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1. How do psychologists characterise and define intelligence?
Answer : Every psychologists characterise and define intelligence in their own way. Alfred Binet was one of the first psychologists who worked on intelligence and defined intelligence as 'the ability to judge well, understood well and reason well.'
Wechsler intelligence test is widely used who understood intelligence in terms of functionality i.e. its value for adaptation to environment. He defined it as the global and aggregate capacity of an individual to think rationally, act purposefully, and to deal effectively with her/his environment.
Gardner and Sternberg have suggested that an intelligent individual not only adapts to the environment, but also actively modifies or shapes it.
Thus, intelligence have certain attributes like mentally alert and quick, sense of humour and understanding according to psychologists.
2. To what extent is our intelligence the result of heredity (nature) and environment (nurture)? Discuss.
Answer : Intelligence is a product of complex interaction of heredity (nature) and environment (nurture). There are various which shows that intelligence is the result of heredity (nature) and environment (nurture). A study on twins and adopted children support this.
3. Explain briefly the multiple intelligences identified by Gardner.
Answer : Howard Gardner proposed the theory of multiple intelligences. He described the existence of eight distinct types of intelligence. Each of these intelligences are independent of each other which interact and work together to find a solution to a problem. Eight intelligence are as follows:
(i) Linguistic intelligence: It is the capacity to use language fluently and flexibly to express one’s thinking and understand others. Persons high on this intelligence are ‘word-smart’. Poets and writers are very strong in this component of intelligence.
(ii) Logical-Mathematical intelligence: Persons high on this type of intelligence can think logically and critically. They engage in abstract reasoning, and can manipulate symbols to solve mathematical problems. Scientists and Nobel Prize winners are likely to be strong in this component.
(iii) Spatial intelligence: It refers to the abilities involved in forming, using and transforming mental images. The person high on this intelligence can easily represent the spatial world in the mind. Pilots, sailors, sculptors, painters, architects, interior decorators, and surgeons are likely to have highly developed spatial intelligence.
(iv) Musical intelligence: It is the capacity to produce, create and manipulate musical patterns. Persons high on this intelligence are very sensitive to sounds and vibrations, and in creating new patterns of sounds.
(v) Bodily-Kinaesthetic intelligence: This consists of the use of the whole body or portions of it for display or construction of products and problem solving. Athletes, dancers, actors, sportspersons, gymnasts, and surgeons are likely to have such kind of intelligence.
(vi) Interpersonal intelligence: This is the skill of understanding the motives, feelings and behaviours of other people so as to bond into a comfortable relationship with others. Psychologists, counsellors, politicians, social workers, and religious leaders are likely to possess high interpersonal intelligence.
(vii) Intrapersonal intelligence: This refers to the knowledge of one’s internal strengths and limitations and using that knowledge to effectively relate to others. Persons high on this ability have finer sensibilities regarding their identity, human existence, and meaning of life. Philosophers and spiritual leaders present examples of this type of intelligence.
(viii) Naturalistic intelligence: This involves complete awareness of our relationship with the natural world. It is useful in recognising the beauty of different species of flora and fauna, and making subtle discriminations in the natural world. Hunters, farmers, tourists, botanists, zoologists, and bird watchers possess more of naturalistic intelligence.
4. How does the triarchic theory help us to understand intelligence?
Answer : Triarchic theory of intelligence was proposed by Robert Sternberg in 1985. He views intelligence as "the ability to adapt, to shape and select environment to accomplish one’s goals and those of one’s society and culture". According to this theory, there are three basic types of intelligence: Componential, Experiential, and Contextual.
(i) Componential Intelligence: It is also called analytical intelligence. It is is the analysis of information to solve problems. Persons high on this ability think analytically and critically and succeed in schools. This intelligence has three components, each serving a different function.
(ii) Experiential Intelligence: It is also called creative intelligence. This is involved in using past experiences creatively to solve novel problems. It is reflected in creative performance. Persons high on this aspect integrate different experiences in an original way to make new discoveries and inventions. They quickly find out which information is crucial in a given situation.
(iii) Contextual Intelligence: It is also called practical intelligence. This involves the ability to deal with environmental demands encountered on a daily basis. It may be called 'street smartness' or 'business sense'. Persons high on this aspect easily adapt to their present environment or select a more favourable environment than the existing one, or modify the environment to fit their needs. Therefore, they turn out to be successful in life.
5. "Any intellectual activity involves the independent functioning of three neurological systems". Explain with reference to PASS model.
Answer : PASS model stands for Planning, Attention-arousal, and Simultaneous-successive Model of Intelligence which was developed by J.P. Das, Jack Naglieri, and Kirby in 1994. According to this model, intellectual activity involves the interdependent functioning of three neurological systems, called the functional units of brain. These units are responsible for arousal/attention, coding or processing, and planning respectively.
(i) Arousal/Attention: This is basic to any behaviour as it helps us in attending to stimuli. Arousal and attention enable a person to process information. An optimal level of arousal focuses our attention to the relevant aspects of a problem. Arousal forces you to focus your attention on reading, learning and revising the contents of the chapters.
(ii) Simultaneous and Successive Processing: We can integrate the information into your knowledge system either simultaneously or successively. Simultaneous processing takes place when you perceive the relations among various concepts and integrate them into a meaningful pattern for comprehension. Simultaneous processing helps in grasping the meaning and relationship between the given abstract figures. Successive processing takes place when we remember all the information serially so that the recall of one leads to the recall of another. Learning of digits, alphabets, multiplication tables, etc. are examples of successive processing.
(iii) Planning: This is an essential feature of intelligence. After the information is attended to and processed, planning is activated. It allows us to think of the possible courses of action, implement them to reach a target, and evaluate their effectiveness. If a plan does not work, it is modified to suit the requirements of the task or situation.
These PASS processes operate on a knowledge base developed either formally or informally from the environment. These processes are interactive and dynamic in nature.
6. Are there cultural differences in the conceptualisation of intelligence?
Answer : Yes, there are cultural differences in the conceptualisation of intelligence. The cultural environment provides a context for intelligence to develop. A person's intelligence is likely to be tuned by cultural parameters like customs, beliefs, attitudes, and achievements in art and literature. Many theorists have regarded intelligence as attributes specific to the person without regard to their cultural background.
Sternberg’s notion of contextual or practical intelligence said that intelligence is a product of culture. Vygotsky also believed that cultures have a life of their own which grow and change, and in the process specify what will be the end-product of successful intellectual development. According to him, while elementary mental functions are universal, the manner in which higher mental functions such as problem solving and thinking operate are largely culture-produced.
Technologically advanced societies promote practices that foster skills of generalisation and abstraction, speed, minimal moves, and mental manipulation among children which can be called technological intelligence. Intelligence tests developed in western cultures look precisely for these skills in an individual.
On the other hand, technological intelligence is not so valued in many Asian and African societies. The qualities and skills regarded as intelligent actions in non-western cultures are sharply different, though the boundaries are gradually vanishing under the influence of western cultures. Thus, the relationships between different aspects of intelligence vary across cultures.