25 November 2014

Concept of Intelligence and Its Nature & Functions

CTET Exam Notes : Child Development and Pedagogy (CDP) 

in Hindi Medium 

Topic  : Critical perspective of the construct of Intelligence


The word intelligence forms part of own ordinary stock of words which we use everyday. In the field of psychology too, the word intelligence finds a fairly  comprehensive use. In fact, there are as many definitions of intelligences as there are writers on  the subject. On account of the different ways in which intelligence is interpreted, it has become less acceptable and more exposed to criticism by psychologists. Nevertheless, it is traditionally acknowledged by the parents and teachers that intelligence is the most important single variable which affects success in school and in life. In general terms, intelligence means the manner with which an individual deals with facts and situations.
First, intelligence is defined interns of observable objective behaviour. Second, most definitions refer both to an individual’s capacity to learn and to knowledge that has already been acquired. Many definitions also suggest that the ability to adapt to the environment is a sign of intelligence.

A variety of definitions on intelligence have been suggested by  the  psychologists  which  can  be classified  into  at  least  four distinct groups as follows.


Ability to Adjust

According to this group, intelligence is general mental adaptability to new problems and new situations of life. Some definitions come under this group are as follows.

Binet (1905): “Intelligence is the ability of an individual to direct his behaviour towards a goal”.

Ability to Learn

This group of definitions of Intelligence stresses the ability to learn. The more intelligent the person, the more readily and extensively he is able to learn and enlarge his field of activity and experience is the key words of these definitions.

Buckingham (1921) “Intelligence is the learning ability.”

Superman (1927) “Intelligence may be though of interns of two abilities i.e. “g” or general and ‘s’ 
or specific.”

Ability to do abstract reasoning

This group of definitions maintains that intelligence is the ability to carry on abstruct thinking. This implies the effective use of ideas and efficiency in dealing with symbols, specially numerical and verbal symbols.

L. M. Termon (1921): “An individual is intelligent in proportion as he is able to carry on abstract thinking.”

P. E. Vernon (1927): “Intelligence is an allround thinking capacity or mental deficiency.”


I am sure that you got idea about what intelligence is. Now we will discuss the nature of intelligence. You may have the experience of discussing about the nature of your friends, parents, teachers etc., but today you will get the joy of discussing the nature of intelligence which changes the nature of persons.

The nature of intelligence was first though of by a brilliant English Scientist Sir Francis Galton. His general conclusion that intelligence is a hereditary trait is reflected by the title of his book “Hereditary Genius.

Intelligence is inherited

The amount of intelligence that a person possesses in inherited and fixed. The amount though fixed does not reveal itself at the start of life with the growth of the child, the amount inherited by a child also grows. The general belief is that the growth of intelligence stops and it reaches it’s limit at the age of sixteen. But you know and it is also true that a man of forty knows more than he was a boy of sixteen. But this does not mean that the amount of intelligence possessed by him has increased. This may be due to his experience. As regards his intelligence, his positions remains the same.

Intelligence is influenced by environment factors

Love, affection, concern & generosity judiciously bestowed on growing children, have very desirable effects. Poor environment retard development of intelligence. Intelligence helps in adjustment & inventions An intelligent person has the ability to adjust himself to the changing circumstances with ease, efficiency and speed. He has the capacity to assimilate ideas very quickly and clearly. He can
cope? With new situations very successfully. All the inventions of the word can be attributed to persons of very high intelligence.

Intelligence has no sex differences

Various studies have been conducted by psychologists & researcher a to find out whether women are more intelligent that men and vice versa. The result of these researches hangs in one way or the other. In some of the cases no significant difference has been found. Research studies also so that the average scores of the sense are strongly similar. Therefore it is proper to think that difference in sex does not contribute towards difference in intelligence.

Intelligence has no racial or cultural differences

Now, students we will see whether a particular race, caste or cultural group is superior to other in intelligence. This hypothesis are also examined by so many research workers, the results of earlier studies proved that intelligence is not the birth right of particular race of group. The bright and the ‘dull’ can be found in any race, caste or cultural group. In this regard Franze Boas states. “If we were to select the most intelligent, imaginative, energetic and emotionally stable third of mankind, all races would be represented. “you can also take any study & prove if.”

Intelligence can be recognized in three broad areas

Students, you know that all the individuals are not same in their physical appearance. Here you will also able to know that all people are not having same type and same amount of intelligence in solving all problems. According to Thurstone intelligent behaviour can be recognized in three broad areas.

Abstract Intelligence 
Abstract intelligence is the ability to understand and manage ideas and symbols. Such as words,
numbers etc. In the case of students this is very close to scholastic aptitude.

Mechanical Intelligence 
Mechanical intelligence is the ability to clean, understand and manage things and mechanisms, such as a knife, a gun, a moving machine and automobile etc. Social Intelligence social intelligence is the ability to understand and mange men and women, boys and girls, to act wisely in human relations.

Social Intelligence 
social intelligence is the ability to understand and mange men and women, boys and girls, to act wisely in human relations.

Functions of Intelligence:

  • Intelligence directs one’s behavior towards a goal.
  • It helps one to adjust to a new situations.
  • It helps an individual to adopt to physical and social environment.
  • It helps to learn new things and to solve new problems.
  • It directs the individual to think rationally and act purposefully.
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