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What is Intelligence? Definitions, Theories and IQ Testing

Original Student Questions:

What is intelligence?
Compare the early and contemporary theories of intelligences?
How do we measure intelligence?
What are the characteristics of a good intelligence test?

Solution Preview

The definition of intelligence is an open and hotly debated question. To start off, it is important to distinguish between a functional or 'operational' definition which is required by in any experimental investigation of this topic, and the actual various meaning of intelligence. An operational definition, precise definition used experimentally, must be clear and ultimately quantifiable in some sense in order for it to have any value.

The most common general definition of intelligence is the ability to show flexible, personally beneficial, adaptive behaviour. This is a very general definition and ultimately it begs the question of what abilities and even traits form the basis of intelligent behaviour in humans. It also inevitably raises the issue of how socially defined perceptions of intelligence are since every society has varying measures of success and what constitutes successful adaptive behaviour. These answer to these issues is open to debate and therefore any possible measure that claims to capture even some aspect of human intelligence will hotly ...

Solution Summary

Following questions are discussed in detail:

What is intelligence?
Compare and contrast early and contemporary theories on intelligence.
How is intelligence measured?
What are the main characteristics of a good intelligence test?