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What exactly is Intelligence? The Three Main Hypotheses of Intelligence – 2 Good, One Bad


When folks talk about a person’s ‘intelligence’ it is not necessarily generally clear what main ability or abilities that term refers to. This article will clarify in layman’s terminology what psychologists and mental scientists can mean by thinking ability. Basically, there are two excellent theories–and scientists are divided upon which is the best theory–and just one bad one which all analysts I know of reject. A superb theory is one that is maintained by the evidence; a bad theory is a that is not.

Official IQ checks such as the WAIS-IV claim to determine individual differences in an underlying ‘ level of cognitive ability written by a single number–your IQ or perhaps intelligence quotient. But can this be true that there is a single underlying emotional ability that we differ inside and that explains what makes people different in our cognitive skills?

If someone is good at maths, are they also likely to be great at language comprehension, reasoning, pondering analogically, learning languages and also general knowledge, due to their underlying ‘intelligence level’, as this theory suggests?

Or are there ‘multiple intelligences’ underlying our abilities–perhaps a bunch or even hundreds of them–each indie from each other, and assessed by different types of tests. In case you have an ability in math concepts, is this ability completely not related to your ability in learning dialects or play general knowledge online games like trivial pursuit? If it is the case, is the idea of getting a single IQ score really meaningless?

Or alternatively, do you have a small number of underlying cognitive possibilities (perhaps two or three) that we differ in, which might be relatively independent of each one other–and which together reveal most of the differences in our intellectual abilities?

 The theory connected with general intelligence (g)–an excellent theory

A long-standing and important theory for our cognitive possibilities states that underlying just about all our cognitive abilities (math, language comprehension, general knowledge) is a single factor–called basic intelligence (also known as unitary intelligence, general cognitive capacity, or simply ‘g’ ) that other people differ on and which clarifies those differences.

Spearman (1923) proposed that underlying just about all cognitive abilities is a ‘general ability’ factor (g) that most of the abilities draw on. Men and women differ in g in accordance with a bell curve supply on this theory. g may be thought of in terms of information cu power. Some people –those with increased g–can process more information, more effectively than others.

Using a personal computer analogy, they have more RAM MEMORY. The more RAM a computer provides, the more complex and information-intensive the programs that can be used it. If you have an IQ of 160 like Quentin Tarantino has, you have a lot of RAM, large ‘bandwidth’ to get processing information. If you have an IQ of 78 including Muhammad Ali as a man (whose IQ was tested by the army), then you include less RAM. Muhammad Ali had many talents, although according to the unitary intelligence idea, intelligence wasn’t one of them.

The research for this theory is the identical evidence that allows us to help reject the theory of many bits of intelligence. All standardized checks of cognitive ability (and there are dozens of them, that measure a wide range of different abilities) are usually positively correlated–not perfectly, but to a large degree. This means that the company scores higher than average using one of those tests, they are vulnerable to scoring higher than average in all the other tests–even ones that will appear totally unrelated.

A score higher in an arithmetic check means you will probably also report higher in a vocabulary check. This remains true, that one could take other factors like educative background, or family socioeconomic status into account. This is convincing evidence that there is a single main level of cognitive ability that is definitely applied to each of the tests and therefore performance on one test is absolutely not independent from performance with another as the multiple thinking ability theory claims.

Spearman (1904)–the psychologist who first recommended the g theory–argued the fact that variance (the person to person variation) of performance between men and women on ANY cognitive activity can be attributed to just a couple of underlying factors: g (general intelligence) and s –the skill unique to that particular activity.

A person could invest comparatively more time into developing a certain skill such as arithmetic, and also this will raise their report on an arithmetic test in accordance with another test such as words that they didn’t train or perhaps practice on, but all their general intelligence g will probably still account for most of all their performance on the arithmetic test out. G is still the most important considering explaining levels of performance, regardless of the test.

2 . The theory connected with multiple intelligences-a bad ideas Spearman’s ‘g’ theory is the opposite of the theory connected with multiple intelligences. The theory connected with multiple intelligence is a lovely one because it gives a number of room for everyone to have their own strengths in ‘intelligence’. But since we have seen it turns out typical cognitive strengths and weaknesses are best the result of how much time and effort in looking for invested into particular knowledge or types of knowledge.

Only take up a technical deal and become good at it, in order to find that I am struggling with studying fiction, this doesn’t necessarily mean that we have a special ‘intelligence’ with regard to technical thinking and have absolutely no ability for reading or even language.

The fact I have trouble with fiction is better explained by the truth that I have invested my cleverness into building up this particular kind of expertise and thus see mare like a return on that investment decision in technical modes associated with cognition. If I had invested as much time reading fictional works as I have to apply myself personally to technical problems, it’s likely that I’d be good at that.

The theory of fluid intellect (GF) and crystallized intellect (GC)–another good theory

This kind of theory builds on the standard intelligence theory and ended up being originally proposed by the psychiatrist Raymond Cattell back in 43. It holds that grams are meaningful–that we have a different general intelligence level– but contributing to g are generally two different types of intelligence: water intelligence (GF) and crystallized intelligence (GC ).

Water g is the ability to explain and problem solve using novel tasks or throughout unfamiliar contexts (measured thinking tasks), while crystallized Gary the gadget guy is defined as acquired knowledge and it is measured using tests associated with general knowledge, mathematics, and terminology. This dual way of knowing intelligence allows for knowledge that you might have built up in particular areas to pay for limitations in general reasoning and problem-solving ability– our ‘raw intelligence’. You might succeed due to knowledge about a job or domain (crystallized g), or due to sheer psychological ‘horsepower’ (fluid g).

In which the idea of ‘multiple intelligences’ is sensible: as crystallized intelligence that people invest in

Our crystallized cleverness allows for ‘multiple intelligences’. You might have a high level of crystallized cleverness in graphic design, for example, while wearing only an average level of water intelligence. But you will only be capable of using your crystallized intelligence intended for graphic design in situations in which you are generally familiar and have built up competence.

Unless you have a high level of water intelligence when you are confronted with a new problem in graphic design–something ‘out of context’, requiring a number of difficult figuring out-then you could have difficulties. On the flip side, when you have a high level of fluid intellect, it will take you less time to post graphic design (or whatever) knowledge as you learn your standard skill set. Your learning may well be more efficient, and you will find it much easier.

In general, the more fluid intellect you have the more you will be able for you to ‘invest’ it into crystallized intelligence skills and knowledge–the more ‘multiple intelligences’ it is possible to develop if you so want. In the context of the function, the more gF you have the greater quickly and efficiently you could be trained. One study showed it took people in the one hundred ten to 130 IQ variety about 1 to 2 years in order to catch up with the super-charged overall performance of those with IQs associated with 130+ who had only three months experience on the job.


Looking at all the evidence, the two general intelligence (g) hypotheses, and the fluid intelligence (GF) and crystallized intelligence (GC) are well supported and within explaining how we differ in our cognitive abilities. In my watch, the fluid and crystallized theory are the more useful and useful. It helps us understand intelligence and how we could improve it better. For instance, a study shows that you can do a specific sort of ‘working memory’ brain training to enhance your fluid intelligence levels substantially–but this training is not going to directly affect your crystallized cleverness.

The author, Dr Mark The. Smith, is a cognitive neuroscientist, author and entrepreneur. Between 2000 and 2003 has been a Lecturer in the Division of Experimental Psychology at the University of Cambridge. Their most recent position has been because of Assistant Professor at Bilkent University, Turkey. His present research is on fluid cleverness and its evolution in human being cognition. He has recently set up cognitive interventions clinical for experimental research straight into brain training tools and head nutrition.

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