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8 Theories of Intelligence in Psychology

 Understand nature of intelligence and its structure, many psychologists have formulated theories of intelligence in their own way.

 Main point of psychologists was that which mental abilities together determine nature of intelligence? Earlier it was recognized as gross power. After that Spearman presented his intellectual theory in 1904. following theory is valid regarding structure of intelligence -

Following are theory of intelligence and their exponents -

1. Uni-Factor/One Factor Theory of Intelligence

The first exponent of Uni-Factor Theory is Johnson. By the way, names of Alfred Binet, Terman and Stern are taken in its exponent. Alfred Binet developed pass model of intelligence in 1964.

 He considered intelligence as a united and undivided unit. His opinion that various mental abilities of person work as a unit.

 This view was proved untrue by various tests of abilities because if intelligence is made up of only one factor then one should have been intelligent in all areas, but it is not so.

 Johnson believes that intelligence is a powerful mental process. She rules over all human beings. All other mental abilities are subordinate to it and this intelligence is made up of only one factor. Due to this tendency, it is also called absolutist theory.

2. Two-Factor Theory of Intelligence

 Spearman is exponent of two-factor theory of intelligence. According to him, the structure of intellect is made up of two types of factors-

General Factor - Also called 'G' factor

Specific Factor - Also called 'S' factor.

General Factor - Spearman considered general ability to be more important than specific abilities. General ability is found in all human beings in more or less quantity. Its main features are as follows-

1. This ability is innate.

2. It always remains the same.

3. It is used in all mental works.

4. It is in every person different.

5. The more then general factors is in the individual, the more he achieves good success in every field.

6. A person has only one general factor. 

7. It gives general success in linguistics, philosophy etc.

3. Specific Factor Theory of Intelligence

According to Spearman, specific factor is related to specific actions of individual. It is acquired, not congenital. It is found in different amounts in different people.

 Along with general factor, it is also necessary to have a specific factor in doing any work and higher relationship between general factor and specific factor, the more success person will achieve in that field. specific factor is not required to perform all functions. Each specific factor is assigned to perform a single mental function. Like music, drawing hand work etc. There are different specific factor.

Spearman corrected his above theory after 7 years in 1911 and said that instead of two factors in intelligence there are three factor. Spearman said that along with a common factor and a specific element, there is also a group factor. This is Spearman's Three Factor Theory.

Spearman gave place to such abilities in collective factor which, being superior to general ability and inferior to specific ability, occupy a place between them.

4. Multifactor Theory of Intelligence

L.E. Thorndike (1927) is the father of multifactor theory of intelligence. Thorndike believes that there is no such entity as general ability in intelligence, but there are many factors under intelligence. Many factors work together in any mental activity.

 Thorndike his theory of intelligence based on stimulus response theory (S-R theory). In his view intelligence is sum total of all those mental capacities which participate in activities of brain and are independent and separate in themselves. In this form, level of intelligence of a person is based on innumerable bonds between brains.

 Thorndike postulated that if one person is more intelligent than another, it is because the number of suitable nerve bonds in his brain is greater than that of a person who is less intelligent than him.

Thorndike has given four characteristics of intelligence -

1. Level - difficulty of any work

2. Range - How many types of work can a person achieve success?

3. Area - How many difficult and more problems a person can find solutions. 

4. Speed - How quickly any person can solve any problem.

 There is more emphasis on speed in our intelligence tests. These four characteristics are found in every intelligence test.

 In conclusion, it can be said that according to Thorndike, intelligence is not only sum of these two factors – general ability and specific ability, but it is collective form of innumerable sums of specific Stimulus and related specific responses.

5. Group Factor Theory of Intelligence

According to Tharstan (1935), exponent of this theory, intelligence is made up of some specific mental factors which are only groups of similar and specific mental abilities. Thurston called these 'Primary Mental Ability'. Primary Mental Ability group theory is propounded by Thurston.

 According to Thurstan, mental activities may be numerous, but they are not all distinct and specific from each other. Some of them may have more similarity and be placed in a class. All these mental activities can be divided into some specific classes.

Thurston has discovered 8 such mental abilities which are present in intelligence which are as follows -

 According to Thurston, the primary mental abilities present in intelligence

1. Verbal Ability

2. Numerical Ability

3. Spatial Ability

4. Deducative Reasoning

5. Inducative Reasoning

6. Word Fluency

7. Memory

8. Perceptual Ability

6. Three Dimensional Theory of Intelligence

Guilford's is exponent of 'Three-Dimensional Theory' of intelligence. Therefore, it is also called Guilford's theory of intelligence. Guilford also developed structure model of intelligence.

 According to this theory, mental abilities of a person are classified into three dimensions -

1. Operations

2. Contents

3. Product

Three dimensions of intelligence are divided into groups of mental abilities. like-

1. There are 5 dimensions under operation - evaluation, convergent product, divergent product, memory and cognition.

2. There are 5 dimensions under contents - visual, auditory, symbolic, semantic, behavioral.

3. There are 6 dimensions under product - units, classes, relations, systems, transformations, and implications.

Total180 different components of intelligence.

 It is also called theory of formation of intelligence.

Note : Divergent Thinking : In divergent thinking activity, we think in different conditions. It is often closely related to creative ability. Convergent Thinking : Convergent thinking is creation of new information on basis of given information. information given completely determines of response.

7. Hierarchical Theory of Intelligence

  Hierarchical theory of intelligence has been propounded by Burt and Vernon. In this theory, each mental ability has been given a hierarchical order.

 In this, first comes general mental ability, which is divided into two major sections, out of which verbal, numerical and educational abilities come in first section.

 In second section, practical, functional, mechanical, spatial and physical abilities come. Both these major and important factors can be divided into many minor factors.

Theory of Intelligence

8. Sampling Theory of Intelligence

Sampling theory of intelligence was propounded by Thomson. According to his opinion, a person has many abilities, but when he performs a work, he takes a sampling from all abilities in performance of that work and creates a new ability for that  special work.

 That is, every work is a sample of certain abilities. In performing a special work, we sort out a large set of mental abilities as representations of certain abilities and their correlation is due to representational mix of all independent factors.

 Apart from above mentioned major principles, there are many other theories. Due to different views of theories, knowledge of the structure of intelligence has become even more complex and it is very difficult to understand what is the real form of intelligence by falling into web of these theories. Due to this problem modern psychologists have started using term intelligent behavior in place of intelligence.

• Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

Q. 01. Who developed pass model of intelligence?

Ans : Alfred Binet developed pass model of intelligence in 1964.

Q. 02. How many factors are included in Guilford's three-dimensional theory of intelligence?

Ans : Three factors are included in Guilford's three-dimensional theory of intelligence. 1. Operation (5 dimensions) 2. Contents (5 dimensions) 3. Products (6 dimensions). Total180 different components of intelligence.

Q. 03. Who exponent the multifactor theory of intelligence?

Ans : L.E. Thorndike exponent of multifactor intelligence.

Q. 04. Who introduced the triarchic theory of intelligence?

Ans : Robert J. Sternberg introduced the triarchic theory of  intelligence.

Q. 05. Who introduced the hierarchical theory theory of intelligence?

Ans : Burt and Vernon introduced the hierarchical theory theory of intelligence.

Q. 06. Who gave the concept of primary mental ability?

Ans : Thurston gave the concept of primary mental ability.

Also Read :

1. Intelligence : Meaning And Definitions, characteristics and types of intelligence

2. Emotional Intelligence : Denial Goleman

3. Intelligence Measurements : Intelligence Quotient And Mental Age

4. Types of Intelligence Test : Individual And Group