What is intelligence? What is it that some have lot of and others little? Controversial issue whether it is a single thing.

Expert Answers
M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Intelligence is an ability to gather, synthesize, analyze, retain, and reproduce information. In other words, an ability to learn.

There is NOT one definition because intelligence is a composite of abilities fused into one paradigm which is what each theorist would identify as intelligence on their own.

Among theorists of intelligence there are:

Erick Erickson

Jean Piaget

Karl Brunner

Howard Gardner (multiple intelligences)

Albert Bandura (social learning)

Stephen Krashen (affective filter)

Bloom (taxonomy of learning)

etc etc etc

The reason some students know more than others may be attributed to:

genetic factors/ psychosocial development/ psychological development/ support systems/ feasibility to attain information/asynchronous development.

For more information, on how some have higher IQ's than others, check the link provided.

krishna-agrawala | Student

Intelligence refers to general mental ability. There is no accepted definition of what constitutes intelligence, however it is generally accepted to be a combination of mental abilities such as:

  • Sped of learning new things
  • Ability to understand new ideas
  • Ability to remember things - how well and for how long.
  • Ability to to use knowledge for solving problems.
  • Ability to reason.

These ability may be related but not necessarily. That is a person may be good in some of these areas and week in others.

Different people have different levels of intelligence depending on many factors such as:

  • Heredity: Experts differ on the degree to which heredity influences intelligence, but they all agree that it has some influence.
  • Environment: A person living in an environment providing greater¬† opportunities of exposure to new ideas and information is likely to develop higher levels of intelligence.
  • Upbringing: The a person is brought up has major influence on intelligence. Up bringing includes physical factors such as nourishment as well as psychological factors such as exposure to ridicule, praise, encouragement and discrimination.

In absence of an agreed definition of intelligence, it is not possible to have a vey accurate or absolutely standardised measure of intelligence. However, IQ (intelligence Quotient) is widely used for measuring intelligence. IQ is measured by testing the ability of respondents to answer correctly a set of questions that require the use of various abilities associated with intelligence.

There are no universally standardised or accepted intelligence test. Different organizations have developed different tests. Some standardization of these tests is possible by administering the test to a large number of people and considering the average score of all the respondents equal to standard IQ, that is 100.

Efforts have been made to link the IQ score of people with their actual performance in different areas such as academic performance, creativity, and success in career. These studies do display a positive correlation between IQ and success, but often people with very high IQ are not that creative and also may not always achieve high positions in their professional careers.