The development of human intelligence is a complex process, and many factors are involved in it. The following are some of the important concepts and theories that are helpful in understanding more about human intelligence.
Concrete-Operational Period and Formal-Operational Period
Concrete operations stage is the third stage of cognitive development that was formulated by Jean Piaget. Children ages 7 to 11 years go through this stage, which is further divided into two sub-stages: the concrete-operational period and the formal-operational period.
During concrete-operational period, a child develops the ability to apply logical thinking about an object as long as it can be manipulated (“Piaget’s Stages,” n.d.). For example, as a child, when I played and poured a big bucket of sand on to an even bigger bucket of sand, I would know that the amount and weight of the sand stayed the same. This is the way I understood it during my concrete-operational period. On the other hand, during formal-operational period, logical thinking can be applied in an object even without its physical presence (“Piaget’s Stages,” n.d.). This means that if I would think of the same example as above during my formal-operational period, I would not need to actually see what happened to the sand to know and understand that its amount and weight did not change. I can logically think about the outcome without seeing the physical object.
Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences
The theory of multiple intelligences was developed by Dr. Howard Gardner, a Professor of Education at the Harvard University. Based on this theory, human potential and learning preferences are tied together, and this connection is based on people’s unique intelligences (“Howard Gardner’s,” n.d.). In his early work, Gardner identified six intelligences, which have been expanded to nine afterwards. These includes veral-linguistic intelligence, logical-mathematical intelligence, spatial-visual intelligence, bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, musical intelligences, interpersonal intelligence, intrapersonal intelligence, naturalist intelligence, and existential intelligence. These types or categories of intelligence cover almost all aspects of one’s skills and capabilities. However, from a personal perspective, it can still be improved by adding artistic intelligence as another form. Those who have outstanding skills in performing arts can be classified within this category.
Sternberg’s Triarchic Theory
Triarchic theory of intelligence was developed by Robert Sternberg. According to him, “intelligent behavior involves adapting to your environment, changing your environment, or selecting a better environment” (“Sternberg’s View,” n.d.). Analytical intelligence covers abstract thinking, logical skills, verbal, and mathematical skills while creative intelligence includes divergent thinking and the skills to deal with different situations (“Sternberg’s View,” n.d.). On the other hand, practical intelligence covers the skills that one has in functioning within the real world (“Sternberg’s View,” n.d.). From a personal perspective, this theory can still be improved by having a category that would cover artistic skills and capabilities, such as the intelligence to deal with arts, music, and other artistic performance.
The Influence of Nature and Nurture on Intelligence
There is no doubt that both nature (genetic/heredity) and nurture (environment) plays an important role in the development of one’s intelligence. It has been believed that heredity places a certain ceiling r an upper and lower limit to one’s intelligence while the environment helps in nurturing what has already been given through genes. There are important hereditary factors and environmental factors that can shape the outcome of a person’s intelligence. For instance, IQ is hereditable. Through several studies conducted with twins as subjects, it was found that people’s intelligence is influenced by genetics around 70% - 80% (“Genetic and Environmental,” n.d.). Another factor that is hereditable are neural disorders, such as down syndrome and autism. These conditions can negatively affect one’s intelligence. One the other hand, parenting and school environments are two examples of environmental factors. If children are receiving nurturing and supportive care from their parents, their intelligence can be developed more properly. The same is through with the school environment that they will be exposed to. If the school system provides enough support and stimulating activities and learning opportunities, children will be able to properly explore the potential of their intelligence. Personally, I believe that environment has greater influence on one’s intelligence. For instance, a study of juvenile twins showed that the heritability of their IQ was lower than 0.45, which means that people tend to seek reinforcement of from the environment (“Genetic and Environmental,” n.d.). No matter how high or low an IQ is, the environment still plays a more important role on whether this heritable trait will be stimulated or not.
Gifted, Traditional, and Special Needs Children
Different children have different educational needs. Gifted children, those who can think and reason above their peers, have high speeds in metal processing and they are more sensitive and aware of the issues that surround them which put them more at risk of social and emotional challenges (“Gifted and Talented,” n.d.). Special needs children, on the other hand, are those with learning disabilities (e.g., deaf, mute, and dyslexic). Meanwhile, the traditional children are the normal one’s, with average learning capacities. In an integrated classroom, these types of children can be combined together for a learning experience, but it has its advantages and disadvantages. For instance, those with special needs may be able to improve their social skills by being exposed to a diverse group of students. By knowing that they are receiving the same lectures and materials as the non-disabled students, those who have special needs may also improve their self-esteem. However, some special needs children also have behavioral issues that may affect the rest of the class. Likewise, even though they will receive the same learning materials, they may experience more challenges in keeping up with the non-disabled students. As for the gifted children, integrating them with children who have lower IQ compared to them (traditional and special needs children) may make them feel bored and under stimulated.
Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development (n.d.). Flinders University. Retrieved from
Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Northern Illinois University. Retrieved from http://www.niu.edu/facdev/resources/guide/learning/howard_gardner_theory_multiple_intelligences.pdf
Genetic and environmental impacts on intelligence (n.d.). Boundless.com. Retrieved from https://www.boundless.com/psychology/textbooks/boundless-psychology-textbook/intelligence-11/introduction-to-intelligence-61/genetic-and-environmental-impacts-on-intelligence-243-12778/
Gifted and talented. Psych 4 Schools. Retrieved from http://www.psych4schools.com.au/excerpt/gifted
Sternberg’s View on Intelligence (n.d.). The Second Principle. Retrieved from http://thesecondprinciple.com/optimal-learning/sternbergs-views-intelligence/