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

Theories of Intelligence

Various psychologists have tried to explain the concept of human intelligence and presented various theories which have improved our understanding of intelligence.

Some of the major theories of intelligence are as follows

Binet’s unifactor theory

Spearman’s two factor theory

Charles Spearman developed his two-factor theory of intelligence using factor analysis. Spearman proposed that his two-factor theory has two components. The general intelligence, g, influences the performance on all mental tasks, while another component influences abilities on a particular task.

Sternberg’s triarchic theory

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.” While he agreed with Gardner that intelligence is much broader than a single, general ability, he instead suggested that some of Gardner’s types of intelligence are better viewed as individual talents. Sternberg proposed what he referred to as “successful intelligence,” which involves three different factors:

Analytical intelligence: Your problem-solving abilities.
Creative intelligence: Your capacity to deal with new situations using past experiences and current skills.
Practical intelligence: Your ability to adapt to a changing environment.

Thorndike’s multifactor theory

  • E.L.Thorndike propagated the Multifactor Theory or the atomistic theory of intelligence.
  • Multifactor theory considers an individual’s intelligence to be a combination of numerous separate elements or factors, each one being a minute element of one’s ability.
  • As regards inter-correlations between different factors of intelligence, Thorndike assumes that this correlation owes mainly to commonalities of abilities.
  • Thorndike believes that in almost every intellectual task, some of the abilities are common and this causes the inter-correlations between different tasks.
  • Thus, according to Thorndike, the intellect is constituted of separate factors – minute and independent.
  • Thorndike’s theory in fact is an imaginary theory because his views suffer from lack of uniformity.

Thurstone’s theory of 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. The abilities that he described include:

Verbal comprehension
Perceptual speed
Numerical ability
Word fluency
Associative memory
Spatial visualization

Gardener’s theory of multiple intelligence

Guilford’s structure of intellect theory

  • Guilford’s theory involved a structure of the intellect.
  • Guilford and his associates proposed the theory of the Structure of Intellect on their attempt of factor analysis.
  • Guilford suggests that the mind is composed of 3 major dimensions namely: operations, contents and products
  • These three dimensions are further divided into sub-factors.
  • The Operations Dimension: As the name suggests, this consists of following operations or general intellectual processes:
    • Cognition
    • Memory
    • Divergent production
    • Convergent production
    • Evaluation
  • The Contents Dimension: The contents dimension includes the broad areas of information to which human intellect operations are applied.
    • Visual
    • Auditory
    • Symbolic
    • Semantic
    • Behavioral
  • The Products Dimension: The products dimension contains the results of applying particular operations to specific contents. There are six kinds of products in increasing complexity, they are:
    • Units
    • Classes
    • Relations
    • Systems
    • Transformations
    • Implications
  • In Guilford’s later researches, he expanded his cube shaped model of intellect by including 150 factors.
  • According to Guilford’s model, the structure of human intelligence can be viewed in terms of the three basic parameters along with their divisions into a specific number of factors.

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

Question Which one of the following is a form of Sternberg’s Triarchic Theory of Intelligence?
[Child Development and Pedagogy] [CTET-2014-09]
OptionsA) Practical Intelligence
B) Experimental Intelligence
C) Resourceful Intelligence
D) Mathematical Intelligence
A) Practical Intelligence
Question The following three aspects of intelligence are dealt by Sternberg’s triarchic theory except
[Child Development and Pedagogy] [CTET-2013-07]
Options A) contextual
B) componential
C) social
d) experiential
C) social
QuestionWhich of the following is Guilford’s theory of Intelligence?
Options A) Two dimensional Theory
B) Three dimensional Theory
C) Multi dimensional Theory
D) Hierachical Theory
B) Three dimensional Theory


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