Theories of Intelligence – CTET Exam Preparation

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The Central Board of Secondary Education has released the 2023 notification for CTET (Central Teacher Eligibility Test) July cycle. The exams are conducted twice a year, in July and December. CTET is held on two levels – Paper 1 is for aspirants who want to teach grades 1 to 5, and Paper 2 is for students who are willing to teach grades 6 to 8. Students must excel in their respective papers to crack the exam. 

Candidates, who are willing to appear for the upcoming exam, must know that the CTET syllabus covers a vast range of topics related to child psychology. This year, one topic that has been marked ‘very important’ under Child Development and Pedagogy is Theories of Intelligence. To excel in the CTET exam, you must read all there is about Theories of Intelligence.

Theories of Intelligence

What is Intelligence?

Intelligence is often talked about in Psychology – but what exactly does it mean? The word ‘intelligence’ has no standard definition. According to some researchers, intelligence is a general, single ability, while for others it encompasses a range of skills, talents, and aptitudes. 

Throughout the history of Psychology, intelligence has remained a controversial and important topic. Despite substantial interest in the subject, there is still considerable disagreement about the components that constitute intelligence. 

Researchers at various points in the past have proposed different definitions of intelligence. While the definitions can vary from one theorist to another, current conceptualizations suggest that intelligence involves the ability to perform the following tasks –

  • Learn – The retention, acquisition, and use of knowledge is a vital component of intelligence
  • Identify ProblemsPeople must be able to recognize the possible problems in the environment that need to be addressed 
  • Solve ProblemsPeople must learn to come up with a solution to a problem 

Intelligence involves specific mental abilities, such as reasoning, logic, planning, and problem-solving. While intelligence is one of the largest and most heavily researched subjects, it is also one of the few controversial topics.

Development of the Concept of Intelligence 

German psychologist William Stern coined the term ‘IQ’ or ‘intelligence quotient’ in the early 20th century. Alfred Binet, another psychologist, came up with the very first intelligence test to aid the French Government to identify schoolchildren, who needed additional assistance with academics. He was the first one to introduce the concept of mental age. Since then, intelligence testing has appeared as a widely used tool that has led to the development of other aptitude and skill tests. 

CTET Theories of Intelligence 

To explain the nature of intelligence, many different researchers have suggested various theories – some of these have emerged over the last 100 years. Here is a look at the major Theories of Intelligence –

  • General Intelligence by Charles Spearman 

Charles Spearman, a British psychologist, described the concept of General Intelligence – also known as the ‘G’ factor. He used a technique known by the name ‘factor analysis’ to examine mental aptitude tests. He concluded that the test scores were remarkably similar. Those who performed well in one cognitive test were likely to perform well in other tests as well. On the other hand, people who scored poorly on one test also scored low on other tests. Spearman concluded that intelligence refers to a general cognitive ability that can be numerically expressed and measured.

  • Primary Mental Abilities by Louis L. Thurstone

Psychologist Louis L. Thurstone proposed a differing theory of intelligence. Instead of viewing intelligence as a general, single ability, Thurstone’s theory focuses on seven different mental abilities. These are as follows –

  • Reasoning
  • Verbal comprehension
  • Numerical ability
  • Perceptual speed
  • Associative memory
  • Word fluency
  • Spatial visualization
  • Multiple Intelligence by Howard Gardner 

The theory of Multiple Intelligence by Howard Gardner is a more recent idea that has emerged. Instead of focusing on test scores analysis, Gardner suggested that numerical expressions of human intelligence – like in the IQ test – are not an accurate and full depiction of a person’s ability. The theory elaborates on eight specific types of intelligence based on abilities and skills, such as the following –

  • Spatial-visual intelligence
  • Linguistic-verbal intelligence
  • Kinaesthetic-bodily intelligence
  • Mathematical-logical intelligence
  • Musical intelligence
  • Interpersonal intelligence
  • Naturalistic intelligence
  • Intrapersonal intelligence 
  • Triarchic Theory of Intelligence by Robert Sternberg  

According to Robert Sternberg, intelligence is a ‘mental activity that is directed towards purposive adaptation to, selection, and molding of the real-world environments that are relevant to one’s life.’ He proposed the concept of ‘successful intelligence, which includes the following – 

  • Analytical Intelligence – A person’s ability to solve problems
  • Creative Intelligence – One’s capability to cope with new situations using current skills and past experiences
  • Practical Intelligence – One’s ability to adapt to a changing environment

To grasp better knowledge and understanding of intelligence and the tests that have been developed to measure the concept, it is essential that you learn about the history of intelligence testing, the scientific research conducted, and its findings. 

We sincerely hope that you have prepared your notes on the topic discussed above. For your assistance, there are several CTET study materials available on the site. You can also take CTET mock tests with Oliveboard to gauge how well your CTET preparation has been. Mock tests can give you a brief idea about the questions that are likely to feature in the upcoming exam and help clear your doubts by preparing you in a holistic manner. 

Also Read:

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q.1 What are the 4 theories of intelligence?

Ans. Candidates can check the detailed 4 theories of Intelligence in this blog.

Q.2 What are Theories of Intelligence?

Ans. Theories of intelligence refer to the various perspectives and frameworks that have been developed to understand and explain what intelligence is and how it works.


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