Beyond IQ Test Ways to Determining Intelligence

Intelligence is a topic of interest to many, if not most, these days. Especially it is the focus of attention of students and professionals who are concerned about their academic and professional performance. Being intelligent means having a rewarding ability that will earn both income and applause. It is this nucleus of expectations around which the most popular concept of intelligence is developed in our times. Most of us know about it in terms of a person’s Intelligence Quotient, or IQ for short. IQ is a person’s score on a certain intelligence test, designed by experts, rated against his/her age. These tests were initiated in the First World War to assess military personnel but became popular to be applied to people in general. In 1983, Howard Gardner, a psychologist at the Harvard School of Education, challenged the IQ based concept of intelligence in his book Frames of Mind. Gardner thought this concept too narrow to encompass the multiple sides of human abilities that require intelligence e.g. spatial, kinesthetic, musical etc. thus Gardner’s view of intelligence was that of multiple intelligences.

While Gardner’s classification of intelligence types included, at one point, twenty different kinds of intelligences, he generally divided a person’s intelligences into two main categories: Interpersonal Intelligence and Intrapersonal Intelligence. Interpersonal Intelligence refers to one’s thoroughness of the understanding of other people’s motives, working with them, and positively interacting with them. Successful teachers, politicians, salespersons, and many other professions all demand high interpersonal intelligence. The Intrapersonal Intelligence is a turned-inward ability. It is the capacity to form a veracious model of oneself and be able use the same to function effectively in life’s situations.

In his 1995 bestseller book, Emotional Intelligence, eminent psychologist Daniel Goleman redefined intelligence by adding the aspect of the affective part of human personality, i.e. human feelings and emotions. In contrast to the conventional concept of cognitive intelligence (that of IQ or other intelligence tests), Goleman’s concept of emotional Intelligence, or EI for short, asserts that a fuller understanding of and greater ability to master the use of one’s emotions attain best performances in real life situations. Goleman gives many instances of cases where emotions play a greater role in dealing with a particular life situation than has previously been acknowledged. Interpersonal intelligence directly stands on the emotional skills of a person and that is why, Goleman quotes, ‘many people with IQS of 160 work for people with IQS of 100.’ Thus the very name Homo sapiens (meaning the thinking species) is not the true representative of human intelligence. In human actions, judgments, and decisions, feelings and emotions have a greater role than mere verbal and/or logical-mathematical skills.