by
Options A) Charles Spearman
B) Louis LeonThurstone
C) Edward Thorndike
D) Howard Gardner
A) Charles Spearman


  1. Pingback: Concept of Intelligence Quotient – Preptoz

  2. Pingback: Preptoz

  3. Pingback: Measurement of Intelligence & Types of Intelligence Test – Preptoz

  4. Pingback: Child Development and Pedagogy Syllabus – Preptoz

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *