What is Intelligence & its most accepted definitions?

The word intelligence derives from the Latin word intelligere which means to comprehend or to perceive. It is the most basic meaning.

It is a bunch of different abilities such as, -understand novel stimuli, learning, language and communication, being aware of the environment, the ability to reason, plan, and solve the problems creatively.

According to Britannica dictionary, It is the mental quality that consists of the abilities,

  • To learn from experience,
  • Adapt to new situations,
  • Understand and handle abstract concepts, and
  • Use knowledge to manipulate one’s environment

However, American Psychological Association (APA) refers intelligence as intellectual functioning.


Nature Vs. Nurture Debate 

Nature The genetic factors that we have inherited from our parents, such as height or skin color. Whereas, Nativist  believe it is purely controlled by our hereditary factors .

Nurture All the environmental factors that can impact us, such as rearing process, family, socioeconomic conditions, social support, cultural factors, etc. However, Environmentalists / empiricists believe it depends upon experiences or environmental conditions.

Recently, studies have suggested that both genetic and environmental factors play a vital role in shaping it.

Definitions of intelligence

Albert Binet defined it as The ability to judge well, to understand well, to reason well.

Altogether, It is the capacity to form concepts and to grasp their significance. (Terman 1916)

According to David Wechsler (1944), “it is the aggregate or global capacity of the individual to act purposefully, to think rationally and to deal effectively with the environment.” 

Moreover, Sternberg and Kaufman (2011) defined it as one’s ability to learn, think and to adapt to the environment.

Whereas, Terman emphasizing on the ability to think abstractly and Thorndike emphasizing learning and the ability to give good responses to questions.

Initially, they were more stressing intelligence as an ability or general mental ability but now Most of the psychologist agreed that Adaptation to the environment is the key to understanding both what it is and what it does.

How to test?

  • Intelligence Quotient (IQ) concept was devised by German psychologist William Stern. It is the division of Mental Age(MA) by Chronological Age(CA) and then multiplied by 100.
    Intelligence Quotient IQ = (MA/CA) x 100
  • Stanford–Binet Intelligence Scales
  • The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS)
  • Malin’s Intelligence Scale for Indian Children (MISIC) 


How can we improve our Intelligence ?

According to American Psychological Association (APA)- We can improve it through-



Sternberg, R. J. https://www.britannica.com/science/human-intelligence-psychology


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *