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One intelligence or Many intelligences?

There are conflicting ideas about Intelligence, as some believe that there is a single dominant factor of intelligence, a general mental ability, or g; however some psychologists accept the concept of ‘multiple intelligences’ (W. E. Benet, 2014). Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences, breaks intelligence down into at least eight different components: logical, linguistic, spatial, musical, kinesthetic, naturalist, intra-personal and inter-personal intelligences, which relates to the intelligence in areas of reasoning, language, visualizing, sounds, motions, soundings, self reflecting and interactions. However empirical support for non-g intelligences is lacking or very poor (Wikipedia, 2014).

Testing Intelligence

IQ tests are said to measure g, giving the participant a numbered score, reflecting their intelligence, compared top the rest of the population (100 is average), (curiosity, 2014). Therefore if you complete an IQ test and receive a score of 90-110 you are considered of an average intelligence compared to the rest of the population. However if your score was 70 or below, your IQ would be ‘low’ and if you scored 130, you would be seen to have a ‘high’ IQ (, 2014). simmiraly, a high IQ would correspond to a score of 140 and above. There are diagrammatic IQ tests, which test your ability to spatially recognise patterns and rotate objects, and there are more general problem solving IQ tests, both completed on paper (, 2014). General problem solving questions may be like the following: “Pig is to pork” as “Cow is to _____” or what number does not fit? 3, 5, 7, 11, 14, 17,” testing use of past knowledge and connection making. Diagrammatic questions may be like the picture blow with the squares. however it can be seen that some questions in IQ tests, both diagrammatic and general, assume past knowledge such as information regarding prime numbers or the name of a meat from a certain animal. It is these questions that the multiple intelligence test supporters criticise, asking 'what are you measuring with these questions? Knowledge retained from school, or the level of psychological ability?'

In a multiple intelligence test it is most likely to be on paper and questions such as ‘what would you do on your day off: read, play soccer with your friends, go to a museum, catch up on homework, attend a local concert, or review your house budget? (, 2014)’ although these questions are not as reliant on the participant knowing prior information as the general IQ tests,. some may still require small prior knowledge.

Thus, it can be said that measuring ones true ability in mental functions is a complex task that no one is absolutely certain of how to tackle.

Types of IQ tests:

Stanford-Binet, the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities, the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, are said to be the ‘founders’ of intelligence tests today (curiosity, 2014).

IQ tests predicting:

Originally, IQ tests were created to be a measure of how well children would preform at school, and often they are about right (, 2014). However they can be a measure of success or types of jobs, or if students need to be challenged in particular areas.

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Used and misused intelligence tests

If intelligence tests are misused, detrimental consequences could proceed. For example, when too much importance is placed on the result of an IQ test, then this can cause participants, especially students, to feel undervalued an useless. Thus, motivation in class drops and full potential is never reached. Moreover if too much trust is placed upon the results of IQ tests, and results that may not be 100% accurate in regards to success in schooling, could result in students being forced to attend 'extra help' classes and fall behind in other areas of schooling. Many people in authority (parents, school teachers) may look upon this student as being 'slow' or 'hindered' and would cease to provide extra services if the results of the IQ test showed that they would be to no avail.


1., (2014). Birmingham Grid for Learning - Multiple Intelligences (Secondary). [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Sep. 2014].

2. Curiosity, (2014). Exactly what does an IQ test measure? - Curiosity. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Sep. 2014].

3., (2014). Multiple Intelligence Test. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Sep. 2014].

4., (2014). Role of Intelligence Testing in Society: Harmful Aspects of Intelligence Testing. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Sep. 2014].

5. Wikipedia, (2014). Theory of multiple intelligences. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Sep. 2014].