Adopted children from deprived social backgrounds, even though they may have IQs closer to their biological than their adopted parents, often score higher than would be expected had they been brought up by their biological parents. Intelligence is the ability to understand concepts and to reason them out.
There is much confusion about the precise definition of intelligence. Many people use the word to mean special degree knowledge. The widespread use of intelligence tests has led to the idea that intelligence is a single quality. Many scientists prefer to divide intelligence into various factors. Some see it as having three basic parts-speeds of thought, learning, and problem solving.
Others argue that a general factor of intelligence exists, made up of seven special abilities-understanding the meaning of words, fluency with words, working with numbers, visualizing things in space, memory, speed of perception and reasoning ability. Other researchers go further, dividing intelligence into more than 100 different factors.
Intelligence can also be considered as having three entirely separate forms-abstract intelligence (understanding ideas and symbols) practical intelligence (aptitude in dealing with practical problems, such as repairing machinery) and social intelligence (coping reasonably well and wisely with human relationships). Personality plays an important role in this type of intelligence.
Age and intelligence Intelligence, however it is defined, increases up to the age of about six years and then stabilizes. Intelligence quotient (IQ), as measured by intelligence tests, continues to increase to about the age of 26, stays the same until about the age of 40, and then gradually declines (the drop occurring later in a person with an intellectually demanding job).
Extremes of intelligence occur in mental handicap (defined as a low IQ) and in the very gifted (defined by scores over 140). People with very high IQs are often very successful, but not always. Personality and social adjustment are just important. The children from developing countries born and brought up in developed countries like in the US and Britain are doing very well on the average in school performance, because of environmental factors and the technology around.
Measuring intelligence Intelligence is difficult to define and to measure satisfactorily. Nevertheless, various tests have been devised that provide an estimate of a person’s mental abilities. Most such tests measure an individual’s ability in several areas of mental functioning that are generally thought to be important components or indicators of intelligence.
For example, mathematical ability, logical reasoning, vocabulary, comprehension, general knowledge, memory, perceptual ability and pattern recognition and the ability to understand relationships between concepts or objects. There are two basic versions of intelligence tests designed, one for adults another for children. One of the oldest intelligence test designed by the Frenchman Alfred Binet (1857-1911) since then but now with modifications to suit the current situation of the 21st century.
In most intelligence tests, scoring is based on the notion of Mental Age (MA) and the Chronological Age (CA), since the intelligence normally increases with maturity. The Intelligent quotient is therefore MA divided by CA, multiplied by 100 to simplify results. The tests are devised to ensure that three quarters of people have an IQ between 80 and 120.
They are also standardized so that the score indicates the same relative ability at different age levels. Regardless of age group, an IQ of 65 indicates that a person is in the bottom one per cent of his/her age group; an IQ of 135 indicates the person is in the top one per cent of his/her age group. Uses Intelligence tests are useful in predicting whether a person has the ability to cope with certain jobs or to pass certain examinations.
They may, therefore, be used to assess school or job aptitude. In the last examinations done in Tanzania, there are reports that some pupils wrote abusive language and bongo fleva songs. The children might have been in the category of low intelligence but they might have suffered from a mental illness which I will be able to write about it in my next column.
The mental illness that pupils have demonstrated may be Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). There are many features to the diseases, but that what was presented fits in that category, further analysis need to be done. However, intelligence tests have been criticized for their alleged bias regarding gender and race.
The notion of mental retardation and to assess the effects of dementia or other brain disease. In particular, a large difference in verbal and performance scores is helpful in assessing the degree of brain disease. Children with a particular difficulty (such as delayed reading) may be tested to assess the severity and nature of the problem, so remedial teaching can be planned.
Learning disability is a condition that needs to be diagnosed early in those affected students, so that they also benefit in places where there are special schools. Children with learning disability usually have low IQs.
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