Intelligence is among the most studied topics in the field of psychology. Ironically, it has not been possible to come up with one definition of intelligence acceptable in the whole world. Some scholars believe that intelligence is a single general ability while others believe that it incorporates many aspects like skills, talents and capacities. Nevertheless, every scholar comes up with a different definition suitable for a particular model of intelligence.
Various scholars have come up with different models of intelligence with an aim of explaining and understanding the whole concept. However, even though models are different, all have similar concepts were it not for the fact that they are explained differently. However, this does not negate the fact there are some notable differences. Bent on that, this paper shall discuss Spearman’s, Stenberg’s and Gardner’s models of intelligence and narrow down to major differences and similarities.
Scholars describe intelligence differently especially after testing their theories. Spearman describes intelligence as a cognitive ability or g factor that can be measured numerically and expressed as such (Plucker para 4 ). He was able to make the conclusion after conducting a number of mental aptitude tests and discovered that the scores of the tests were similar (Sternberg p. 18).
On the other hand, Gardner unlike Spearman illustrates that it is not accurate to measure intelligence numerically because according to him, it is composed of skills and abilities that are greatly valued in different cultures. In addition, his model explains that there are eight different types of intelligences which are inclusive of bodily kinesthetic, musical, verbal-linguistic, logical, naturalistic, intra-personal and interpersonal forms of intelligence.
Finally, although Stenberg agreed that there is more than one form of intelligence, he proposed that some of the Gardner’s forms of intelligence can be perfectly described as human talents (Gardner Para 4). However, he grouped intelligence in to three categories which include practical, creative and analytical intelligence.
As much as there are some differences between different models of intelligence, similarities present cannot be overlooked. All models seem to have a clear concept that intelligence is the cognitive ability of an individual that helps individuals become successful in certain areas of their lives.
For instance, Sternberg explains that intelligence which results from a good balance between analytical, practical and creative abilities helps individuals to be successful within different contexts in the social environment (Sternberg pp. 92). Similarly, Gardner also proposed that different types of intelligence which are generated by mental energy enable individuals solve problems and create products that are important in different cultural settings.
Lastly, Spearman model also illustrates the same concept of intelligence which is the cognitive mental ability of an individual that helps them solve some problems and that is why he used tests to measure intelligence and latter expressed it numerically as a g factor (Matthews, Zeidner & Roberts pp. 91).
It has been difficult to determine the most comprehensive model of intelligence because all have strong and weak points. However, according to Paik (Para 7), Gardner’s model of intelligence is the most comprehensive model because it points out more than one form of intelligence.
Moreover, it has some biological foundation because there are seven different parts of brains which are responsible for each type of intelligence. Apart from the solid biological basis, the theory makes it possible to measure and identify other types of intelligence apart from logical, linguistic and spatial. The only problem is difficulty in experimentation because human brain is sensitive and complicated.
Although there is wide range of differences between different models of intelligence, all of them are important because they have contributed greatly in helping people understand various aspects of the same. For instance, it has been possible to identify and appreciate the fact that people have different abilities which help them to become successful in the social world. As much as each theory is criticized, the importance of each cannot be overstated. In addition, all have different weaknesses and strengths.
Gardner, Howard. American Psychologist and Educator. 2007. Web. 16 September 2010.
Matthews, Gerald, Moshe Zeidner and Richard D. Roberts. Emotional intelligence: science and myth. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2004. Print.
Paik, Han S. One Intelligence or Many? Alternative Approaches to Cognitive Abilities. 1998. Web. 16 September 2010.
Plucker, Jonathan. Charles Spearman. 2007. Web. 16 September 2010.
Sternberg, Robert J. Handbook of intelligence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Print.