INTELLIGENCE

What is intelligence? It is a question to which psychologists, cognitive scientists, neurobiologists, neuropsychologists have tried from long time to answer, but until now nobody has been able to be exhaustive. The concept of intelligence, in fact, is an intuitive one in the sense that everyone knows roughly what it is, but nobody knows exactly what it is. If we ask people “what intelligence is?” Most of them will answer that it is the ability to solve problems, at most they will say it is the ability to adapt to the environment. Two American researchers, Mark Snyderman and Stanley Tothaman (1987) to find out how psychologist who specialize in intelligence define it, asked more than 1.000 of them to examine a list of abilities that they considered to be aspects of intelligence. Nearly all checked abstract reasoning, problem solving and the capacity to acquire knowledge; more than half checked memory, adaptation to one’s environment, mental speed, linguistic competence etc.. The definition of intelligence is controversial. According “”Mainstream Science on Intelligence” (1994), an editorial statement composed by fifty-two researchers, it is a very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience. It reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings -“catching on,” “making sense” of things, or “figuring out” what to do. The nature of intelligence. Even there are still many doubts, however, in recent years, almost all psychologists have recognized that intelligence has many aspects, although if it does not exist an uniqueness of views on its nature. The positions range between two extremes. From one side there is the tradition of the English school which recognizes that intelligence is a multifaceted phenomenon, but it is convinced that at the base there is a mental capacity called “general intelligence”, in other words it is formed by a factor “g” and many specific factors. The first to speak of it was Spearman, who in a famous book of 1927 (The abilities of man) theorized the existence of a factor “g”, and various factors consisting of the specific skills required for the performance of individual tasks. Spearman noted that children with high school grades obtained high scores, with few exceptions, in all disciplines, which led him to theorize the existence of a general intelligence factor. He believed that the factor G. explained why in almost every pair of item assessment of intellectual abilities turned out a correlation between the two elements. On the other side there is the American tradition that supports the theory multi factorial, according to them what is called intelligence it would be really a combination of sundry factors almost completely independent of each other. In fact, these psychologists deny absolutely the existence of a general intelligence. The first was LL. Thurstone (1938), who sided against the existence of a prevailing factor G., identifying seven key instead of intelligence: verbal ability, comprehension, numerical computing, spatial skills, associative memory, reasoning and speed of perception. Guilford (1967) was like-minded, according to him there is not a “g” factor, i.e. a general intelligence, but it is possible to be skilled in a sector and completely inept in another. It is sufficient to think of the case of talented scientists in their field, but with a bankruptcy social life. Beethoven, for instance, it seems that he was unable to perform mathematical calculations that required multiplications or write a letter without making spelling errors.

TRATTO DAL LIBRO – FROM THE BOOK PSYCHOLOGY – HOW MIND WORKS…