Human Intelligence Review Essay Example
Intelligence is a controversial phenomenon that is widely discussed throughout human history. This concept is extremely debatable because till nowadays the researchers have not succeeded in estimating the origin, methods of measurement, and other characteristics of intelligence. In other words, specialists in different spheres of science disagree whether it is an inborn feature and whether it varies by different ethnicities and races. Moreover, no one really knows if intelligence tests really measure intelligence of human beings. The given paper aims at determining, describing, and assessing the essence and nature of intelligence taking into account various perspectives.
Human intelligence is usually connected with intellectual abilities or capacities of humans. This concept is based on perception, self-awareness, as well as consciousness of people. Intelligence influences the ability to learn new information, form various concepts, find solutions to problems, communicate, use language for different purposes, and think. Many researchers believe that human intelligence gives an opportunity for people to achieve various life objectives and expectations easily (Wai, 2014).
The researchers differentiate various theories that describe the notion and essence of human intelligence. Besides, many experts that investigate the phenomenon of intelligence disagree if it is inherited feature or intellectual capacity that may be acquired in the course of life. The majority of theories of intelligence promote different opinions and ideas (Wai, 2014). For instance, faculty theory that explains the concept of human intelligence is considered to be the oldest one, as it was developed during the 18th and 19th centuries. According to the main idea of this scientific theory, mind of every human being consists of separate “faculties,” including imagination, memory, knowledge, and discrimination. Despite close interdependence of these faculties, each of them can be developed with the help of special trainings and techniques. However, critics of this theory claim that human intelligence is not subdivided into separate parts or, in other words, faculties (Wai, 2014).
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The proponents of UNI-factor theory of intelligence believe that human intelligence is associated with common sense. Charles Spearman is the founder of two-factor theory that explains the essence and functioning of human intelligence. According to the assumptions of the English psychologist, intellectual abilities of people are usually influenced by two factors that are commonly referred to as G and S. Factor G bears responsibility for general abilities of humans. On the contrary, factor S designates specific abilities of humans. In other words, psychologists associate G-component with inborn or inherited qualities and abilities. C-component depends on environmental impacts on human intelligence. Moreover, this factor may be shaped with the help of numerous activities that stimulate brain functioning and development (Wai, 2014).
It is rather important to note the fact that Thorndike’s multifactor theory of intelligence is no less popular than the previous psychological assumptions. Thorndike was deeply convinced that human intelligence should not be compared to general abilities of humans. In addition, he differentiated several attributes or components of human intelligence, including level, range, area, and, finally, speed (Pal, Pal, & Tourani, 2004).
Thurstone claimed that human intelligence was the combination or unity of psychological and functional factors. According to the main idea of verbal factor that was differentiated by Thurstone, ability to perform numerical calculations at high speed is the basic peculiarity of human intelligence. Besides, verbal comprehension and well-developed memory indicate comparatively high intelligence rates of humans. This professional in the spheres of psychometrics and psychophysics constructed wide range of effective intelligence tests on the basis of his own theory (Pal, Pal, & Tourani, 2004).
Such a well-known psychologist with worldwide recognition as J. P. Guilford developed his own structure of human intellect. He believed that human intellect consisted of several dimensions that involve content, product, and, finally, process. According to the point of view of this psychologist, every intellectual task should be analyzed on the basis of its content, required amounts of mental activities, and products resulting from these activities. Moreover, he classified such a dimension as content into five separate categories that contribute to human intellect. He supported the idea that human intellect is changed by numerous visual, mandatory, semantic, as well as behavioral and cognitive factors (Pal, Pal, & Tourani, 2004).
The intelligence theory established by P. E. Vernon informs that human intelligence consists of four main levels (Pal, Pal, & Tourani, 2004). The British psychologist was sure that environmental and genetic factors contributed to the development of human intelligence. He believed the genes ensured an opportunity for people to inherit intelligence. According to the estimations of this researcher, above 60% of human intelligence rates are influenced by genetic factors. In addition, he claimed that intelligence rates varied among various racial groups and ethnicities. R. Cattell, American psychologists and researcher who worked in the sphere of empirical psychology, founded “crystallized theory” of human intelligence. Taking into account the nature of this theory, genetic potentiality impacts the intelligence capacity. The researcher emphasized that his “crystallized theory” provided convincing arguments that past as well as new experiences influenced the intelligence rates of humans (Pal, Pal, & Tourani, 2004).
Howard Gardner is the author of multiple intelligence theory (Pal, Pal, & Tourani, 2004). Theory represented by this psychologist states that human intelligence is shaped by such factors as language, spatial representation, musical type of thinking, and even bodily language. Furthermore, the researcher claimed that educational system was extremely biased because it oriented on equal intelligence abilities and capacities of humans. On the contrary, the psychologist stated that human intelligence was not a universal measure that is equal among various people. He claimed that visual as well as spatial factors, appropriate use of kinesthetic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal relations, linguistics, and, finally, logical thinking positively impact the rates of human intelligence. Howard Gardner is a proponent of the theory that there are seven types of intelligence that are typical to various people. According to the main idea of this psychologist, some people possess the characteristics of visual and special intelligence. According to this intelligence, people are increasingly aware of their surrounding and environment. Verbal as well as physical imagery is typical to individuals that have this type of intelligence. Taking into account the second kind of intelligence, differentiated by H. Gardner, people are extremely good at using their body language (Pal, Pal, & Tourani, 2004).
They effectively communicate not only with the help of language, but with their body movements as well. This type of intelligence requires for further development real objects, compared to the visual-spatial intelligence “owners” who rely on diverse graphs, charts, pictures, videos, and other efficient tools. Musical intelligence is a considerably widespread type of intellectual capacity of humans that is based on increased sensitivity to sounds and rhythms. Individuals that have musical intelligence are very sensitive to musical sounds and noises that surround them. The psychologist claimed that the most effective tools that contribute to development of musical intelligence of people are various musical instruments, music channels on TV and radio (Pal, Pal, & Tourani, 2004). Interpersonal intelligence focuses on socializing, cooperation, and interactions with other people. Despite well-developed intuition, motivation, and very strong will, the “owners” of this intellectual capacity are sometimes shy and unconfident in their strengths. In the majority of cases, learners of interpersonal intelligence who are in tune with their emotions and inner feelings rely on independent study and privacy. Such tools as books and writings are beneficial for the development of their intellectual abilities (Pal, Pal, & Tourani, 2004).
On the contrary, intrapersonal intelligence deals with profound and accurate understanding of someone’s goals and intentions. This type of intelligence, as compared to interpersonal one, rarely involves group activities, dialogues, and other entertainments. It is important to note that such people are the most independent learners that do not like team work and activities. Linguistic intelligence is based on efficient use of vocabulary. Learners of this intelligence are characterized by well-developed auditory skills that give them opportunities to think in words. Finally, logical-mathematical intelligence, according to the classification of Gardner, is connected with calculating and reasoning. The learners who want to develop this unique ability of a human intellect should solve complicated puzzles, experiments, and games that require logical thinking. Thus, according to the main idea of multiple intelligence theory, all people are intelligent in different “spheres of intelligence,” as there are several basic types of human intelligence, including linguistic, logical, special, as well as motor, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and, finally, naturalistic intelligence (Pal, Pal, & Tourani, 2004).
R. J. Sternberg is the founder of triarchic intelligence theory. According to the estimations of this researcher, human intelligence consists of three main types, including analytical, creative, and practical subcategories. American psychologist claimed that analytical intelligence was connected with academic abilities of people. This type of intellectual capacity provides an opportunity for humans to solve problems, think, and acquire new knowledge. Well-developed problem-solving skills contribute to generation of quick and accurate solutions to complex tasks (Pal, Pal, & Tourani, 2004). Taking into account the nature of creative intelligence, it should be stressed that this intellectual capacity is defined by the researcher as the ability to adapt to novel situations and even get profits from new experiences. Finally, practical intelligence of humans may be commonly referred to as “street smarts.” Practical intelligence ensures an opportunity for people to adapt to the demands of changing environment. For instance, practical intelligence helps the newcomers to adapt to the expectations of employers and behavior of other employees (Pal, Pal, & Tourani, 2004).
Human intelligence has become the main target of molecular genetics not long ago. Even nowadays numerous researchers make attempts in order to estimate if genes are responsible for heritability of human intelligence (Plomin & Deary, 2014). With the help of high level of IQ, many people succeed in education, occupation, as well as physical and mental health or well-being. Heritability of intelligence is not a myth, but a reality which is supported by numerous convincing arguments. According to the results of statistics provided by the neuroscientists, heritability of intelligence may occur either in the period of infancy or in late adulthood. Such an innovative technique in the sphere of genetics as Genome-Wide Complex Trait Analysis proves that genes transmit not only physical traits, but intelligence that impacts social mobility, education, mortality rates, and functioning of a human brain.
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The notion of intelligence is incredibly significant from scientific and social perspectives. For instance, taking into account scientific point of view, intelligence deals with brain functioning and structure which impacts the increase or decline of cognitive skills and brain functioning. Socially, human intelligence is one of the most influential predicators of human success or failures in education and career. Besides, psychologists have proven that higher intelligence is a guarantee of strong physical and mental health of humans (Plomin & Deary, 2014).
Recent genetic studies of intelligence prove that genes influence cognitive abilities and brain functioning of humans. For example, such intelligence components as spatial ability, speed of information processing, vocabulary, memory capabilities, and executive functions are inheritable features. Besides, genes may impact not only spatial relationships and vocabulary, but numerous learning capabilities that are directly associated with education, such as reading and arithmetic. Many proponents of the heritability of genes assure that human intelligence may be compared to so-called “slave” of the genes (Plomin & Deary, 2014).
However, despite popularity of the theory that genes transmit intelligence, a lot of professionals in the sphere of psychology and genetics assure that intelligence has nothing in common with genes (Plomin & Deary, 2014). In simple words, no one is born with low intelligence rates. Genes have the power to define the scope or the framework of human intelligence. In fact, genes may only define the maximum intelligence rate that every person can achieve. According to numerous scientific investigations conducted by the British researcher Burton, more than 50 % of human intelligence depends of environmental pressure. The highest level of human intelligence is the environment where people grow up, study, work, and spend their free time. Education and teaching outweigh genetic influences. Family and peer groups are considered to be the most influential factors that shape human intelligence. For instance, a number of studies that investigated parental influences on intelligence of their children prove that families bears full responsibility for academic achievements of their children. Many psychologists recommend parents to praise their children for their success, because this behavior contributes to high intelligence scores of children in the future (Plomin & Deary, 2014). Furthermore, taking into account the essence of incremental theory, human intelligence can be improved with the help of efforts and trainings. Parents who teach their children to develop love for learning have to be sure that this practice contributes to future academic successes of their children. On the contrary, indifferent and apathetic parents that do not make efforts to educate their children since the early age should not expect that their children will get high intelligence scores in the future (Plomin & Deary, 2014).
According to the assumptions of many psychologists, peer group associations shape intelligence of people no less than parents. Series of experiments with participation of females prove that prejudice, bias, and generalization influence academic success and intelligent scores of women. For instance, women that were told that they performed worse at chess than males really failed the game. In addition, women who were told that males were always good at Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry because of genetic and biological factors performed badly during the tests. These experiments provide convincing data that stereotype threat impacts intelligence of people. The same experiments were conducted among the blacks and whites, and the results were the same (Nisbett et al., 2012). Moreover, the researchers have managed to estimate that adopted children have similar intelligence scores to their adoptive parents. Biologically related children that were brought up and educated within the same family are also characterized by very common intelligence rates. On the contrary, such “deprived environments” as orphanages, isolation, and extreme poverty contribute to considerable decline of intelligence rates. However, in case children abandon these “deprived environments” and become the part of “enriched families and communities,” their intelligence drastically increases. These studies and scientific investigations prove that human intelligence is not a matter of genes, as parents and peer groups form the “intelligence basis” of every child (Nisbett et al., 2012).
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Education and trainings also influence the IQ scores of humans. The researchers suppose that education may predict possible educational attainments and successes. Intelligence of humans may predict successes and attainments of children during some stressful situations, especially at examinations and tests. Intelligence is closely intertwined with education, because results of scientific experiments prove that intelligence of people drastically decreases during the period of summer breaks. These arguments that refute heritability of human intelligence prove that education influences intelligence only in a positive way. Intelligence is influenced by numerous biological factors that involve nutrition, maternal age, stress, etc. (Nisbett et al., 2012).
Close interconnection among races and intelligence scores has been a controversial subject since the beginning of the 20th century. Taking into consideration the historical perspective, the first intelligence tests that were aimed to manifest the difference of scores between various population groups were conducted after the period of the World War I (Nisbett et al., 2012). For example, within the 20th century, many psychologists claimed that innate biological differences were the key factors that explained inferiority of some nationalities. According to the research results, people with the highest IQ rates live in the developed Western and Asian countries. On the contrary, to the list of the least developed countries with lowest rates of human intelligence are included races and nationalities of Africa and Latin America. Recent scientific study that has compared intelligence scores in more than 20 countries around the globe provides information that IQ rate among Asian Americans is equal to 106. Among African-American people, the average rate of human intelligence constitutes 89. Finally, on the territory of Japan the IQ score is equal to 110. However, the proponents of the theory that race influences intelligence state that similar studies are biased and prejudiced because human intelligence has nothing in common with color of skin or other features that are peculiar to people on different continents (Nisbett et al., 2012).
As a result, having determined and analyzed the nature of human intelligence, main IQ theories, and factors that shape intellectual capacities of humans, it is possible to summarize that the notion of human intelligence has remained a debatable and subjective issue that cannot be explained and understood with help of theories that are available in abundance. In general, intelligence is significant because it impacts successes of humans in personal life, education, career, physical health, and mental welfare. Parental care, education, peer group associations, and some biological factors influence the raise and decline of human intelligence. Finally, it is rather important to note that human intelligence has remained an open question till nowadays, as the researchers cannot find convincing arguments that would either prove or refute the connection of intelligence to race, age, and inheritability.