Intelligence Theories: Comparison and Critique

 Which theory do you believe is the best for determining intelligence? Why?

Intelligence testing is applied to analyze the all-around efficacy of a person’s mental processes, particularly comprehension, reasoning, and the capacity to recall information. There are different tests and theories that are suitable for both youngsters and adults. Even though many theories could be effective in one way or the other, the Stern berg Triarch Theory can be considered the best theory for determining intelligence. This is because it appears to capture significant features of intelligence that are not captured by most other conventional theories. It varies from Gardner theory that concentrates on eight aspects of intelligence like dialectal and musical, amongst many others. The Triarchic theory focuses on the processes of intelligence, instead of the spheres of intelligence, like the case of Gardner’s theory. This theory also considers emotions to be distinct from intelligence.

The Stanford-Binet IQ considers intellect across four various areas. These include oral reasoning, numerical intelligence, visual intellect, and short-term memoir. On the other hand, the Wechsler Intelligence test takes in numerous regular tests used in evaluating reasoning and intelligent capacities in toddlers through to adulthood. Nevertheless, the checks are not very effectual since they have numerical and interpretative shortcomings on the data acquired from the test processes. Nevertheless, a theory could be projected to incorporate all available elements of intelligence (Sternberg, 2004).

Which type of intelligence(s) do they possess? Why?

Wechsler test takes into consideration several tests with both oral and non-oral contents. This is because Wechsler believed that a single test is not sufficient to provide detailed information about the intelligence of an individual.

Stern berg Triarch theory incorporates three aspects of intelligence. These are analytical, creative, and practical intelligence. Analytical intelligence is used because Stern berg assumes that it is linked to the interior world of a person. According to Stern berg, creative theory enables people to think innovatively and allows individuals to adapt to new circumstances. Again practical intelligence is considered to operate in a typical world situation.

Gardner theory takes into consideration seven different principles for a conduct to be regarded as intellect because it argues that there is an extensive range of intellectual capabilities with only a thin link between them.

The Stanford-Binet IQ theory measures five features of intellectual capability: Fluid reasoning, understanding, quantitative perception, operational memory, and visual-spatial processing. These features are considered the most effective in determining the intelligence of a person (Santrock, 2012).

What are the pros and cons of using each theory to define intelligence?

Stern berg Triarch Theory

The key advantage of this theory is that it does not restrict the meaning of intellect to cognitive capabilities only. It captures numerous aspects of intelligence, some of which are not captured by other methods. The main disadvantage of this theory is that, according to analysts, the tests developed by Stern berg for determining the three reasoning processes do not completely reinforce his Triarch theory.

Gardner theory

The major advantage of Gardner theory is that it employs multiple approaches in assessing intelligence rather than just a single IQ score. This implies that it credits individuals for many different kinds of intelligence. However, it has two major shortcomings. First, it is difficult to determine the exact number of different types of intelligence that exist. Another disadvantage is that there is no standard approach to measuring different kinds of intelligence.

The Stanford-Binet IQ

The major advantage of this theory is that it can accurately be defined and measured by the IQ testing. Another advantage is that it is an appropriate interpreter in an academic performance situation and can as well be successful in measuring performance in some careers. However, there is a persistent dispute on whether it is the most suitable measure of intelligence. Another disadvantage is that it emphasizes cognitive abilities while ignoring other kinds of intelligence, such as practical, perceptual, and creative, amongst others. Finally, it is more applicable to western cultures only with limited application to Asian and African cultures, where intelligence incorporates the capacity to understand other people.

Wechsler test

The advantage of using this theory is that it incorporates multiple aspects of intelligence that allow a detailed assessment of the profile of a person. This is particularly important since there is substantial variability in the performance of children in different errands. The main disadvantage of this test is that there is a significant dispute concerning the efficiency of profile assessment. Most psychologists claim that profiles hardly give accurate information since the methods used in each test have not been validated (Hersen, 2004).

Why is assessing a child’s intelligence important (or not!)?

Assessment of the intelligence of a child is very important not only to the child’s teacher but also his or her parents. To parents, intelligence testing helps in knowing the interests, fortes, weaknesses as well as any challenges in their personality. Testing of intelligence gives scientifically authenticated information concerning the learning abilities of a child. If a child has solemn learning challenges, he or she needs support from both educators and parents. This information assists in better understanding the basis of such kind of challenge and advocating for his or her needs (Domino, 2006).


Domino, G., & Domino, L. (2006). Psychological testing: An introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hersen, M. (2004). Comprehensive handbook of psychological assessment. Hoboken, N.J: J. Wiley.

Santrock, W. (2012). Life-span development (14th Ed.). Boston: McGraw Hill

Sternberg, J. (2004). Handbook of intelligence. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press.