Broader Theories of Intelligence

cognitive psychology

This articles continues with the topic of intelligence in cognitive psychology. Assesses the broader theories of intelligence through the work of Gardner and Sternberg. Previous articles introducing and defining the types of intelligence are a good prerequisite before today’s content below.


Howard Gardener proposed a theory of multiple intelligences, in which he identified 9 distinct types of intelligence.

The first three intelligences are included in psychometric theories of intelligence; –Linguistic intelligence, –Logical-Mathematical and Intelligence –Spatial Intelligence.

The other 6 are not ‘captured’ in most psychometric intelligence tests.




Sensitivity to individual tones and phrases of music, an understanding of ways to combine tones and phrases into larger musical rhythms and structures, awareness of emotional aspects of music.


Use of ones body in highly skilled ways for expressive or goal-directed purposes, capacity to handle objects skilfully.


Ability to notice and make distinctions among the moods, temperaments, motivations, and intentions of other people and potentially to act on this knowledge.


Access to ones own feelings, ability to draw on ones emotions to guide and understand one’s behavior, recognition of personal strengths and weaknesses.


Sensitivity and understanding of plants, animals, and other aspects of nature.


Sensitivity to issues related to the meaning of life, death, and other aspects of the human condition.



Addresses both the psychological process involved in intelligent behavior and the diverse forms that intelligence can take. This theory divides cognitive processes into three specific components are –meta components:

–The higher-order processes used to plan and regulate task performance. – Problem-solving skills are a fundamental sources of individual differences in fluid intelligence

–Performance Components: 

The actual mental processes used to perform the task such as –perceptual processing, retrieving memories, etc. –

Knowledge-Acquisition Components:

–Allow us to learn from our experiences, store information in memory, and combine new insights with previously acquired information.

–They also underlie individual differences in crystallised intelligence.


Sternberg proposes three different classes of adaptive problem solving:

  • –Analytical Intelligence: –The kinds of academically-oriented problem-solving skills measured by traditional intelligence tests
  • Practical Intelligence: The skills needed to cope with everyday demands and to manage oneself and other people effectively
  • –Creative Intelligence: –The mental skills needed to deal adaptively with novel problems

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