Saturday, February 4, 2017

Intelligence: Multiple Identifications, Theories and Factors

When we think of Multiple Intelligence, often Gardner's Theory comes to mind. I, however, have decided to research intelligence from the perspective that there are many types of intelligence. I will identify additional forms and applications of intelligence that are present in humans. While researching intelligence I discovered there are multiple definitions. Even with the desire to define intelligence, the first researchers and theorists were unable to conclude a comprehensive definition. Instead, they agreed upon factors that defined the make-up of intelligence.

In 1904 Charles Spearman was the first theorist to attempt to define General Intelligence, today know as the 'g' factor. He did so by way of a statement regarding how to best measure intelligence. His statement "As regards the delicate matter of estimating 'Intelligence', the guiding principle to not make any prior assumptions as to what kind of mental activity may be thus termed with greatest proprietary. Provisionally, at any rate the aim was to empirically to examine all the various abilities having any first appearance claims to such title ascertaining their relations to one another and to other functions."(Spearman, 1904).
'g' Factor
In 1905 Alfred Binet devised a test to measure intelligence. His simple definition of Intelligence was the ability to make sensible judgements. In 1916 Lewis Madison Therman of the University of Stanford created The Stanford Intelligence Test, Therman defined Intelligence, as the ability to think in terms of abstract ideas. (W.D. Halsey & L.Shores, 1977).

Intelligent Quotient first coined in 1914 by William Stern
When we consider abstract ideas we are using intelligence. Paiget believed that the ability to think abstractly wasn't present until the age of Formal Operations Stage; therefore, the correlation of thought was that humans aren't able to possess Intelligence until after the age of 12 and develop the ability to make sensible judgements until reaching adulthood. We know today this is simply not true; intelligence is both present by hereditary and environmental factors. We know today that there is the possibility to increase IQ by simply nurturing children. As an Educator it is essential to have metacognition, and be aware that Education must be delivered in a manner that speaks to each inner core of the students it is trying to serve. The importance of a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) that meets a multitude of intelligences cannot be over looked or underestimated.
Nurture of ones Nature delivered in an Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
Extensive research concludes it is beyond simple hereditary disposition to have intelligence, and that the more important factor is in the environment. Interesting to note, identical twins raised in the same environment often score similar on tests, while identical twins raised in separate environments are much less likely to score similar results. Although a child with high hereditary abilities to think with cognition will by nature possess intelligence, if raised in a socioeconomic environment that does not offer the ability to improve and garner more knowledge; with the opportunity to read books, have positive intelligent visual input, hear adults conversing with metacognition, and are unable to experience a variety of environments with limited exposure to ethnic culture, will experience a decline in mental potential. By contrast, students raised in a nurturing environment conducive of these factors will see continued growth in IQ, not only as children but also adults. Intelligence is greatly affected by a dynamic environment and one rich in visual, and auditory aids will assist mental intelligence.  
Raymond Cattell (1941) proposed two types of cognitive abilities; Fluid intelligence (Gf) was hypothesized as the ability to solve novel problems by using reasoning, and Crystallized intelligence (Gc) was hypothesized as a knowledge-based ability that was very dependent on education and experience. 
The importance of a keen understanding of individual students intelligence is often over looked in our educational system today. Unfortunately IQ and determination of intelligence has been deemed as only necessary and applicable in Special Needs Students. I however would debate that all students are special and would benefit from identification of strengths and weakness. All Educators would best able to serve the different needs of a child if a keen understanding of their relative learning ability was known. A summative assessment revealing the ability to make choices in both abstract and concrete environments would contribute to the cognition involved in creating a UDL classroom that meets the needs all of students. By nature, Individual Intelligence Testing is designed to measure performance with relation to literacy, numerology, visual/mental ability, missing parts cognition and a physical ability to recall and present information using pictures. Group Testing typically includes multiple choice questions within an allotted time frame.

There are many types of IQ Test availible today, are you Mensa?
The creation of the Intelligence Quotient test enables discovery of a persons mental age in relation to their chronological age with use of a mathematical formula of Mental Age over Chronological age times 100. Thereby offering a determination of Mental growth that can be identified as Very Superior, Superior, High Average, Average, Low Average, Borderline and Extremely Low. (Andrew M. Colman, 2015) These terms are accurate in authentic reflection of current abilities and offer honest knowledge to an Educator when designing a classroom environment for optimal growth. It is important to understand that IQ is not stable and scores have a variable rate of up to 10 points. It will also rise and fall within a persons life time, and the impact of environment is an ongoing consideration. Within time as short as a week and as long as a life time, IQ testing will only estimate a persons intelligence. There by it is also essential to be cognitively aware of the absolute importance and impact of learning environment from moment to moment, and the ability to work hard and focus.
Intelligence takes a metacognition of consistent effort and focus in dynamic environments.
Much like humans ability to evolve with environment and metacognition so has the conversation of intelligence. Today there is a much broader definition and understanding of what and how intelligence is identified and valued. Many phycologists have witness and noted intellectual abilities in many forms. Raymond Cattell Theory; Quantitative reasoning (Gq) is the ability to comprehend quantitative concepts and relationships and to manipulate numerical symbols, Reading and writing ability (Grw) includes basic reading and writing skills, Short-term memory (Gsm) is the ability to apprehend and hold information in immediate awareness, and then use it within a few seconds, Long-term storage and retrieval (Glr) is the ability to store information and fluently retrieve it later in the process of thinking, Visual processing (Gv) is the ability to perceive, analyze, synthesize, and think with visual patterns, including the ability to store and recall visual representations, Auditory processing (Ga) is the ability to analyze, synthesize, and discriminate auditory stimuli, including the ability to process and discriminate speech sounds that may be presented under distorted conditions, Processing speed (Gs) is the ability to perform automatic cognitive tasks, particularly when measured under pressure to maintain focused attention, Decision/reaction time/speed (Gt) reflects the immediacy with which an individual can react to stimuli or a task (typically measured in seconds or fractions of seconds; it is not to be confused with Gs, which typically is measured in intervals of 2–3 minutes). 
More factors and theories, including the impact of personality.
Gardner was on of the first modern theorist to expand on intellectual capabilities. His theory of Multiple Intelligence includes; Linguistic - the ability to use language effectively, Logical-Mathematical - the ability to reason logically regarding mathematics and science, Spatial - the ability to notice details of what one sees and to imagine and manipulate visual objects in ones mind, Musical - the ability to create, comprehend and appreciate music Bodily-Kinesthethic - the ability to use ones body skillfully, Interpersonal - the ability to notice subtle aspects of others peoples behaviours, Intrapersonal - the awareness of ones own feelings, and Naturalist - the ability to recognize patterns in nature and differences among various life forms and species. (Hoerr, 2010)
Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligence
Merriam-Webster's medical definition of Intelligence, 1a: the ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations b:the ability to apply knowledge to manipulated one environment to think abstractly as measured by criteria 2: mental acuteness. (Merriam-Webster's first dictionary, Ruth Heller (2012). Other unscholarly definitions include; a person's cognitive abilities to learn, the power of knowing and understanding information received, and the ability to solve problems rationally and to modify behaviour with changes in the environment. Intelligence is also associated with intellectual functioning, school performance, IQ, logic, abstract thought, self awareness, emotional knowledge, memory, planning, creativity, problem solving capabilities, spatial manipulation and language acquisition.

Metacognition is undeniable when it comes to being Intelligent. Always remember to think about what your thinking.
I value Vygotsky's Theory of Cognitive Development as a major influencer of environment impacting both intrinsic and extrinsic factors essential in mental growth and, as a result contributing to chronological growth of Intelligence. Vygotsky's awareness of Social Cultural Construction and its impact on cognitive development is supported by the history of Intelligence theories.  As well Vygotsky's theories surrounding Mediated Learning, Guided Participation, Scaffolding and Apprenticeship are all supported and reflected in both modern and historical principles and theories regarding Intelligence. I believe some of Vygotsky's theories represent a Social Intelligence, I also believe Sternbergs First Dimension also represents a key intellectual ability. Sternberg's Environmental Context Theory highlights ones ability to adapt behaviour and manipulate environments to fit the needs of participants to create a successful environment. Measuring and testing of Environmental Context Intelligence, much like Social Intelligence, does isolate a specific ability of Intelligence worthy of its own distinction. 
Sternberg, even more identified intelligences.

I believe the following theories in their own right are distinctive forms of intelligence.

Social Intelligence - the ability to be keenly aware of social details pertaining to particular community.

Environmental Context Intelligence - the awareness to recognize patterns within and the ability to successfully adapt behaviour in and the manipulation of physical environment.

When I think of the Educational Professional it would be a moot point to believe simple cognition of ones intelligence would be sufficient in creating a self-regulated learner, an awareness as to the learning style best suited to promote and nurture the nature of ones inner core is necessary. Kolb's Learning Style Inventory is a key factor into the application of delivering an effective UDL. The learning style of an individual and as a group must be identified and respected along side the identification of an Intellectual Quotient. Factors such as Initiating, Experiencing, Imagining, Acting, Balancing, Reflecting, Deciding, Thinking and Analyzing (A. Kolb & D. Kolb, 2013) all speak in different ways to each individual and therefore must be cognitively considered and employed when delivering lessons.  When a variety of highly effective techniques are used to present new information it sparks motivation and engagement from the students. These valuable techniques promote leadership, deep personal relationships, awareness of others feelings and values, understanding of situations, ability to organize information, logical analysis, goal setting, ability to get things done and flexibility. All these attributes contribute to scaffolding a persons intelligence.

Often humans have a predispostion to find comfort in one area of thought process, however to have metacognition of fliud cognition is the key to Very Superior Intelligence. 
The perception of ones Self directly impacts ones ability to achieve Very Superior Intelligence. Students come from all types of socioeconomic environments at home and in the community. Even students from environments seemly conducive to learning struggle with mental illness, physical disabilities and some have other challenges. All students have a right to an Education that supports the mandate to meet personal growth potential. The responsibility of education is beyond just delivering lessons that meet curriculum. Educators have a personal and professional mission to create self-regulated learners that are capable of  become citizens of their community. With cognition of  Self-actualization a student will have a keen understanding that they have a responsibility to themselves to become their best version of them self. It is important to instill in the developing child the knowledge that we are all different, their best may be very different from someone else. However, they may also have similarities, similarities that are of value in society. With this keen awareness the student will protect themselves and possibly their peers from self-handicapping. Beginning in the classroom managed with a positive and achievable success of lessons and new knowledge the child will begin to develop self-efficacy that fosters resiliency. This resiliency leads to a determination to face challenges with an understanding that motivation, effort and engagement, this will eventually result in solution and mastery. It is import for a developing student to realize the process is an integral part of acquiring knowledge and that it leads to confidence in action.
Self-awareness leads to the ability to have Metacognition without bias.
Once a student has had an opportunity to experience working knowledge of self and success, they build a solid foundation of self-worth. This conscious idea of self-worth affects areas of developing psyche including self-esteem. With a positive self-image and esteem a student is able to work through challenging time of personal change such with positive self-talk, self-monitoring and self-evaluation. These types of self-observations and perceptions will contribute to the students ability to continue to fulfill self-prophesies. The ability to master ones self will contribute greatly to the ability and awareness necessary for a very superior intelligence.
Self-Worth is essential in having the confidence to act on intellect.
With all the efforts, theories and intellectualization regarding intelligence the one thing that is clear and consistently defined is that intelligence is a process defined by ones ability to have a keen awareness, ability to think with metacognition, be creative in problem solving and the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills. Intelligence is ever changing and impacted by environment and the nurturing of nature. A very young child identified as gifted with a base mastery of literacy and numeracy will have to possess a consciousness of the importance of continued positive self-worth and a conscious effort to always be willing to adapt new knowledge both by scaffolding and by way of interacting with abstract. It is an Educators privilege to not only teach to curriculum but to contribute to raising a student inclusive of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs; physiological conducive environment, personal safety, a sense of belonging with love, a positive self-esteem that leads to the ability to have cognition of self-actualization.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Theory
All of these factors, theories and identification of the numerous intelligences allow for a child to grow into an adult with autonomy, with competence in concrete and abstract, and to have relatedness both inter and intra personally within the physical and social environment they are present in. These finite aspects of human development are the catalyst to the awareness and the ability to conduct yourself with an innate desire to be intelligent.


Scholarly References;
Spearman, C. (1904). "General intelligence," objectively determined and measured. American Journal of Psychology, 15, 201-293.
Halsey W.D & Shores L. (1977) Merit Student Encyclopedia. New York: Macmillan Educational Corporation
Andrew M. Colman (2015) A Dictonary of Psychology (4 ed,). Oxford University Press 
Ruth Heller (2012), Merriam-Webster's first dictionary
Hoerr, T. R. (2010). Celebrating every learner: activities and strategies for creating a multiple intelligences classroom. New York: Jossey-Bass.
A.Kolb & D.Kolb, (2013) Experienced Based Learning Systems, Hay Group
Robert J. Taormina & Jennifer H. Gao (2013). Maslow and the Motivation Hierarchy: Measuring Satisfaction of the Needs, American Journal of Psychology, 05/2013, Volume 126, Issue 2

Other References include Google Images and Wiki definitions. Obvious Named Theories either by way of previously public published statements or personal interpretation of statements.

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