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Current time:0:00Total duration:7:11

Video transcript

there are a number of different theories about what intelligence is and how to define it but before I get into that I want to talk about a debate that pervades all of these different theories and that's the question of whether or not there's one general intelligence or whether intelligence has multiple aspects or whether there are multiple intelligences and so as we go through all of these different theories I want you to keep that debate in mind and really think about where each theorist stands on this debate the first thing I want to talk about is the theory of general intelligence which was put forth by a man named Charles Spearman and he used factor analysis which is a statistical procedure to identify clusters of related abilities and he predicted the idea of a general intelligence which is sometimes referred to as the G factor or sometimes just G and he predicted that this general intelligence could predict our outcomes in varied academic areas and there is actually a lot of evidence to support this as studies have shown that those who score high in one area like verbal intelligence also tend to score highly in other areas like spatial reasoning however this idea was controversial then it's still controversial now when you really think about it human abilities are incredibly diverse do we really think that one single factor could account for all of them well another psychologist ll Thurston didn't think so and so he proposed a theory that focused on primary mental abilities and Thurston came up with seven factors of intelligence instead of Spearman single one and I'm not going to write them all down but they include word fluency verbal comprehension spatial reasoning perceptual speed numerical ability inductive reasoning and memory and for me one of the main strengths of this theory is that it seems more accurate to have a breakdown after all we can imagine that someone might have good inductive reasoning skills while maybe not having high verbal comprehension but the problem with Thurston's theory is the very thing that was a strength for Spearman's which is that those who do well on one of these factors also tend to do well on the others which suggests an underlying single intelligence factor but both of these theories actually have another limitation and that's what they seem really limited in what they consider to be intelligence even Thurston's theory which has seven factors tends to focus primarily on what we would consider to be book smarts and so in order to try to expand on this in order to try to be more inclusive how would garner created the theory of multiple intelligence which expanded our ideas of what kinds of things might be included as intelligence and garner divided our intelligence into seven and then nine independent intelligences and they're independent in that they don't rely on each other they don't depend on each other meaning that your intelligence in one area doesn't predict your intelligence in another area and again I'm not going to write these all down because that would take up a lot of time but he predicted a logical mathematical intelligence a linguistic intelligence a musical intelligence as spatial intelligence a body kinesthetic intelligence and intrapersonal intelligence and an interpersonal intelligence later on he added the idea of a naturalist intelligence as well as an existential intelligence and a strength of this theory is of course that it includes more than just book smarts it takes lots of other human abilities into account but are all of these intelligences why do we need to use that word wouldn't it make a lot more sense to refer to these as abilities or talents and it kind of depends on whether or not we think that there is any repercussion to labeling them an intelligence versus a talent to me it seems like it only makes a difference if you're giving this term intelligence a certain weight that somehow by labeling this in intelligence you're making it more important or more serious than it was before when it was just a talent and I really don't know if I agree with that it seems to me like it's important and worthwhile either way another problem with this theory is that there simply isn't a lot of evidence to support it and this parsley has to do with the fact that there's no real way to test it and I know that that might come as a surprise to people who have heard of this theory before or heard of things like different learning styles which stems from this theory and to me it really sounds like a nice idea but as of right now it just isn't supported by the research the last thing I want to talk about was put forth by Robert Sternberg and that's the try ARCIC theory of intelligence and Sternberg agree with Gardner about the existence of multiple intelligences but he said that there were three of not seven eight or nine and Sternberg restricted his definition of intelligence to things that he thought would lead to real world success and he's included analytical intelligence or problem-solving ability creative intelligence and practical intelligence he specifically picked things out that he thought led to success in the real world another benefit was that we can reliably measure things along these lines because it's fairly easy to define so it's easy to test as for problems we kind of fall back on the initial one which is that research has shown that individuals who score highly on one of these three intelligences tend to score highly on the others as well and so are these three intelligences really just three sides of the same coin and now that I've written it down is this sentence kind of looks a bit funny to me but I think that you get the idea which is that maybe these three intelligences very together because we're still talking about general intelligence or G and I want to take a moment to step away from these different theories of intelligence to talk about the problem that I first brought up which was whether or not there's one general intelligence versus multiple intelligences because taken together a lot of the research seems to point in the direction of there being one general intelligence and on a personal note I will admit that I sometimes have trouble with the idea of general intelligence after all there are so many different traits that we can measure a person on and so for a long time I was pretty skeptical of this idea but there were two things that really helped me and the first one I brought up when I was talking about some of the problems with the theory of multiple intelligences and that's that why does everything need to be an intelligence does that word really matter does that word actually hold any meaning and maybe it does but maybe it doesn't because when I go and I listen to an orchestra it doesn't really matter whether or not I say that the musicians have a high musical intelligence or a very high musical ability it's still wonderful to listen to and another thing that helped me better understand it and appreciate it was when a teacher that I had compared general intelligence to athleticism because on the one hand there are many many things that would enable someone to do well in sports I hand coordination speed quick reflexes muscle mass and just because someone does well one sport doesn't mean that they're going to do well on another there's no reason to assume that someone who has a gold medal and figure skating is going to be a good volleyball player but that said though it does seem to be some kind of general athletic ability and so it helped me a lot to think about intelligence like athleticism that while you can split it up into things like mathematical ability and spatial awareness maybe there is some kind of general underlying intelligence just as there might be some general underlying athleticism