Generally, a person’s intelligence level is understood by his ability to solve a problem, power of reasoning and thinking, learning ability, decision making etc. However, intelligence is much more than just this. Various scholars have defined intelligence in their own ways. In general terms, we can say that intelligence is the ability to understand the world, think with rationality and to use resources effectively to deal with the challenges of life.

7.1 Construct of Intelligence :

The general ability of intelligence consists of the following specific abilities and capacities.

1. Adaptability to a new environment or to changes in the current environment.

2. Capacity for knowledge and the ability to acquire it.

3. Capacity for reasoning and abstract thought.

4. Ability to comprehend relationships.

5. Ability to evaluate and judge.

6. Capacity for original and productive thought.

7. Ability to learn from and about the external environment and to interact effectively with it.

All the above abilities and capacities can be combined into the three basic functions given below :

    1. Learning Acquiring, retaining and using knowledge is an important component of learning.

    2. Recognising Problems With the help of knowledge, people must first be able to identify possible problems in the environment that need to be addressed.

    3. Solving Problems People must then be able to use what they have learned to come up with a useful solution to a problem they have noticed in the world around them.


7.1.1 Definitions and Theories of Intelligence :

There is no standard definition of what exactly constitutes intelligence. Some scholars have suggested that intelligence is a single, general ability while others believe that intelligence encompasses a range of aptitudes, skills and talents. Some of the major theories of intelligence that have emerged during the last hundred years are as follows :

Alfred Binet (Uni – Factor Theory) :

* According to this theory, intelligence is regarded as an activeness which enables a creature to adjust itself to changing environment,

* People holding this view believe in inborn all-round mental efficiency as a sign of intelligence. This theory holds that intelligence consists of all pervasive capacities.

* Binet, Terman and some other classical psychologists supported this view. According to this theory, if one has a fund of intelligence he can utilise it to any area of his life.

* The intelligence of a person gets stamped in all what he thinks and acts.

* But in our practical life, we see contrary to this.

* A genial mathematical professor may be absent minded or social ill – adjusted. Further analysis of scores in an intelligence test battery shows that different tests in the battery are not highly correlated. Hence, it is suggested that the uni-factor approach is too simple and a complex model is needed to explain intelligence satisfactorily.


Charles Spearman (Two Factor Theory) :

* In 1904, Spearman proposed the idea that intelligent behaviour is generated by a quality within the human mind which he termed as the ‘general factor’ in human intelligence, calling it ‘g’.

* He said that this ‘g’ factor is innate and cannot be developed. Further, he said that another factor in intelligence was special intelligence.

* The special intelligence factor was more significant for individuals who accomplished high success results in tests. This factor could be developed with education and experience.


Louis Thurstone :

* His theory focused on seven different abilities which he called as ‘primary mental abilities’. The abilities that he described were as follows :

(i) Verbal comprehension

(ii) Inductive reasoning

(iii) Perceptual speed

(iv) Numerical or arithmetic ability

(v) Word fluency

(vi) Associative memory

(vii) Spatial visualisation

* Thurstone identified the above abilities after creating a set of 56 tests which were administered on 240 college students. From his analysis of the results, he developed his Primary Mental Abilities theory.


Raymond Cattell and John Horn :

* In 1966, they developed the Fluid and Crystallised Intelligence theory. They said that intelligence consists of two parts, fluid intelligence and crystallised intelligence.

* The fluid part is the biological aspect of intelligence and it is measured by calculating the speed of reasoning and memory capacity. Also, it increases into adulthood but decreases as a person grows old.

* The crystallised part of intelligence is the expansion of skill through learning and experience. The sources of new knowledge and new experiences are unlimited, so this type increases throughout life.


7.2 Multi-Dimensional Intelligence :

* In 1983, Howard Gardner proposed the Multi-dimensional or Multiple Intelligence theory. He stated that there were seven different types of intelligence. In the late 1990s, Gardner added one new type of intelligence, calling it ‘naturalist intelligence’. Thus, the different types of intelligence, according to Gardner, are as follows :

(i) Linguistic It involves sensitivity to spoken and written language, the ability to learn languages and the capacity to use language to accomplish certain goals. Writers, poets, lawyers and speakers are among those that have high linguistic intelligence.

(ii) Musical It involves skill in the performance, composition and appreciation of musical patterns. Musicians and composers have this intelligence in abundance.

(iii) Logical Mathematical It consists of the capacity to analyse problems logically, carry out mathematical operations and investigate issues scientifically. This dimension of intelligence is associated with scientific and mathematical thinking.

(iv) Spatial It is the potential to recognise and use the patterns of wide spaces and more confined areas. Artists and designers have more of this dimension of intelligence.

(v) Bodily-Kinesthetic It is the ability to use mental abilities to coordinate body movements. Mental and physical activity are related, so the potential of using one’s whole body or parts of the body to solve problems is covered by this form of intelligence. Athletes and sportspersons have this form of intelligence in high measure.

(vi) Intrapersonal This is the capacity to understand oneself, to appreciate one’s feelings, fears and motivations and to be able to use such information to regulate our lives.

(vii) Interpersonal This is concerned with the capacity to understand the intentions, motivations and desires of other people. It allows people to work effectively with others. Educators, salespeople, religious and political leaders and counsellors all need a well-developed interpersonal intelligence.

(viii) Naturalist This is the ability of recognising plants, animals and minerals.

* Gardner based his research on his studies of strange cases like

— people who had lost a mental ability and improved another

— people who excelled in one skill but not in others, and

— people who developed their skills in the absence of others.

* He concluded that there must be multiple independent bits of intelligence that explain the strange cases that he studied.



Some other psychologist propounded some other theories of intelligence.These are given below : 

Robert Sternberg (1949) : 

* He formulated the Triarchic Theory of Intelligence in 1985. This theory was among the first to go against the psychometric approach to intelligence and take a more cognitive approach.

* He said that intelligence is how well an individual deals with environmental changes throughout one’s lifespan. Sternberg’s theory comprises three parts, which are as follow.

(i) Componential This is associated with analytical giftedness, which is helpful in being able to take apart problems and being able to see solutions not seen by those less gifted.

(ii) Experiential This deals with how well a task is performed with regard to how familiar it is, i.e. whether it is a novelty (not done before) or automated (done many times earlier and can be performed without much thinking).

(iii) Practical or Contextual This deals with the mental activity involved in reaching ‘fitting to context’. Through the three processes of adaptation, shaping, and selection, individuals create an ideal fit between themselves and their environment. This type of ability is often referred to as being ‘street smart’.

(iv) Edward Thorndike (Multiple factor) He identified four key factors to measure intelligence. These were as follows

— Level of difficulty of a task.

— Range of the different tasks of the same difficulty that a person can perform with consistency.

— Area of the various dissimilar situations at each difficulty level to which a person can respond’ effectively.

— Speed of response of a person to carry out an activity.

* Thorndike suggested that all tests to measure intelligence must test these four attributes.


George Kelley : 

* He is more well-known for his work on cognitive psychology, personality and personal construct.

* He suggested that intelligence comprises the following five mental abilities

(i) Comprehension

(ii) Memorising ability

(iii) Spatial ability

(iv) Numerical ability

(v) Perceptual ability

This is somewhat similar to the theories of Thurstone and Gardner.


7.2.1 Characteristics of Intelligence  :

Some typical characteristics of intelligence are as follow : 

* It varies from person to person.

* It is a process that develops throughout the lie of a person.

* It helps a learner to improve learning from the ‘ concrete ‘ to the ‘ abstract ‘.

* It enables people to differentiate between wrong and right.

* It enables learning and plays a major role in an individual’s success in life.

* It enables people to learn from past experiences.

* It is affected by heredity, the environment, education and experiences, but does not vary due to gender difference.


7.2.2 Measurement of Intelligence : 

Various individual tests have been used to test the intelligence of individuals. The two main individual intelligence tests are the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Test, the Wechsler Intelligence Test for Children (WISC) and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) for adults.


Stanford-Binet Intelligence Test : 

* This was originally developed in 1905 as the Binet-Simon intelligence scale by French psychologists Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon.

* It was administered to children to evaluate their performance (mental age) at a given chronological age. Its features and history of development are as follow

     (i) The mental age/chronological age ratio, called a mental quotient, was used to evaluate a child’s learning potential.

     (ii) Lewis Terman of Stanford University revised the Binet-Simon scale in 1916. The revised scale, called the Stanford-Binet intelligence scale, retained the concept of mental and

chronological ages but introduced the concept of the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) arrived at by the formula

IQ= (Mental age / Chronological age) x 100

which allowed comparison between children of different ages. 

* It is a cognitive ability and intelligence test used to diagnose developmental or intellectual deficiencies in young children

* The test measures five weighted factors: knowledge quantitative reasoning, visual-spatial processing, working memory and fluid reasoning.

* The 1986 revision of this makes it useful for testing adults a well as children. The latest revision of this test was released in the year 2003.

* In this test, a person’s score for correct answers is compared to a table of scores of test takers of the same age (with the average score always scaled to 100, meaning that

* Mental age = chronological age). Scores between 90 and 110 are labelled as ‘normal’, above 130 as ‘superior’ and below 70 as mentally deficient or ‘retarded’.

* Mental age = chronological age). Scores between 90 and 110 are labelled as ‘normal’, above 130 as ‘superior’ and below 70 as mentally deficient or ‘ retarded ‘.


Wechsler Intelligence Tests :

* David Wechsler ( 1896 -1981) developed the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) in 1939, revised as the WAIS-R Wechsler also developed the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) in 1949, revised as the WISC – R.

* The revised forms of these scales are still widely used. They contain two sub – scales, verbal and performance, which provide a verbal IQ and a performance IQ; the subscales are combined for the total IQ. Test score combinations may reveal other strengths and weaknesses to a skilled examiner.




1. A child may be poor in

(1) religious values

(2) social values

(3) aesthetic values

(4) None of the above

2. Positive correlation is found between creativity and

(1) intelligence

(2) achievement

(3) aesthetic values

(4) None of the above


3. Who propounded the Two factor Theory of Intelligence ?

(1) Spearman

(3) Guilford

(2) Thorndike

(4) Catell


4. Which of the following is not a ‘primary mental ability’, according to Thurstone?

(1) Arithmetic ability

(2) Associative memory

(3) Thinking speed

(4) Inductive reasoning


5. The Fluid and Crystallised Intelligence theory was developed by

(1) Sternberg and Binet

(2) Cattell and Horn

(3) Binet and Simon

(4) None of the above


5. The Fluid and Crystallised Intelligence theory was developed by

(1) Sternberg and Binet

(2) Cattell and Horn

(3) Binet and Simon

(4) None of the above


6. Crystallised intelligence depends on

(1) neurological development

(2) physical development

(3) learning and experience

(4) None of the above


7. Howard Gardner’s Theory of multiple intelligences emphasises

(1) conditioning skills in students

(2) general intelligence

(3) common abilities required in school

(4) the unique abilities of each individual


8. Which one of the following intelligences gives one the ability to manipulate and create mental images in order to solve problems and is not limited to visual domains?

(1) Spatial intelligence

(2) Linguistic intelligence

(3) Musical intelligence

(4) Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence


9. _____ intelligence is the ability to understand and discern the feelings and intentions of others while …… intelligence is the ability to understand one’s own feelings and motivations.

(1) Interpersonal, intrapersonal

(2) Intrapersonal, interpersonal

(3) Interpersonal, social

(4) Social, intrapersonal


10. Which one of the following is a critique of theory of Multiple Intelligences?

(1) Multiple intelligences are only the “talents’ present in intelligence as a whole

(2) Multiple intelligences allow students to discover their propensities

(3) It overemphasises practical intelligence

(4) It cannot be supported by empirical evidence at all


11. Which of the following observations supports Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences?

(1) Different intelligences are hierarchical in nature

(2) Teachers should follow one specific theory of educational innovation at the time of designing instruction.

(3) Damage to one part of the brain affects only a particular ability sparing others.

(4) Intelligence is an interaction of analytical, creative and practical intelligences.


12. Gardner initially formulated seven intelligences. Which among the following is not one of them?

(1) Spatial 

(2) Linguistic

(3) Interpersonal 

(4) Naturalist


13. Intelligence theory incorporates the mental processes involved in intelligence (i.e. meta- components) and the varied forms that intelligence can take (i.e. creative intelligence). This refers to

(1) Spearman’s ‘g’ factor

(2) Sternberg’s Triarchic theory of intelligence

(3) Savant theory of intelligence

(4) Thurstone’s primary mental abilities


14. In the context of major theories of intelligence, match the following.

Name of the propounder : 

1. Spearman
2. Thurstone
3. Sternberg
4. Gardner

Name of the theory :

A. Successful intelligence comprises three different factors: Analytical, creative and practical intelligence.
B. Concluded that intelligence is general cognitive ability that could be measured and numerically expressed.
C. Describes eight distinct intelligences that are based on skills and are valued within different cultures.
D. Focused on seven different “primary mental abilities” e.g. reasoning, perceptual, numerical ability etc.

     A B C D
(1) 1 2 3 4
(2) 2 4 1 3
(3) 3 4 1 2
(4) 2 4 3 1

15. IQ = (Mental age/Chronological age) x100 was propounded by

(1) Revised Stanford-Binet scale

(2) Minnesota paper form board test

(3) Binet-Simon

(4) None of the above

16. Under ordinary conditions, an individual’s IQ is supposed to remain the same throughout the age limits covered by the scale. This property is known as

(1) Constancy of IQ

(2) Deviation of IQ

(3) Both (1) and (2)

(4) Neither (1) nor (2)

17. A child with Intelligence Quotient 105 will be classified as

(1) superior intelligence

(2) above average intelligence

(3) normal or average intelligence

(4) dull


18. An 11 years old child’s score on Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale is 130. By assuming ? =100 and s = 15 in a normal probability curve, calculate the percentage of 11 years old children, this child has scored better than.

(1) 78%

(2) 80%

(3) 98%

(4) 88%


19. Binet-Simon tests measure

(1) general intelligence

(2) specific intelligence

(3) attitude

(4) aptitude


20. A student’s chronological age is 10 years and mental age is 12 years. His IQ will be

(1) 80

(2) 100

(3) 120

(4) 140


Previous Years Questions


21. Which of the following is not a sign of an intelligent young child?

(1) One who has the ability to cram long essays very quickly

(2) One who has the ability to communicate fluently and appropriately

(3) One who carries on thinking in an abstract manner

(4) One who can adjust oneself in a new environment


22. A child of 16 years scores 75 in an IQ test his mental age will be ……. years.

(1) 15

(2) 12

(3) 8

(4) 14


23. IQ scores are generally correlated with academic performance.

(1) moderately

(3) perfectly

(2) least

(4) highly


24. Theory of multiple intelligences implies the following except

(1) emotional intelligence is not related to IQ

(2) intelligence is a distinct set of processing operations used by an individual to solve problems

(3) disciplines should be presented in a numbers of ways

(4) learning could be assessed through a variety of means


25. The following three aspeets of intelligence are dealt by Sternberg’s Triarchie Theory except

(1) contextual

(2) componential

(3) social

(4) experiential


26. Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences emphasises

(1) conditioning skills in students

(2) general intelligence

(3) common abilities required in school

(4) the unique abilities of each individual


27. Following are the critical views about the “Theory of Multiple Intelligences’, except

(1) it is not research-based

(2) different intelligences demand different methods for different students

(3) gifted students usually excel in a single domain

(4) it lacks of empirical support


28. Theory of Multiple Intelligences’ cannot be legitimised as it

(1) is not possible to measure different intelligences as there are no specific tests

(2) does not place equal importance on all seven intelligences

(3) is based only on sound empirical studies done by Abraham Maslow throughout his life

(4) is not compatible with general intelligence ‘g’, which is most important


29. Which of the following is a form of Sternberg’s Triarchic Theory of Intelligence?

(1) Practical Intelligence

(2) Experimental Intelligence

(3) Resourceful Intelligence

(4) Mathematical Intelligence


30. Who developed the first intelligence test?

(1) David Wechsler

(2) Alfred Binet

(3) Charles Edward Spearman

(4) Robert Sternberg


31. Learning abilities in Mathematics can be assessed most appropriately by which of the following tests?

(1) Aptitude test

(2) Diagnostic test

(3) Screening test

(4) Achievement test


32. Which of the following skills is associated with emotional intelligence?

(1) Memorising

(2) Motor processing

(3) Envisaging

(4) Empathising


33. Which of these does not imply practical intelligence in the Triarchic theory?

(1) Re-shaping the environment

(2) Thinking practically about oneself only

(3) Choosing an environment in which you can succeed

(4) Adapting to the environment


34. Intelligence is

(1) a set of capabilities

(2) a singular and generic concept

(3) the ability to imitate others

(4) a specific ability

35. Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligence (MI) suggests that

(1) intelligence is solely determined by IQ tests

(2) teachers should use MI as a framework for devising alternate ways to teach the subject matter

(3) ability is destiny and does not change over a period of time

(4) every child should be taught every subject in eight different ways in order to develop all the intelligences.



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