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Write An Essay About Intelligence

Essay on Intelligence: Definition, Intelligence Quotient and Distribution of Intelligence !

“Intelligence is what you use when you do not know what to do” – Jean Piaget.

Meaning and Definition:

Human being is considered to be the most intelligent animal in this world. He is capable of controlling all other beings and many other things in this world.

Intelligence has a very important role in day- to-day activities of the individual.

The word intelligence has been derived from a Latin verb ‘intellegere’ means to understand.

What is intelligence? There are many answers for this question. The concept of intelligence has been understood by psychologists in different ways. Therefore, there are a number of definitions. The following are some of the important definitions:

Alfred Binet:

Intelligence is something which sensory acuity tests or reaction time experiments measure.


Intelligence is the capacity of the organism to adjust itself to an increasingly complex environment.


Intelligence is the ability to carry on abstract thinking.


It is the capacity for flexible adjustment.


Intelligence is the degree of availability of one’s experiences for the solution of immediate problems and the anticipation of the future ones.


Intelligence is the capacity for constructive thinking, which involves a discovery of appropriate qualities and relations of the ideas, that are before us and bringing in of other relevant ideas.

All these definitions define intelligence in their own way, but they are incomplete, because they give incomplete picture. In view of this problem, many psychologists have accepted a definition by Wechsler. David Wechsler (1944) who devised the intelligence tests for children as well as adults tried to provide a somewhat comprehensive definition:

“Intelligence is the aggregate or global capacity of an individual to think rationally, to act purposefully and to deal effectively with his environment”.

This definition includes three important processes, viz., to act purposefully means, to act in a determined way without any ambiguity, to think appropriately in a rational way without any prejudices and to deal effectively with the environment or to adjust in a proper way with the environment.

Intelligence Quotient (IQ):

As said above every individual will possess some amount of intelligence. We may be able to say whether the individual is less intelligent or more intelligent on the basis of his performance in activities. But to know the exact quantity of intelligence possessed by an individual, administration of an intelligence test is essential.

When a test is administered we get a score which may be converted into Mental Age (M A), the concept developed by Alfred Binet. This is an index of his mental ability. But this score does not give us the quantitative measure of his mental ability or intelligence.

Hence, in order to know a quantitative measure, a German psychologist by name William Stern proposed a formula, i.e. MA/CA x 100.

The output we get out of this formula was called as Intelligence Quotient (IQ) by Stern, which is the index of the quantity of intelligence possessed by the person. The Chronological Age (CA) will be the actual or real age of the person.

The resultant product of MA divided by CA may be in decimal point, which does not give a clear picture. Hence, in order to overcome this problem of decimal points, Stern suggested that the product be multiplied by 100. This product will be supposed to be the quantity of intelligence possessed by the individual.

Binet and other psychologists had a firm belief that the IQ remains constant and it will not change though the individual grows chronologically. They believed that the growth of intelligence will be ceased by 16th year in almost all individuals.

Hence, they restricted CA to 16 years-irrespective of the age of individuals after 16 years. That is why the actual CA will be considered if the age is below 16 years while calculating IQ. But it will be taken as only 16, even if the age of the individual exceeds 16 years.

Examples: IQ=MA/CA× 100

= 10/10×100=100

= 12/10×100=120

= 8/10×100=80

Distribution of Intelligence:

Every individual in a society will have some amount of intelligence. But they differ in the level of intelligence.

Some may be very dull, some may be average and some other people may be more intelligent. But how many of them in a group or a society are dull or intelligent or average? The answer to this question lies in knowing the distribution of intelligence in a given population.

If we measure the intelligence of a large number of people and plot the IQ scores of these people on a graph, it assumes the shape of a “Normal Distribution Curve” or otherwise called ‘Bell Shaped Curve’ (Fig. 3.11).

This curve indicates that, a very few people will be at the lowest score and the equal number will be at the highest level of the IQ. The number gradually increases as we go up from the lowest point till we reach the midpoint or the average. A large number of people in a population will cluster around the mean score.

The number gradually decreases from the midpoint till the highest level is reached wherein there will be very few individuals. The lower side of the curve indicates the people with low intelligence and the higher side indicates people with above average level of intelligence.

Table 3.1 showing the distribution of individuals according to IQ scores and their classification:

Mentally retarded are divided as follows:

(According to American Association for Mentally Retarded)

Terman and Goddard have classified MR as follows:

(a) Idiots: IQ: 0-25,

(b) Imbecile: IQ: 26-50

(c) Moron: IQ: 51-70

Man is distinctively different from the lower species of animals because of his ability in controlling the environment he lives in. The distinction between man and other animals also springs from his successful adaptation to his environmental demands. The animals can at best escape to safety, protect their lives, may build nests as their shelter, can migrate to a distant land, but cannot conquer nature. The animals hardly can ingeniously adapt to any unfavorable chaotic environment.

On the contrary, man can recreate the world, create comforts for him with the help of scientific gadgets, climb the high ranges of mountains, invade the depth of the seas and air, travel with enormous speed, and can extend the life-span of its species by inventing remedies for several fatal diseases. His intellectual skills place him as the most superior species in the animal kingdom. Thus, underlying all human abilities lie the essential attributes of intelligence.

Intelligence is a popular term referring to all forms of man's complex mental abilities. Intelligence as a term refers to the ability to understand, act, interpret, and predict the future, and to achieve and handle relationships, information, concepts, and abstract symbols. Intelligence is thus a commonly used word to express universal capacity required for survival and progress beyond the present.

Intelligence is a process of cognition. "Cognition refers to how we acquire, store, retrieve, and use knowledge" (Matlin, 1996). All the basic psychological processes such as learning, perception, memory, concept formation, thinking, reasoning, problem solving, decision-making, and creativity are related to intelligence.

Therefore, intelligent behavior includes all forms of cognitive behavior such as attending, perceiving, learning, memorizing, thinking and predicting. Intelligence is an abstract concept. It cannot be observed direction it can be estimated only through individual's performance on tests and re life situations. Recently, the concept of intelligence has been broadened include such terms as "emotional intelligence", "spiritual intelligence "practical intelligence", "social intelligence", "vocational intelligence" and "musical intelligence".


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