Wednesday, 25 March 2015



(This notes are for M.Ed. students. B.Ed. students don't need this topic in the depth covered as in this. 
However B.Ed. students can go through it and understand!!)
Prepared by
M.Sc., M.Ed., JRF & NET
Assistant Professor in Physical Science, Arafa Institute for Teacher Education
Attur, Thrissur.

                        In contrast to animals man is considered to be endowed with certain cognitive abilities which make him a rational being. He can reason, discriminate, understand, adjust and face a new situation .Definitely he is superior to animal in all such aspects of behaviour .but human beings themselves are not all alike. There are wide individual differences. A teacher easily discovers these differences among his pupils. Some learn with a good speed while others remain lingering too long. There are some who need only one demonstration for handling the tools properly while for others even the repeated individual guidance bring no fruitful result. It is also a common fact that teacher has to meet variety of students in the class room and has to adjust his/her teaching accordingly. Unless he /she are aware of the term intelligence the teaching learning will be baseless. Therefore, it is necessary, to know about the word intelligence and its measurement for better, efficient classroom transaction.

               The term intelligence means’ intellect’ and ‘understanding ‘.Generally speaking, ‘Alertness’, with regards to the actual situation of life is an index of intelligence. Intelligence means commonsense or application part of knowledge. Intelligence is generally guessed from the way a person appears to understand a fact or group of facts and the manner in which he/she responds to those facts. But in ancient India our great Rishis called it ‘Viveka’ or ‘vivekathmaka buddhi’. Intelligence derives from ability to learn and to utilise what has been learned in adjusting to new situations and solving and solving new problems .The intelligence may be defined in various ways. The most general definitions stress versatility (or flexibility of adjustment).                                       


                            A number of definition s has been evolved by psychologists according to their own concept of the term intelligence .All the definitions have been systematized by VERNON and FREEMAN. Vernon classified all the definitions under the broad categories such as biological, psychological, and operational. Freeman though classified all definitions of intelligence into three categories but his approach differs from Vernon.

1. Vernon’s classification
v Biological approach:-
                                                 This category of definitions emphasizes the adaptive nature of human beings. Man is one kind of organism among a million on earth who adapts to his environment. According to Vernon, this idea of intelligence is the most fundamental of all. Intelligence according to this approach is the capacity to adapt relatively in situations of life. The biological concept of intelligence is not great use from practical point of view in the study of individual differences with in a culture.
According to Jean Piaget, “Adaptation to physical and social environment “.

v Psychological definitions:-
                                         The second category of definitions according to Vernon, are psychological. Few of the definitions advanced by the experts contained a clear commitment about the relative effects hereditary and environment influences in the development of intelligence. Since scores on existing intelligence tests have often been shown to be susceptible to environmental influences, a consequence of this definition is that intelligence as defined different from intelligence as measured by tests.
Stern [1941],”Intelligence is a general capacity of an individual, consciously to adjust his thinking to new environment “.
Cyril Burt,” Intelligence is the power of re-adjustment to relatively new situations of life by organising new psycho-physical combinations”.

v Operational approach: -
                                   The third category of definitions of intelligence is operational. Operational definitions are important to understand the concept of intelligence in clear and definite terms. Scientific terms are defined not in isolation, as in a dictionary but by stating the observable conditions under which a sentence containing the term is true or false. Instead of defining the word by itself, it is defined by giving the conditions for the truth of a sentence in which the term occurs .such definitions are called operational, for they frequently state what must be done in order to make certain observations.
Philip Ewart Vernon [1927], “Intelligence is what intelligence test measures”.
Boring [1948],” Intelligence is what intelligence tests”.

                           Freeman’s classification

v Adjustment or adaptation ability:-
                                             The definitions of this category lay emphasis on the adjustment ability of an individual to his environment. The individual is thought intelligent in proportion to his ability to adjust to new situations and ability to adjust to new situations and problems of life. The person who is intelligent has no difficulty in the adjustment. He adjusts in an effective way and can vary his behaviour according to the situation. A person who is less intelligent is rigid and less responses to make in the process of social interaction.
          The definitions under this category are:
         F. N. Freeman [1937]-“Intelligence is represented in behaviour by the                                    capacity of the individual to adjust himself to new situations, to solve new problems, to learn”.
Alfred Binet [1905],”Ability of an individual to direct his behaviour towards a goal “.
William James [1907],”It is the ability to adjust oneself successfully to a    relatively new situation”.
v Ability to learn:-
                   The definitions of this category emphasize the importance of an individual’s ability to learn. Learning ability is an index of one’s intelligence.

Definitions under this category:
Buckingham [1921],”Intelligence is the learning ability”.
Calvin, “It is the ability to learn”.
v Ability to carry on abstract thinking:-
                             This category of definitions lay emphasize on the effective use of concepts and symbols in dealing with situations, especially, presenting a problem to be solved through the use of verbal and numerical symbols.
The definitions under this category are:
Terman,”Intelligence as the ability to carry on abstract thinking or the                                                                 ability to think abstractly”.
Alfred Binet,” Intelligence is a capacity to think well, to judge well and to be self critical”
Burt,” Intelligence is the ability to judge well, to comprehend well and to reason well”.

All the above mentioned definitions convey the meaning of intelligence only in one aspect. Intelligence has also comprehensive and modern definition
                                           Comprehensive and Modern Definition of Intelligence
In view of the lacunae in the various definitions, the following psychologists have suggested the comprehensive and global ideas on intelligence.
David Wechsler [1944],”Intelligence is the aggregate or global capacity of an individual to act purposefully, to think rationally and to deal effectively with his environment”.
Stoddard [1943],”Intelligence is the ability to undertake activities that are characterized by difficulty,complexity,abstraction,adaptiveness to a goal, economy ,social values and the emergence of originals and to maintain such activities under conditions that demand a concentration of energy and a resistance to emotional forces.
                              In terms of definitions, we can access a person’s intelligence in proportion to his ability to use his mental energy to handle his problems and leading a happy and well contented life.

                              Nature of intelligence

                                   The true nature intelligence can be understood by first defining it to understand its meaning, discussing the various theories explaining its structure in terms of the several constituents and factors, and identifying the numerous other aspects and characteristics related to intelligence and its functioning .the points regarding the nature of intelligence are:
1.     Distribution of intelligence:-
                            The distribution of intelligence is not equal among all human beings. It is a normal distribution that is governed by a definite principle which states that the majority of people are the average, a few very bright and a few very dull.
2.     Individual differences in intelligence:-
                             Wide individual differences exist among individuals with regard to intelligence. The assessment of intelligence by various tests has given enough ideas that not only intelligence varies from individuals to individuals but also it varies in the same individual from age to age and situation to situation.
3.     Intelligence and changes in age:-
                              The age at which mental growth ceases varies from individual to individual. It tends to stabilize after the age of 10 and is fully stabilized by during adolescence. The idea that intelligence continues to grow throughout life is not strictly true. Since intelligence is basically a functions of neurons, its development and deterioration goes hand in hand with the development or deterioration of the nervous system. In the majority cases, the growth of person’s intelligence reaches its maximum sometime between the age of 16 and 20 years after which the vertical growth of intelligence almost ceases .Horizonantal growth i.e., achievement, the realization of the intelligence in terms of accumulation of knowledge and acquisition of skills etc, may continue throughout an individual’s life.

4.     Intelligence and the gender:-
                                The study of intelligence and the gender have proved that there is no significant difference between male and female. Sao it can be stated that difference in gender does not contribute towards difference in intelligence.
5.     Intelligence and racial or cultural differences:-
                             The hypothesis whether a particular race, caste, or cultural group is superior to another in intelligence has been examined by many research workers. It has now been established that intelligence is not birthright of a particular race or group. The bright and dull can be found in any race or cultural group and the differences which are found can be the result of environmental factors and influences.

6.     Intelligence and problem solving:-
                                      Intelligence helps a man to solve even complicated and comprehensive problems and situations. The study of the development of the intelligence has proved that if a child is brought up in a healthy and proper environment, then his IQ shall be more than a child brought up in a different environment.

    Characteristics of the intelligence

Ø An intelligent person is capable of facing difficult circumstances, problems and complicated situations very effectively.
Ø Intelligence helps a man in learning new things, solve problems and adjust effectively in the environment.
Ø Due to intellect an individual keeps himself neat and clean and able to maintain it throughout his/her life.
Ø The study of intelligence has proved that both heredity and environment play a vital role for the formation of intelligence.
Ø Intelligence is orderly and cumulative but the development ceases at the end of adolescence.
Ø An intelligent person attends to the task assigned to him very positively.
Ø It is true that an intelligent person is a very clever person and tries to manage the affairs very effectively.
Ø An intelligent person knows how to behave in a particular situation where as it is difficult for others.
Ø An intelligent person has sense of discrimination and capacity to proceed in the right direction.
Ø An intelligent person processes the capacity of rational, original, creative and constructive thinking which essential ingredient/components of a civilized person.


Intelligence may be understood to be a mental energy available with an individual who enables him to cope with his environment in terms of adaptation and dealing with novel situations as effectively as possible. A more comprehensive picture of concept of intelligence if certain important factors about its nature are known, namely that, it is a product of both heredity and environment, it grows with age and its vertical growth ceases at the age of 16 to 20, it shows a wide variety of individual differences but factors like gender, race, culture, caste and colour etc are not found to influence the degree of intelligence. Intelligence is inborn natural power; with the helps of intelligence we are capable of overcoming difficulties and problems of life.


·        Introduction to psychology-Norman L Munn
·        Theory and practice of psychological testing –Holt, Rinehart and Winston
·        Advanced educational psychology – S. K .Mangal
·        Advanced educational psychology-B.N.panda
·        Measuring of intelligence of Indian children-John McKenzie
·        Advanced educational psychology- S .S. Chauhan