Understanding Intelligence: iq, ei, and mi restructuring our notions of Learning and Intelligence

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Understanding Intelligence: IQ, EI, and MI


  • 4 Characteristics:

  • Adaptive – modifying behavior to accomplish new tasks successfully

  • Learning Ability – Learn new info quickly & easily

  • Use of Prior Knowledge – to analyze & understand new situations

  • Culture Specific - intelligence in one culture isn’t always same in another

Intelligence & Culture

  • Intelligence is adaptive


  • Not a measure of what a person has learned (i.e. school achievement)

    • Often thought of as innate
  • But intelligence depends on prior knowledge

  • Not necessarily a permanent, unchanging characteristic

    • Can be modified through experience & learning

Measuring Intelligence

  • Hard to measure & define

  • Lead to creation of an Intelligence Test to measure:

    • General knowledge
    • Vocabulary
    • Perception
    • Memory
    • Abstract Thought

I.Q. – Intelligence Quotient

  • Traditionally thought of as a ‘fixed’ trait, but some research shows some gains are possible.

    • Especially if child was in inadequate environmental conditions (malnourished, no school, etc.)
  • Largely predictive of school success

IQ History – Early 1900’s

  • Developed when mass education became the norm.

  • Originally designed to identify and help “slower” students in France.

  • Tested many children of the same age & identified patterns.

Sample IQ Test Questions

  • What does the word quarrel mean?

  • How are a goat and beetle alike?

  • What should you do if you get separated from your family in a large department store?

Sample IQ Questions….

  • Three kinds of people live on the planet Ziropox; bims, gubs, and lops. All bims are lops. Some gubs are lops. Which one of the following must be true?

    • A) All bims are gubs
    • B) All lops are bims
  • C) Some gubs are bims

  • D) Some lops are bims.

IQ Continued…

IQ Test by Age

  • Elem. Tests – Ability to manipulate & work with concrete objects

    • Lower Elementary: Copying geometric figures, remembering short lists, identifying similarities & differences
    • Upper Elementary: Assembling puzzles, remembering sentences & series of numbers, recognizing concrete analogies, finding absurdities in illogical statements

IQ Test by Age

  • Adolescence - Includes abstract ideas

    • Middle School: vocabulary, drawing logical inferences from verbal descriptions, identifying similarities across dissimilar concepts
    • High School: Those listed above plus – identifying differences in abstract words, interpreting proverbs, breaking down complex geometric figures

Results are ‘normalized’ – designed so 100 is average (50% above, 50% below)

  • Results are ‘normalized’ – designed so 100 is average (50% above, 50% below)

  • 2/3 of us score between 85-115

  • Psychologists have created a method of scoring IQ tests that creates this distribution

    • Score tests so 100 is always average

IQ Scores on the Rise

  • Worldwide IQ scores have steadily increased over the years

    • Many people who were considered normal in 1900 would be below average today
    • Racial & ethnic groups becoming increasingly similar too
  • Probably due to:

    • Increased nutrition, smaller families, better schooling, increased cognitive stimulation (TV, books, internet, video games)

Practice IQ Test

  • MENSA – “welcomes people from every walk of life whose IQ is in the top 2% of the population”

  • http://www.mensa.org/workout.html

World’s Smartest Person ….

  • According to the High IQ Society, the world’s smartest person is a graduate student at the University of Michigan.

  • “there's a little bit of difference between being the world's smartest person and winning this contest – the smartest person in the world probably wouldn't bother entering this contest. I just thought it would be fun.” – Andrew Nierman

I.Q. Score Cautions

  • Questions may be culturally biased.

    • Ex: What is a toboggan?
  • Environmental Conditions

  • Test Anxiety

  • Predicative of school success – not necessarily life success

A Different Take: Multiple Intelligences

  • Developed by Howard Gardner in the early 1980’s at Harvard.

  • Attempt at a more complete understanding of intelligence.

  • Developed 8 intelligences.

  • We have a unique blend of

  • intelligences.

Gardner’s Intelligences

  • Logical-mathematical (number smart)

  • Linguistic (word smart)

  • Bodily-Kinesthetic (body smart)

  • Musical (music smart)

  • Spatial (picture smart)

  • Interpersonal (person smart)

  • Intrapersonal (myself smart)

  • Naturalist (nature smart)

Take a MI Test

  • http://www.bgfl.org/bgfl/custom/resources_ftp/client_ftp/ks3/ict/multiple_int/questions/questions.cfm

  • What do the average American female and male results look like (according to this particular test)?

Multiple Intelligences ….

  • Not readily accepted within academic psychology, but embraced by educators.

  • MI rings true for teachers – matches their experiences with students.

  • New approaches to better meet the needs of a larger range of students.

Multiple Intelligences ….

  • Importance of portfolio assessment.

  • Not feasible to teach to all intelligences all the time.

    • With understanding of MI, teachers can create more balanced setting to enhance success of all students.
  • Possible inclusion of other intelligences.

Another Take: Emotional Intelligence

  • A type of social intelligence that involves the ability to:

    • Monitor one’s own and others’ emotions
    • To discriminate among them
    • To use the information to guide one’s own thinking and actions

Emotional Intelligence ….

  • Based on a study from the 60’s - the marshmallow experiment

    • 4 year olds and their self-control
  • Children were followed up 12 years later

    • What do you think researchers found?

Emotional Intelligence ….

  • May be a better predictor of success in life than IQ.

  • Can Emotional Intelligence be taught?

    • What do you think?

Summing Up …

  • New ways of understanding learning and intelligence.

  • Multiple Intelligences – a unique blend of intelligences

  • IQ vs. EQ

Questions to ponder…

  • So is intelligence a useful concept? If so, in what ways? If not, why not?

  • In particular, is intelligence useful for teachers and for our system of education?

  • Identify an outcome and then authentic assessments from 5 of the 8 multiple intelligences…

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