what did you think “intelligence” meant?

The assignment is to choose only two of my classmate’s post and reply to their post. One paragraph is enough for each of my classmates. Because it is like a discussion post try to be informal and use words like ( I agree/disagree, I like your points on…, I found your post really interesting, you have a good point…, when I read your post I…, I believe that ….) something like that (using the “I” word)

The question was:

You read about several ways that psychologists have defined intelligence. Before reading this chapter, what did you think “intelligence” meant? Has this view changed? If you had to write a definition of intelligence, what would it be, and why? Based on what you have learned about intelligence tests, how well do they measure “intelligence” as you would define it?

Your answer was:

At first, before researching the meaning of intelligence, I thought intelligence was the mental ability to learn quickly and to relate the knowledge and skills learned with the task given. My views on intelligence have significantly changed ever since I began researching it. This is because, during my research, I discovered that there are different theories and definition of intelligence especially in psychology where intelligence is one of the most talked about and controversial topics (Cherry, 2013). Throughout recent history, psychologists have anticipated various definitions of intelligence. They tend to suggest that intelligence involves mental abilities such as reasoning, logic, problem solving, and planning. Researchers have also proposed a range of theories to clarify the nature of intelligence. Some of these theories include verbal comprehension, numerical ability, reasoning, associative memory, word fluency, and constant speed.

During my research, I also identified another theory by Jean Piaget called “The theory of Cognitive Development” ( Pulaski, 1971). This theory explains how a child mentally adopts to the world through biological maturation and interacting with the surroundings. Due to schemas (the basic building block of intelligent behavior), a child can understand and respond to a situation ( Pulaski, 1971). For instance, infants have a sucking reflex triggered by something touching their lips. An infant might suck a formula, a dummy, or a person’s finger. As a result, the infant is assumed to have a sucking schema.

Therefore, if I had to write a definition of intelligence, I would say that intelligence is the level of ability to learn, recognize a problem, and solve the problem. This is because intelligence involves the acquisition of knowledge, identifying possible, and finally coming up with a solution to the problem using what one has learned.

The classmate’s answers:

Sarah’s answer:

When people describe a person as “smart” or someone else as “dumb”, usually they are deciding that based on factors such as the person’s grades, level of success, or speech. However, intelligence cannot be so easily defined – something I’ve realized before taking this course.

While I’ve understood that there are different types of intelligence, I have never read into it in any depth. That made this chapter much more interesting. Reading the various explanations of intelligence and methods of determining intelligence has expanded my understanding of the topic. I have never considered before this class how certain intelligence tests can actually be racially discriminating.

In retrospect, my definition of intelligence before reading this chapter may have been something along the lines of: “intelligence is the ability of higher-thinking organisms to process information and complete complex tasks.” I think our text defines it better, by saying “intelligence is the capacity to understand the world, think with rationality, and use resources effectively when faced with challenges”. I think this definition works well to include distinct types of intelligence, without restricting it to people that are just good students, for example.

There are many different means by which intelligence can be measured. I believe tests like the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children are valuable for their flexibility in administration, as a common problem with intelligence tests are confounding variables caused by method, interviewer, or types of questions. Sternberg brings up a great point that traditional IQ tests relate well to academic success, but not other types of achievement. As the study of intelligence and cognitive development continue, I hope we can continue to develop intelligence tests. The best test would (a) test for multiple types of intelligence, (b) account for differences in culture, race, and identity, and (c) be reliable and valid in method and assessment.

Jessica’s answer:

Before reading this chapter, I thought intelligence meant how smart someone is and how they apply it to their daily lives. My view has changed because it doesn’t always define how smart someone is. In our book, intelligence is defines as the capacity to understand the world, think with rationality, and use resources effectively when forced with challenges. I believe it’s very hard to measure intelligence because what makes someone more or less intelligent? Yes, there are many tests which are discussed in the text including ones IQ score but it also shows the disadvantages of measuring intelligence. This creates many controversies involving intelligence. In conclusion, you can take these tests, which probably have some benefits, but I don’t believe there very accurate. In my opinion, based off first impressions and work ethic, I notice when someone is intelligent. Not only do I see that a highly intelligent person is very knowledgeable but he/she is usually very bright.

Dana’s answer:

Before reading this chapter, I thought of intelligence as a sort of aptitude or proficiency at certain tasks. Areas where intelligence could be studied might be language skills, math and numbers, physical/kinesthetic, aesthetic, social or musical. After reading the chapter, I think I stick with that definition. This contrasts with the limited amount of parameters of intelligence which is measured by IQ tests, since they are, for the purpose of schooling, only looking at factors that relate to a traditional school learning situation. Therefore, IQ tests would not accurately measure the range of possible aptitudes that a person actually possesses.

Hannah’s answer:

Prior to completing the reading for this chapter, I was more apt to believe that someone who should be considered intelligent had a greater knowledge of a wide array of subjects and how to relate them to one another conceptually, as well as being able to identify practical applications for this information. I didn’t really consider any sort of physical activity to be a component of intelligence and instead would have categorized it as athleticism, and I would have said skill in art and music was part of creativity. After reading the textbook, I would say that I’ve widened my view of what intelligence encompasses to include these things and others. The book defines intelligence as “the capacity to understand the world, think with rationality, and use resources effectively when faced with challenges.” This has much broader applications than those I came up with on my own, and I found Gardner’s eight intelligences to be especially insightful. For example, I’ve always exhibited relatively high linguistic and interpersonal intelligence when compared with others my age, but and overall lacking in spatial and bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. I think what stuck out to me about his work was that it included a lot of aspects you traditionally wouldn’t think to include in intelligence tests meant to measure IQ. If I had to formulate my own definition of intelligence, it would probably be relatively similar to the one the book gave because that was somewhat of a more polished version of what I had wanted to originally convey. That said, I think the current intelligence tests would only be a moderate indication of an individual’s intelligence because they fail to assess all spheres of it and predominantly focus on learning through reading and listening in regards to predicted success in an academic environment as opposed to skills that can be applied to all areas of life.

Shereef’s answer:

Before reading chapter 8, I thought of intelligence as the capacity to learn. But I never really grasped how broad this definition was, because in my mind I often used it to compare animals like dolphins and chimpanzees. In a way I still stick by my definition, but I think its important to incorporate an element of problem solving, which in a way could be considered a form of learning, or at the very least it is closely related to learning. I like this definition because I think it takes into account people’s potential in many fields, by this definition human babies are highly intelligent. Meanwhile, an adult may not be as adept at learning certain skills, but an accumulation of high leveled specific knowledge, would make them very intelligent in certain fields. In the same line, an athlete may be highly intelligent in regards to certain physical skills, and an artist would be very intelligent in their ability to learn skills in their field. Going off of that, I think many modern intelligence tests would fail to display the full capacity of a lot of people, due to a focus on the componential aspect of intelligence which factors in academic success. In general, I think it might be lucrative to look at intelligence more qualitatively than we do today, and test a wide range of skills and abilities. Rather than a single sum score, I’d like to see a page of data relating to the specific strengths and weaknesses of an individual.

 

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