Short Essay on Intelligence

The modern psychologist has been taking more interest in measuring the intelligence than defining it. The processes of I measurement and their result have helped us a lot in discovering the nature of intelligence.

Binet defines intelligence as “judgment or common sense, initiative, the ability to adapt oneself, to judge well, understand well, and reason well”. He stresses that “intelligence is a capacity to enable the individual to take and maintain a definite direction, to make adaptations for attaining a desired goal and to be able to criticize oneself and others.”

Freeman defines intelligence as a capacity of successful adjustment in all sorts of situations. Intelligence tests lead us to this definition. But it is too general. Intelligence is more than the ability of adjustment.

According to Terman intelligence is an ability to think in terms of abstract idea. This definition has also been criticised very much. No doubt ‘to think in terms of abstract ideas’ is a significant aspect of intelligence but this is not at all.

All intelligent persons can deal with abstract ideas quite successfully but they can handle objects and concrete jobs also with the same success. Moreover, even insane persons think and talk in terms of abstract ideas but they are devoid of intelligence, because their ideas are not directed to some useful goal.

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Tharndike is content to define intelligence as the power of “more association or connection forming ability”. But this explanation is quite incomplete. Even feeble-minded powers have enough connection forming ability. They too can associate ideas to some extent.

In the words of Johnson intelligence is an “ability to solve the general run of human problems, to adjust to new situations and in short the ability to think.”

Rexknight defines intelligence, as “Intelligence is the aggregate activity of the individual to act purposefully, think relationally and deal effectively with the environment.”


After analyzing these definitions it may broadly be said that intelligence consists of the following mental traits:

(i) Ability to do the maximum in the minimum period of time.

(ii) Ability to think in abstract terms.

(iii) Ability to solve problems independently.


(iv) Ability to take benefit from personal and experience of other

(v) A proper sense of discrimination and relationship between objects and persons.

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