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The concept intelligence covers all the abilities of the mind such as thought, reasoning, problem solving, language use and learning. This concept has been changing from time to time and there are different theories that have been put forward to explain it. This paper seeks to evaluate three models of intelligence: Sternberg’s model Spearman’s model and Gardner’s model.
For proper evaluation of the three models of intelligence, it is imperative to establish an understanding of each model of intelligence. First Sternberg’s model of intelligence also known as ‘triarchic theory of intelligence’ is composed of three sub theories all focusing on the information processing ability of the human mind. The three sub theories are analytic intelligence, which measures the ability of an individual to solve common problems such as in academic tests, creative intelligence, which is shown by an individual’s way of reacting to novel situation, and practical intelligence which measures an individual’s actual use of intelligence in solving real life problems (Williams et al, 2003). Spearman’s model of intelligence postulates that all tests of mental ability are correlated because there are some ‘general’ factors that are tested by most intelligence tests. The occurrence of differences in tests is because of testing ‘specific’ factors (Lubinski, 2004). Gardners’s model of intelligence postulates that human beings do not have general intelligence but multiple intelligences which all form independent system in the brain.
These three models of intelligence are in some way correlated to each other and all explain the same aspect of intelligence. When compared, Sternberg’s model and Gardner’s model all suggest that intelligence should not be measured by using only a test which measures a single ability but rather on different range of tests which test several abilities. Similarly, Spearman’s model also suggests that there are different factors which he calls ‘specific factors’ which will produce different results when mental abilities are tested. In this case, Spearman’s model and Sternberg’s model all suggest that when testing the abilities of human brain, several aspects should be included (Sternberg, 2003). Similarly, Spearman’s model which indicates that there are ‘specific factors’ that can produce different results when tested is similar to Gardner’s multiple intelligence model which indicates that there are multiple intelligence in human beings some of which are conditioned by the environment. The ‘specific factors’ in Spearman’s model are similar to ‘cultural’ intelligence’s in Gardner’s model which also are related to practical and processing intelligence in Stenberg’s model.
All these models of intelligence are different from Galton’s original theory of general intelligence which postulates that intelligence can be measured by measuring time of an individual’s reaction to a cognitive task. Stenberg’s, Gardner’s and Spearman’s models differ because they suggest that there is no single way that intelligence can be measured as human brain works in different ways depending on different factors such as environment, and culture that an individual is. To Galton, there is general intelligence which can be measured by a single test of mental activity while Sternberg, Gardner and Spearman suggest that there are different forms of intelligence which cannot be tested by a single mental activity test
According to me, the best model of measuring intelligence is Gardner’s model, which suggests that humans have multiple intelligences. This model efficiently shows how human brain works. There are some cases where an individual may have lost one aspect of cognitive functioning but has developed another. Should just a single aspect of cognitive functioning is used to measure the intelligence of such individual, then the results would not be accurate. Also there are cases where people from a given location all have a given level of intelligence especially in handling a given task. This is due to the environmental factors that influence their use of brain. This explains why Eskimos are good at ice fishing compared to people from other regions.