Science Articles


Intelligence is difficult to define and even more difficult to explain.


When you think about intelligence, it is more than exam results. Intelligence is difficult to define and even more difficult to explain. It means different things to different people. For some, intelligence refers to the mental ability of learning and being able to apply the knowledge to combat the environment along with the ability to reason. For others, intelligence refers to the ability to adapt to a new environment when the current one changes. Intelligence is also known to be the ability to comprehend complex ideas, of learning new things quickly, learning from experiences, etc.


In 22,000 BC, Chinese Emperor Ta Yu has devised a method of testing intelligence. The intelligence test was used for examining the government official and firing them if they failed the test. In the 19th century, Sir Francis Galton, an English Psychologist gave intelligent tests their concrete form. He is also known to be the father of mental tests. He demonstrated that every individual differs from one another when it comes to intelligence (sensory, motor and perceptual processes).

Charles Spearmen, in the 20th century, coined the term ‘general intelligence’. He used a variety of mental tests and judged individual’s performance accordingly. His tests weren’t that conclusive about the intelligence. But it did showcase several findings and gave rise to several queries regarding intelligence. Currently, Psychometry deals with intelligence tests. Psychometry is the branch of psychology that specialises in psychological testing. Psychometrists are the ones who create, administer and interpret intelligence tests and their results.


Scoring high scores on an IQ test indicates higher success level in various areas of life. IQ tests were initially used for predicting achievements in school but over time, it was used for predicting other non-intellectual achievements including creative and artistic talents, success in romantic relationships, socioeconomic status, health and longevity etc. IQ tests can also be used for predicting an individual’s personality traits like prudence, self-control and risk-taking along with life expectancy.

Intuition often turns out to a great teacher. In a single meeting, various people can be judged in accordance with competency, wit and smartness. Majority of the psychologists believe that a person is judged according to the first impression. If the first impression is good, then the individual is considered good.

An individual’s informal beliefs about other’s intelligence are not consequential but they are not always wrong. Various studies have established that intuitions are not exactly disconnected from real IQ scores.


Emotional intelligence can help in predicting the way one manages stressful situations and learn critically. It decides how one can perform at a certainly given task for pursuing their goals independent of the actual IQ scores. Research indicates that emotional intelligence is more important than IQs. Self-awareness is important for having emotional intelligence. The individual is aware of his/ her feelings, the impact they leave on others, their limitations etc.


Intelligence tests are of two types- aptitude or achievement tests and individual or group tests. Aptitude tests act as a tool for predicting the future performance. Achievement tests act as a tool for evaluating the current performance. When it comes to individual tests, they are more customised and personal in nature. But when it comes to group tests, they save money, time, effort and are more economical.

  • Stanford Binet Test
  • Weschler Scales
  • Army alpha test and army beta test
  • Scholastic assessment test

The criteria for intelligence tests are-

  1. Standardization– there should be equal uniformity of administration maintained in scoring the test. For instance, if there is an interview taking place, all the interviewers should ask the same question in the same manner to all the candidates in order to test their qualification. Even though it is difficult to maintain ideal standardization, there should be more effort put into eliminating factors disrupting the test’s reliability.
  2. Validity– the test should be able to capture what it aims to capture with complete accuracy. For instance, if a test is used for measuring language proficiency, it cannot be considered as a test for intelligence since not every person proficient in a specific language is intelligent. The test should be more valid and fulfil the criteria of educational achievements, wealth and success.
  3. Reliability– there should be consistency in scores and certain stability when it comes to the result of the intelligence tests. The test loses its ability to be predictive when the same tests, when retaken, yield different results.

Intelligence varies from one person to another. just because an individual is good in studies does not vouch for his intelligence. If Albert Einstein was intelligent, so were various painters, actors, writers, dancers etc. Intelligence is about the cognitive processes like problem-solving, memory, use of high order mental processes etc. It does not imply that one has to mug up content for being intelligent. How one fares in life makes him intelligent.